Tell me… how many beautiful pieces have you passed up because you didn’t want to shoulder the cost of reupholstering? Breathing new life into beat up and stained fabric chairs doesn't have to require a hefty investment. With a little paint and fabric medium you can transform a dull and dated chair into something amazing!
Let's address some common questions first...
Does the kind of paint I use matter?
Yes, it definitely does! Especially if you want to achieve the softest possible texture. There are bloggers out there who have demonstrated using chalk paint, spray on paint, mineral paint, milk paint, Rit dye, etc. However only a latex and water-based paint, like Porch Nook, will give you the softest end result when combined with a textile medium. From my experience, the other methods leave a stiffer, more leather-like finish.
Is this technique durable?
Yes, it is. However, if you have pets with claws and/or children who may use your piece like a trampoline...it may be best to put this project on hold.
Will the paint hide the existing texture of the upholstery?
(Porch Nook colors: (Ol' Faithful, Chance of Rain)
No. Painting your piece will only change its color, not its texture. For example, if the stitching has a raised floral pattern that floral pattern will not go away. I personally love transforming the texture into a monotone...it looks so sleek!
Be emotionally prepared...
The fabric's texture will not remain the same regardless of which paint product you use. It will be stiffer like an outdoor/patio cushion. However, a latex and water-based paint, like Porch Nook, will give you the softest end result when combined with a textile medium. Consider doing a spot test in an inconspicuous area and feel it before painting the whole thing.
(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)
- Porch Nook paint, 16-32 fl. oz.
- Delta Creative Textile Medium, 2-4 (8 fl. oz.) bottles
- Warm water
- Spray bottle
- Measuring cup(s)
- Foam brushes
- Large mixing container
- 220 grit sandpaper
Step 1 - Prep
The first step is to give the chairs a quick cleaning. Remove any debris, dirt or dust. Scrub the chairs with a damp sponge and let them dry completely. Place the chair on top of a plastic sheet.
Step 2 – Mix Porch Nook paint and Delta Creative textile medium
Step 3 – Wet the fabric
Use your spray bottle to wet down the fabric. This helps the paint go on in smoother and thinner coats. The fabric doesn’t need to be wet, just damp. If you try to paint the diluted mixture on the fabric directly it will tend to run, and this process is messy enough without your paint dripping off the fabric.
Step 4 – Apply paint
(Porch Nook colors: Kiddie Pool)
Apply Porch Nook paint by following the natural grain of the fabric. (TIP: Resist the temptation to apply a thick layer of paint in order to reduce the number coats.) After applying the first coat allow the paint to dry completely for a few hours. Once the paint is dry, check to see if a second coat is required. The number of coats needed depends on the color/pattern of the chair, the color of the paint you use, and how thick you apply it.
I highly recommend sanding every coat with a fine 220 grit sandpaper for several reason: 1) removes pilling that may occur, 2) breaks down the fibers to help achieve even coverage of next coat, 3) it softens the fabric. Be sure each coat has dried completely before sanding.
(Porch Nook colors: Kiddie Pool, Ol' Faithful)
(Porch Nook colors: Custom Color)
(Porch Nook colors: Nantucket)
And – voila, you’re done! If you want to achieve a more unique flare, bring out the stencils and have fun. Or, adhere acrylic rhinestone jewels into the tufting’s existing buttons for a little bling action!