Spray Painting A Little Plastic Basketball Hoop

Hoop, there it is. File this under my weirdest “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge to date. Much like many of our other DGOTA adventures, this mini update involves something that sat around bugging me way too long + a trusty ol’ can of spray paint. But this time it’s not an animal. I know. Total shocker.

John actually laughed at me for this little tweak (and I’m fully expecting you guys to as well), but they say it’s the little things that make ya happy… and seeing a bright red and blue plastic hoop against the back wall of our carport every. single. time. we pulled into the driveway (it was so bright you could see it from the curb) did not a happy momma make. And I know it’s dumb, but I worried the neighbors may have thought it was junky and tacky to have a big colorful hoop in plain sight 24/7 (they all do such a nice job to keep their yards looking nice, and many have kids but their toys are tucked away by evening). So because I’m what my dad likes to call “a strange bird” (seriously, I’ve been weird since before it was cool – wait, it’s still not cool?), I’ll share my odd little DIYed hoop-redeeming solution. Just promise not to compare me to Monica from Friends (I don’t fold my underwear, I swear).

First of all, this basketball hoop is super important.

Why? Because it makes Clara a happy girl. And a happy girl = a happy momma. So I devised a way to:

  • keep the hoop right there in the carport (after trying several locations it’s the best spot for it)
  • keep it just as functional (don’t need to explain this one, right?)
  • make it simmah-down-now from the curb (in the slightly altered words of Jay-Z: we got 99 bright toys I love, but this hoop ain’t one)

That plan? A can of ORB spray paint. I mean, would you expect anything less from me at this point? I’m definitely not one of those people who thinks all kids toys should be neutral or white or should match the living room. Clara has a ton of brightly colored toys and I’m even the gal who painted her hand-me-down highchair bright yellow, made her a happy little dollhouse with cheerful furniture to match, and painted her formerly neutral wooden crayon truck sky blue

… but after four months of rounding the block and seeing that red ring of fury on that bright blue stem, I realized there had to be a solution that worked for Clara, the hoop, and the mom. I love that bright colors help with development, but I just decided that one item out of many (this girl’s got toys for days!) that’s not a bright color is OK since I’ve never sprayed anything else of hers a muted color (and have actually added color to muted things, like her high chair and her crayon truck… so hopefully it all balances out). And come to think of it, her very favorite “toys” are rocks and sticks, so ORB fits right into that color scheme.

Sadly I didn’t get a good shot of the basketball hoop in all of it’s primary color glory before my paint-fest (bad blogger, no Oreos for you) but I actually made this photoshopped rendering for ya. How nuts am I? Wait, don’t answer that.

In the “real photo” category, you can actually see it peering around the back of the table in this post. See, it’s even brighter in real life than the one in the rendering. Haha.

And you can see how he looked all naked and ready for a new suit in the back yard (I removed the net part for the spraying phase so it wouldn’t get all gunked up).

The thing was visible from space, I tell ya… and then it wasn’t.

Thank you ORB. For those wondering what I used or if it works on plastic, Rustoleum Universal All-Surface spray paint is made to work on plastic and hold up outdoors – it even has a built-in primer for a better hold (I used the oil-rubbed bronze color of course). Total cost: $0, since I already had half of a can leftover from another ORB adventure. And in the time department, it took under twenty minutes to knock this baby out. Fast and free. Why didn’t I do this four months ago?

Just as I suspected, Hooper is a total looker with his new finish. As for why I went with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, it ties into the carport light and a few other dark accents around the outside of our house and hides more dirt than something lighter/brighter might. No more “Loook! I’m a little plastic hoop! Check me out!” – just chill aloofness and that “I’m cool enough to fall back and do mah thing without demanding everyone’s attention” vibe. And the contrasting white net makes it easy for Clara to slam dunk (it’s not all flat and dark, so she can still clearly see the basket).

Small personal projects like these are my favorite. They might seem completely crazy to someone else (or maybe everyone else, haha) but they really have the power to make your day. It’s kind of like how I’m a terrible baker and you probably couldn’t pay me to attempt a three layer cake but my BFF does that stuff FOR FUN (really?! for fun?!). To each his own (picture me raising a can of spray paint as if to say “cheers”).

So in summary: Mommy likes. And happily, Clara and Daddy like it too. See how he’s hardly visible from halfway down the driveway now? Life is good.

Way better than this, right? And there are still dozens of bright toys in our midst (seriously, you should see our living room right now).

The cutest part is that Clara apparently has a thing for ORB like her momma. She has even taken to calling it her “so so shiny hoop.” Love that girl. And of course she has a whole bunch of multicolored balls that go with it (they tuck away into that storage container next to it) so it’s not a sad little drab thing when it’s in action. Everybody wins.


Except for Burger. He can’t play basketball. Poor guy.

What small-slash-quirky-but-somehow-woefully-overdue updates have you guys been tackling (or planning to tackle)? Do you all think I’m crazy? Anyone else painting something outside? Or do you have a dog who plays basketball? That would be the most impressive of all.


  1. Sarah says

    This is hilarious! And totally something that would drive me nuts too. I took nail polish remover to all of the outlet covers in our apartment because the cream paint flecks the painters left were driving me crazy, even though I know no one else even noticed.

  2. Mary says

    I think the point of the colors was not as much decorative as visual cuing — the colors help the player with background/foreground discrimination. Having it all one color makes it seem ‘flat’ and makes it more difficult to find the basket.

    • says

      No worries, she has no trouble finding the basket at all (especially with the contrasting white net)! It’s 2 feet tall, so she’s not making jump shots from the curb or anything. See the pic of her playing with it? Still just as functional :)


  3. Christa Johnson says

    I love it! With two little boys and lots of tacky kids items, I have thought about doing this on several occasions…you just gave me the motivation/confirmation!

  4. Kathy Z says

    The hoop looks really nice black – but I like kids’ toys in bright colors better. :) It’s just how they’re supposed to be, at least in my world.
    (I do fold my underwear, though. My hubby’s too.)

  5. Fleur says

    Oh Sherry you crack me up!! Nothing is safe when you have a spray can in your hand. But seriously Hooper looks so sophisticated now! How will the paint wear on the plastic? We’ve got a similarly toned playhouse that I’d love to give the Hooper treatment but thought the paint would just peel of the plastic?

  6. says

    My little pet peeve is the wainscoting in our kitchen. The previous owner put it up ON TOP OF THE BASEBOARDS, crooked jig-saw cuts and all. It wouldn’t have taken anything to put the wainscoting up first, THEN the baseboards. He’d gutted the kitchen, for heaven’s sake. Do it the right way!

    My mom and I are the only ones who notice how terrible it looks, but it will be fixed. Eventually. It drives me nuts every time I sweep the kitchen.

    • says

      Oh man, what a weird way to install it! I bet once you get around to fixing it you’ll sleep better at night. Seriously, I slept like a baby last night. Haha.


    • Jen says

      In our old house, the previous owner had carpeted over the quarter round instead of removing and replacing it. *sigh*

    • Katie says

      The previous owner of our house tiled *around* the toilet instead of taking the toilet off, tiling, then replacing the toilet. There’s little odd-shaped tiles surrounding the toilet…they look like broken pieces he found to fit around the toilet. Classy. And since he clearly had no idea how to tile floors when he ran out of tile around the edges he just used an inch or more of caulk to fill in the gap between the last tile and the wall (instead of centering the tile and working his way out, he started at one wall and worked his way across the room). Sigh…

  7. says

    I completely understand why you did that. Sometimes something bothers you until you say, “Enough!” And get out the spraypaint, of course. ;-)

  8. Kristy says

    I am so glad to read this. I can’t stand the look of those bright toys outside, and for many years now I thought it was because I was a bad mom :) Huge improvement in my book!

    • says

      I’m bugged by the super bright colors of kid toys too, and it’s nots just for aesthetic reasons… I feel like they’re demeaning to kids because they seem to imply that kids need flashing lights, garish contrast, beeping, what have you to be interested in something. I love it when my daughter is fascinated by a pine cone or rock… and no bright colors there! When kid stuff looks more like adult stuff, I think we send the message that kids are capable of exploring and entering the WHOLE world and don’t need to be constantly stimulated and shut up in kid toy world. Haha. So I might also be crazy, but I loved this update and don’t think any of us are being a bad mom. :)

    • says

      Good, there are other underwear folders out there. I didn’t know that made me weird! I already knew I was weird for 18 other reasons, just not that one.

    • Emily R. says

      I am in the same camp. Sadly, my organizational OCD remains focused on clothes and the rest of the house is more cluttered.

    • Kristin says

      I fold mine too, and then promptly throw it in a bin/on a shelf where it gets all wadded up anyway. I don’t know if I could ever not fold it though!

    • Lindsay B says

      It never even occurred to me to fold my underwear until this week. First, my mother-in-law did our laundry and folded my underwear (which is weird on a few levels) and then you guys mentioned it. I feel like I’ve been slacking!

    • says

      I have to jump in here. My husband and I both fold our underwear. I really did think it was abnormal. Sometimes we leave it in the laundry basket unfolded for a while and just grab it from there, but we never put it away unfolded.

      Now ironing your underwear – that’s just weird. But growing up our housekeeper ironed all the underwear. I always thought that was really strange, but I recently learned that in more sub-tropical/tropical areas when you hang things on the line to dry you have to iron it because of some bug and its eggs. (Yea, I guess I didn’t REALLY learn why we got ironed underwear).

    • TJ says

      I was trained by the USAF in basic training how to fold underwear, and darned if I don’t still do it! (been out 20 years). >.<

  9. says

    haha! don’t feel bad Sherry, this is totally something that i would do! in fact, i had my husband rolling his eyes at me yesterday when i told him about my plan to make these (http://thecraftedsparrow.blogspot.com/2012/07/faux-stainless-steel-alphabet-magnets.html)stainless steel fridge magnets for our 2 year old since the classic multi-colored ones don’t match our kitchen.

    plus, i picked my daughter’s play kitchen and chair set all with an eye on matching our living room decor. we just can’t help ourselves, so why fight it?

    • Jessi says

      I love love love this idea!! I’m totally going to get some alphabet magnets and paint them now. And Sherry, the ORBed basketball hoop is simply brilliant. I, too, am now running through all of the tacky kid items in our house & backyard that could use a chic update. Thanks, as always for the inspiration!

    • says

      I would never use spray on things kids chew on! Maybe just use it for items when they’re 2+ or past that stage? They do sell great no VOC paint and non-toxic poly (I love Acrylacq by Safecoat) for things like painting cribs.


  10. Meredith says

    You totally brought back a happy memory of mine; my mom bought a basketball hoop for above our garage and she decided to paint “DL + DL” in a giant heart on the back of it, which are my parents’ initials. It wasn’t visible once hung, but when my dad went to hang it he laughed and really liked it. And we all knew it was back there. :)

  11. Sarah says

    We have the same hoop in our just redone (and super cute) playroom and the colors drive me crazy. Totally stealing this idea. My mind is now exploding w/ the possibility of spray painting all of the primary colored plastic in our lives. We won’t… but it is seriously tempting!

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