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Painting an Upholstered Chair

Chair Makeover Using ChalkPaint

Vintage chair www.diybeautify.com

Do you ever decide to do something..and your family thinks you've completely lost it?!

My family thought I was cray cray when I told them that I was going to paint this chair I found at our local Habitat Restore. Not just the wood...the whole shebang...fabric too!

If you follow other DIY blogs, then you know that this idea is not a new one. However, it was a new concept for my dear, darling family to take in...

So many really great chairs have outdated fabric. Like my orange marvel! So they're relegated to thrift stores because let's face it, orange damask isn't in anymore.

Vintage chair www.diybeautify.com

This chair has great lines, and beautiful caned sides that are in mint condition and I knew the orange upholstery would be a perfect candidate for paint. I don't even mind the damask-patterned fabric...just the color!

I've seen some great painted chair transformations at 11 Magnolia Lane and this pretty blue painted chair by Artsy Chicks Rule. I didn't have much to lose, so I decided to go for it.

Bonus: my chair had already been sterilized and cleaned so I didn't have to do anything to it first!

I started by taping off the edges and then painting the wood white, using a custom DIY chalk paint mixture in my new go-to country white color, 'Cotton Whisper' by Behr. A sample size pot is all I needed to do 3 coats.


That certainly freshened it up; looking better already!


Once the paint dried, I sanded and distressed it to my liking and then taped off the wood to paint the upholstery. I've read that if the fabric is wet, it will absorb the paint better so I used a spray bottle to wet the fabric really well before I started painting. I decided to use real chalk paint on the fabric itself instead of the DIY version. It's creamier and I wanted to do it right.



I chose Yesteryear Chalky Paint* by Americana Decor (sold by Home Depot and Michaels). I poured out the paint into a bigger container and added about 1/2 the amount of water to thin it. It should be the consistency of chocolate milk. (*Note: my 8 oz container proved to be plenty for this chair, with a little leftover; if you're painting a chair with more upholstery, you'll need more paint)


Then I started painting. It went on so well and easily! I did 2 coats and then realized that the color was drying a little violet rather than grey. So I added several squirts of black acrylic paint to my container, mixed it well and painted one more coat with some additional touch ups where it looked like it needed it.


Here is the backrest painted with the darker grey; I haven't done the seat yet to show you the contrast.


I decided it would be fun to add a little surprise on the back, so I painted the back with Americana Decor's Vintage* (similar to ASCP Duck Egg). Once dry, I used a damask stencil* for an unexpected pop of prettiness! This stencil has made its rounds in my home...I've painted walls, curtains and even a tabletop with it!

Painting Upholstery stencil on vintage chair www.diybeautify.com


The piping was painted in bright white (Americana Decor Everlasting*), to really make it pop. The pictures don't do it justice; it is a really pretty contrast.

I also decided to bring the turquoise color around to the front and paint the cane. I brightened up the Vintage paint by adding a few squirts of a darker turquoise to a small amount in a bowl.

I very lightly sanded the whole thing, fabric included. It knocked the roughness out of it and made it feel really smooth. I was careful not to sand too hard as I didn't want to risk revealing the original orange color!

The very last step was to wax the whole piece.. wood and upholstery..with Americana Decor Creme Wax*. Buffing it gave it a low sheen and makes the fabric look a little like leather. The damask pattern is very faded in the background.

Painting an Upholstered Chair www.diybeautify.com

It has such a different look now! It's fun and modern with traditional lines.

It's a great additional seat in my living room and blends in nicely with the other seating I have...

www.diybeautify.com

I love that it looks pretty from any angle! It really fits with the beachy vibe my home has.

Chalk painted chair www.diybeautify.com

And my skeptical family has even given me their vote of approval! After hesitantly trying it out, they're convinced and it's now just another chair in our home! Can you even remember what it used to look like? Let me refresh your memory...

DIY painted upholstery www.diybeautify.com

Now granted, it's not the most comfortable chair in the world (but it wasn't before its paint job either). It definitely needs a couple pillows to make the sitting easier.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was, and it really opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

 Great chair + ugly fabric = NO problem!

Have you tried this yet?


bringing beauty to the ordinary,



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30 comments:

  1. Amazing! I've read a couple of posts about painting fabric but haven't tried it yet. I'm curious, have you ever tried the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint? Any idea how the one you used compares?

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    1. Hi Val, glad you asked. I have tried ASCP and love it!! But it's usually not within my budget, lol. I find the Americana Decor brand to be comparable for less. However, if you have Annie Sloan products, go for it! They are the best! Thanks for stopping by :)

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    2. I found the ASCP advertised on a site in Lynchburg, VA. It it really $33/qt.? Oh, my. Have you ever tried making your own?

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  2. Cindy!! I love it! A burgundy wing chair is arriving on my door step very soon and I am going to use your tips to paint it. So excited to know your chair turned out so awesome!
    ~ Ashley

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    1. Awesome!! I love the painted wing chairs I've seen online! Have fun painting; can't wait to see the after :)

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  3. This is so pretty! Please adopt me so I can live in your house. LOL

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  4. I am impressed with your paint mixing skills - love the color you made for the fabric. And that chair back is amazing!

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    1. Hey Julie, thanks but all I did was add a little black to darken the gray! It was looking too violet. I wanted to do something fun with the back, and the stencil has been well-used but I still love it...plus it mimics the damask fabric, so I just had to use it!

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  5. Saw this on Instagram and had to stop by to see it...you did a wonderful job on it!!!

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    1. Thank you so much :) I love that it will be used and appreciated now!

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  6. What a beautiful upcycle! I love the new look of the chair. I agree sometimes an old piece of furniture just needs a new look. I'm glad I jumped over from the DIY Sunday Showcase this morning. Can't wait to start following you. :) Hope you can hop over to visit me.

    www.curvesandacamera.com

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  7. Your chair is beautiful now! Painted upholstery sounds crazy, but the result is stunning!

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    1. Isn't it? Such a great way to bring those old pieces back to life! Thank you :)

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  8. What a great piece! I have to convince my hubby time and time again that the best gems are old finds brought back to life! Glad I found your blog. What kind of wax do you use and how do you buff?

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comments Brittany. My guy needs a lot of convincing as well, lol! They just don't have our vision. I like Fiddes and Sons wax for white pieces as it doesn't yellow like some of the others can. For super inexpensive, and the wax I started with, Minwax Furniture Paste is great. I use a lint free rag to rub the wax on. As soon as it's no longer tacky to the touch, which is only 10 to 15 minutes, take a clean lint free cloth and rub. Buffing is a decent workout. You're rubbing off the extra wax and really working it into the piece. You'll see a beautiful sheen develop as you are rubbing. And that's it!

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  9. I seriously love this! I am so inspired!

    Marie @ In Our Happy Place

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    1. Thanks so much Marie...SO GLAD I inspired you ;)

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  10. Your chair looks really GREAT !!! I have seen so many different sites with painting the fabric on chairs, but I have to ask how does it feel when you sit on it? Or is it really just for looks? I have two cane back barrel chairs in very good condition except for the fabric. I was going to have them reupholstered because I am trying to sell them (no bits yet). So after seeing your chair I am thinking of painting them instead of the expense of having them reupholstered but because I am selling them I wonder how the fabric feels and if it will hold up sitting in them. My husband and I paint and update furniture then we sell them at a local Flea Market so you can understand why I need to know how the long term of the painted fabric is. I appreciate any answers or help you can offer.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful works.
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debra, thanks so much for your comment! I would say that the chair feels like vinyl/leather. It's no harder than it was before... the fabric is cool to the touch and still pliable. I made sure to paint a chair that had a smooth fabric. I'm not sure how the results would be with with something like a tweed or a nubby fabric. The trick is to lightly sand after painting to knock down the stiffness, and then to wax.
      Good luck!

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  11. Wow, Cindy, your chair looks great! I haven't braved painting upholstery yet...Thanks for linking up with us at Best of the Nest!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I was intimidated at first, but read a lot of tutorials and it actually was a piece of cake :)

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  12. Beautiful job! Your creativity has really inspired me--thanks for sharing this project!!

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    1. Thank you Kathy! I love inspiring others and am so glad you enjoyed the chair tutorial!

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  13. Love your chair - such pretty details! I have two wing chairs I'm hoping to paint and I've read quite a few tutorials that suggest using a fabric medium to help the paint stay supple. It doesn't look like you used that, or did I just miss it? If I can get away with not using it, I'm good with that! Just curious. Thanks for the excellent tutorial!

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  14. Love your chair - such pretty details! I have two wing chairs I'm hoping to paint and I've read quite a few tutorials that suggest using a fabric medium to help the paint stay supple. It doesn't look like you used that, or did I just miss it? If I can get away with not using it, I'm good with that! Just curious. Thanks for the excellent tutorial!

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    1. Hi Kathleen, thank you for your question. I read several tutorial before painting my chair, and many of them opted out of the fabric medium. I know that if you want to be able to wash something, adding the fabric medium helps it to stay supple for that. But since I wasn't going to be able to fit my chair in the washing machine, lol, I opted to not add it. You will not want to skip the waxing step though. I found that lightly sanding to smooth the paint, and then waxing, really helped with the feel of the fabric. But it's not going to feel like normal upholstered fabric anymore...more like a pleather/vinyl feel. Good luck with your project!

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