Follow~Up on My Painted Chair Tutorial: Your Questions and My Answers!

painted chair paint furniture fabric how to

 

Remember this beautiful chair?  Well, the post on how I painted “her” and took her from frumpy to fabulous is still one of our top posts of all time, and I get comments and emailed questions virtually every day from people who want to undertake a similar project.

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I figured I’d answer your questions in detail in this post; while I think everything I mention in this post is covered in the comments of the original post {read that here}, I’ve actually had people email me and say, “I didn’t have time to read through all the comments and see if you already answered this, so can you answer this question…”   which even though I love you guys, it isn’t the wisest use of my time.  Might as well make it easy and put everything in one place!

Remember, the step by step tutorial is here; these are just the follow up questions.  If you’re attempting a project like this for the first time, I definitely recommend that you read both posts.

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So, in no particular order:

1.  What kind of paint did you use?  Would XX kind of paint work?

I used acrylic craft paint, the small bottles that you buy at the craft store, and they worked great.  I am about to undertake another upholstery painting project, and I’m going to use latex paint instead, and I’ll let you know how that goes.  Other bloggers who have used that seem to think it works fine (plus you can have the paint counter tint it to whatever color you want).  Update:  I used regular latex paint on my outdoor cushions {here} and I found that they were much stiffer.  I’m not sure if that was because of the paint or the fact that it was outdoor fabric, though.

paint chair fabric supplies
2.  What is the fabric medium that you used?  Do I have to use it?

The fabric medium (see above photo) is mixed with the paint and its purpose is to keep your fabric from being too stiff after it absorbs all the coats of paint.  It is a thin white liquid that you mix in with your colored paint.  You probably could skip it, but I would think you’d run the risk of your fabric cracking.

I buy mine at the craft store with a coupon, but you can find it online at Amazon (affiliate link):


3.  How does the chair/fabric feel after it’s painted?

Mine feels like outdoor fabric feels, but a little stiffer.  If you’ve ever sat on a naugahyde restaurant booth, it’s kind of like that.  That being said, I am about to use this process on my outdoor seating set, and I have a feeling that it will repel water beautifully.  And yes, I’ll let you know how it turns out!  Update:  that project is now done; read out it {here}.

The downside to the stiff fabric is that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for the couch you sit on every night, unless you don’t have another option.  The upside is that spills just wipe off and pet hair vacuums up easily.  I assume that we ever do stain it permanently, I can probably just put on another coat of paint!

I have read that a coat of clear wax worked into the fabric after painting makes it softer, but I haven’t tried this and can’t give you any more details on the process because of that.

painted-chair-bling

I added the rhinestones to the buttons for a little “bling”

4. Does the paint rub off when people sit in the chair?

No.  After it’s dry, it’s dry.  If you lean up against my kitchen wall, which I painted a week ago, paint doesn’t rub off on your clothes.   I have wet a cleaning cloth and scrubbed really hard at the seat and there has been no color transfer.  Your white pants are safe!

3.  Can I paint a light color over a dark color or pattern?  Can I cover stains with this process?

Yes, I think so.  I only say I think so because I didn’t cover any stains myself on this chair.  However, I’ve seen other bloggers paint over dark colors, patterns, and stains, and it’s worked fine.  Just remember that you want to use multiple thin coats of paint (and fabric medium!) so that your finished product isn’t too stiff.

Use multiple thin coats of paint for the best results

Use multiple thin coats of paint for the best results

4.  Can I paint my velvet/needlepoint/silk chair/sofa/loveseat using this process?

The answer to this one is probably, but I don’t know.  Well, don’t paint leather, but other than that, give it a try!  If it’s a piece that I don’t love and want to use in my house as it is, and I’m either going to donate, sell, or reupholster it anyway, then what do I have to lose by giving it a try?  The same is probably true for you guys.

Update:  I’ve since painted a velvet chair.  You can read about that process {here}.  It’s gorgeous, but VERY stiff and scratchy!

5.  How does this compare to reupholstering?

Having done both {read about my loveseat reupholstery project here and here}, this takes WAY less time, is WAY less expensive, and WAY less difficult.  Seriously.  It’s my first choice for rehabbing furniture that’s in decent shape but needs updating.

loveseat reupholstery how to

6. What kind of paint brush did you use?

This is in the tutorial post, but I just used a regular 2″ painter’s brush (probably Purdy brand from the hardware store).  I used a very fine artist’s brush (probably from a craft store) to paint the piping of the fabric so I didn’t get any gray paint on the white wood trim.

7.  Have you used XXX product to paint anything?  How did it work?

So far, this is my only fabric painting project, so I haven’t tried any of the fabric spray paints out there, or any that require heat or other steps.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I do!

Update:  I used regular old Rustoleum spray paint on some outdoor cushions {here} and wrote about that, and my outdoor seating set using the same technique I used on this chair {here}.

8.  How is it holding up over time?

I did this project in September 2013, so it’s been almost seven months.  The chair looks just as good as it did on the day I finished it.  Keep in mind, though, that it’s in my dining room and doesn’t get sat in on a regular basis–only when we’re entertaining.

9.  How much did your project cost?

I spent about $30 on fabric medium, paint, and the rhinestone buttons (those are optional, of course).  Your total cost will depend on what you pay for your chair; mine was a whopping $60 but I think she was worth every penny!

10.  Where did you get the white ruffled pillow?

Inquiring minds want to know!  Home Goods for $12.99 :)

paint fabric chair

I hope that helps–plus, I always like to know how projects hold up over time.  Good luck with your fabric painting project!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Comments

  1. Ilka Charles says:

    I really love this idea.

  2. I just came across your blog! We’re looking to refresh our faded outdoor patio cushions and trying to find out how to do so. We’re not experienced diy’ers. When you tackle your outdoor furniture, will you use the same kind of fabric medium and paint? Thanks in advance!

    • Pam, I will use the same fabric medium but I will probably buy a quart or two of paint at the hardware store instead of using the small craft bottles. I have 11 outdoor cushions to paint–so I will need A LOT of paint for that job! Hope that helps…

  3. One question that I didn’t see answered …. I keep reading that when using a textile medium that the paint needs to be “heat set” with an iron once dry. Obviously you can’t do that with a chair or other 3D item. Did the brand of medium you used call for heat setting? The one I bought does and I’m trying to decide whether to return it and get another brand or go forth without the heat set.

    • Beth–good question! It does call for heat setting; however, that’s more to keep it colorfast in the washing machine, which isn’t going to happen with a chair. I’ve had no issues with color bleed or transfer. Hope that helps!

  4. Erin Kelley says:

    Hi Pam, I saw your beautifully painted chair on Pintrest. I followed your method and my 2 chairs (which cost me 2/$20, (proceeds going to charity…bonus!) at the hotel I work for…score. My question is about a protective Scotchguard spray… Have you applied this to your painted chairs? Do you think it’s even necessary? My chairs are definitely sitting room indoor- type chairs, but I live in Hawaii and have an outdoor covered lanai (porch) which I am currently transforming into a second “living room”. If we do get rain here it does not last very long, and usually won’t even reach the area where I have my chairs…My husband and I spend a lot of time on the lanai and sit in the chairs often. Thanks for your amazing and easy to follow tutorial. Your post has been life-changing for me, as I have never really thought of myself as crafty or creative. Your blog is what inspired me to transform all of the used furniture I have been accumulating into beautiful, stylish pieces of art!
    Mahalo, Pam!
    Erin Kelley
    Lahaina, Maui, HI

    • Erin–
      I don’t think you need to Scotchguard your chairs; I think the protective barrier that the paint makes is sealant enough. I’ve just wiped water and spills off of my gray chair and they never have a chance to permeate the fabric.

      I’m so glad you’ve been inspired here–thanks for the kind words.

  5. Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I purchased all my supplies today and plan to paint my outdated wicker furniture this weekend. The $50 I’ve spent is so much cheaper than buying a new set or 8 new outdoor cushions!

  6. gabrielle says:

    Hiya – am just getting ready to paint some upholstery for the 1st time, and wanted to say thanks for the insider’s peek into your process! Very helpful details!

    Also wanted to encourage people with questions about this or that: first experiment on something small, and watch what happens and learn from the experience! Creativity and design aren’t bought in a bottle – they are bold experiments! So get out there and fearlessly experiment, and then go to work on your dream piece with a practiced hand!

  7. Thanks for sharing your instructions and the details! I’m brainstorming some ideas of sewing fabric totes as a few “Thank You” gifts at our upcoming wedding and then painting them to match the wedding theme colors… seems like this process would be really easy to jazz up the boring neutral fabric I’m making the totes out of. I’ll be sure to post it on my new blog, peachfullychic if I do so! Looking forward to reading more great articles from your site!

    xoxo,
    -Allie
    Allison Cawley recently posted…Baseball Themed Bachelorette PartyMy Profile

  8. Love your chair! I googled to see how fabric chairs hold up, and found yours! :) I have linked to you from my painted chair post because everyone wants to know how it will hold up, and I didn’t know what to tell them. :)

    I’ll also be sharing yours on facebook soon.

    thanks!

    gail
    gail recently posted…Painting Upholstered Furniture with a Finish MaxMy Profile

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