Friday, August 16, 2013

How to Paint Upholstery

Yes!  You can paint upholstery.  
Honestly this is one of the most amazing discoveries I have made in a while.  
I never thought it would work so well.

Let me remind you all where this project began.
Yep...I was able to transform Craigslist chairs that were badly stained from clearly way too many parties involving wine.  

It was really very easy.  

All you need is:

Latex paint in your choice of color (I picked a color close to the original fabric color)
Fabric Medium (I used Martha Stewart fabric medium from Michaels)
Sponge brush
spray bottle with water

I mixed equal parts of paint, fabric medium and water and mixed it all together in a plastic cup.  It will be extremely watery, but that is the right consistency.  Spray the upholstery with water until it is fairly wet.  This will allow the paint to be absorbed in the fabric rather than sit on top of the fabric.  Then just paint the fabric.  I used a wide brush and brushed along the grain of the fabric.  I used a smaller sponge brush for the cording along the edges and I wiped up any paint that dripped on the wood as I went along.  
This is what it looked like after one coat.  I did the same with the other two chairs.
I let the paint dry overnight and the next day mixed up a second batch of paint, fabric medium and water...again in equal parts.  I sprayed down the upholstery again with water and painted a second coat.
I let that dry overnight again. 

You can see that the wood had yellowed in many spots on the chairs, so after the second coat of upholstery paint dried, I painted the wood using Annie Sloan old white and then finished it off with a clear wax.  
After everything was dry, I went back and used a 220 grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the upholstery focusing on any rough spots I found where the paint didn't soak in as well.  

The fabric is surprisingly soft and doesn't feel at all like I painted it.  It almost has the feel of drop cloth fabric, but a little softer.  I can't get over how well it worked.

Has anyone else ever painted upholstery?  If you haven't, you have got to try it.

Can't wait to hear what you think.

Have a great weekend!


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Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

I havn't tried it, but this is a fabulous tutorial. I can't wait to give it a try. Hugs, Marty

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Wow! I'm glad to hear that it worked well for you, Judy. They really are pretty chairs and it was a shame they were stained so badly. They look brand new now!

Cecilia said...

I haven't tried it but I want to! I just need a victim! lol
These turned out great!

Debra@CommonGround said...

these chairs turned out fabulous. hard to believe that wine stain could be covered! you did a great job!

andi filante said...

I have a wingback that's in brand-new condition, but it has a floral print that I'm just tired of (I bought it new over a decade ago and it's barely been used). I'm DYING to paint it, but I know it will mean my untimely death at the hands of my husband. He will NOT understand in the least. But I really really want to....

Yours look awesome!

Suzy said...

I have a loveseat and chair that I've really been wanting to try this on. Do you think it would work well on a patterened fabric?

JOY @ said...

Looks beautiful! Have any idea how it would work on outdoor fabrics?

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Wow...that is amazing? I always wondered how the fabric would feel after you painted it...I have seen some painted fabric finishes and they felt pretty stiff...the chair turned out gorgeous!!!...thanks for the great tutorial!

Cynthia said...

Judy, these turned out great. I have heard of painting fabric with chalk paint but never latex. Great tutorial!


Anonymous said...

I have just completed my first fabric painting project on a chair almost identical to yours! Read about my experience at

Sophie :)

Nellie's Cozy Place said...

Wow, your chair looks fabulous, love the color and the idea......
and thanks for the tutorial....I have
been wanting to recover my dining room chairs and have had trouble finding fabric that I like, then got some but the color doesn't look great on the oak chairs, so might just give this a try instead.
Great job!
Blessings, Nellie

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