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

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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.

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.


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 exact one is here}, 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 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.


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 (like this).  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 Rust-Oleum 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.  (UPDATE:  It’s now been two years–this chair still looks amazing!)

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!  HomeGoods 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!


Click HERE for Printable Instructions & a Supply List for this project!
Disclosure:  Our posts contain affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free.  You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky!

Thanks for stopping by.



  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!


  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.



  9. Hi there!
    Thanks for the great blog it was very helpful.There are many websites with different “recipes” . I have a craigslist couch and four chairs that needed a redo, the couch had a strongly contrasting southwest design and I wasn’t sure if 1:1 would do the job so I went with 2:1 just in case. the chairs were a monochrome, pale, stained beige fabric and the 1:1 worked perfectly. The couch fabric ended up being quite a bit stiffer and I can still see the design with just one coat but I rather like it. The chairs were covered beautifully with one coat I couldn’t be happier with the results.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience–I think that’s so helpful for others who are wondering what “recipe” they should use for their particular fabric and piece of furniture. I’m so glad you like the results!

  10. I have three upholstered chairs that have been treated with a stain repellent so water beads up on the fabric. Is there anyway to paint these chairs with any of the paints recommended or will it be stiff. Thanks, Susan

  11. Hi, thank you for your update! I just bought white linen roman blinds for my girls room and I feel like they are too white. I spent a lot of money on them and they are non-refundable/returnable. Would you use this process on something that like that? They are pulled up and down every day.

  12. I have 2 sets of chairs that I want to fabric paint the upholstry. I would love to do white on one set but worried about them getting dirty or discolored. Can you wipe down the fabric after painting or repaint as long as you don’t seal it?

  13. Hi, I redid a bedroom using Dixie Bell chalk paint. I found the perfect chair, but needless to say it needs updated. I want to use the same color for the fabric as my night stands, so using acrylic isn’t an option. Can I mix fabric medium with chalk paint and get similar results?

  14. Annabelledon says

    Hi. Has anyone used this process to paint stripes on fabric? Need to add some color contrast to cornice boards upholstered in off-white heavy cotton (I think) using the same mushroom colored late paint that’s on my walls. Am planning to tape off the parts of the fabric I don’t want painted (hence creating the stripes) but am wondering if the paint will soak into the fabric underneath the taped edge. I’d try a test on a scrap piece of fabric but don’t have any left. Also very open to other ideas that might work better!

  15. Annabelledon says

    Hi again Christy. Following up on our 12/30/15 convo: I’ve decided against stripes, am going to do a solid overall color instead. Am a little concerned about losing the texture of existing fabric so am considering spraying on dye vs. painting. I’ve done a search your site but not finding any dyeing how-tos. Ever tried it and if so, how were results vs. painting? Thank you again for a great blog!

  16. This chair is so pretty and upon seein it on Pinterest, i decided to paint my wingback chair. I had the ist coat drying but did not do a lot of covering the dark colored upholstery. Did you used the same ratio on all 3 coats? 1:1:2 parts?Thank you.

    • Hey, Sam–

      Yes, I used the same ratio on all three coats. I think I included a picture of how my chair looked after the first coat–it definitely didn’t give full coverage! Just hang in there and remember that multiple light coats are better than fewer heavy coats. Good luck!

  17. Hello, love love love this page!! I was just wondering to date how the outdoor cushions are holding up?

    • Thanks so much, Jamie. I used the outdoor cushions for almost two years but then finally tossed them and bought replacements. They would have lasted longer, but the white showed dirt/pollen/mold. If I do it again, I’ll use a darker color and just cover them so they don’t fade.

      I hope that helps you out!
      Thanks for writing–

  18. Lucie La Mer says

    I absolutely loved this tutorial and everything that you’ve done. I have a barrel chair with Channel back that I’m thinking of painting. However all of your projects seem to be smooth material. My chair is a looser woven material, in a kind of basket weave. Do you think your process would work with this? You have really inspired me.

    • Lucie, I wish I could tell you for sure, but the answer is that I just don’t know. The velvet chair that I painted might be a better comparison than this project…it was pretty stiff when I finished it because it took so much more paint to cover it. I still sit on it every day, though. You can read more about that project {here}. Hope that helps!

  19. Meredith says

    How much paint did you use?

    • Hey, Meredith–those details are in the original post, but it was four 8-oz bottles of fabric medium and ten 2-oz bottles of acrylic paint. Hope that helps!

  20. Susan Suits says

    I bought a used glider rocker for my daughter in law to use in the nursery of my first granddaughter. The cushions are in good shape but BLUE and dated. I was looking for helpful hints to make slipcovers but I think I like this idea better. The fabric is in good shape but is already has a stiff chenille feel to it. Needless to say, I’m scared to death to paint it but I figure, if the paint goes wrong I can resort to slipcovers. Thanks for all the details. Keep your fingers crossed!

  21. regna Cranmer says

    Have you ever used Snuggles (the laundry product) instead of the medium?

  22. Katherine Pittman says

    Beautiful… Thank you for the answers to questions in the tutorial. It will be very helpful and I take on a project like this myself!

  23. I love your blog!!! We have 2 chairs that I am about to attempt. Do you still prefer this method over using chalk paint and wax? I’ve read that the fabric is really soft with that method.

    • Hey, Kim—

      Thanks for your comment. I can’t actually answer that question with authority, because I haven’t used the chalk paint/wax method myself. I figure one painted chair in a home is enough! That being said, I can state that this one is holding up great after about four years of use, and I do sit in it daily.
      Hope that helps! Christy

  24. Debra Wright says

    Hi Christy,
    I love your chair, it is very Beautiful! We’re looking to redecorate our sanctuary in our church and I’m in charge of this project. Was looking for some diy tips on dyeing the fabric on our church pews, when I stumbled upon your site. The fabric is in great condition and the pews themselves are very sturdy, just looking to change the color. In your opinion, do you think that this would be a “durable” option for us, considering the pews are sat in maybe twice weekly? Thank you for sharing and I look forward to your response.

    • Debra Wright says

      In addition to my first question: I would also like to know what sheen of paint should I purchase (if you believe that this project would work for us) considering I would not be able to use the little craft bottles of paint, due to the size of the project. Lastly, do you think that having so many painted pews would look tacky. Again, I sincerely thank you for your advice in this matter.

  25. Love this transformation and the detailed FAQ here! Got a quick question. I work in a call center where we have a LOT of half-wall type partitions that are fabric. I’m not sure if you know exactly what I’m referring to, but think dividers almost foam/fabric. We are looking to transform the area and since there is such a large area to paint I’m looking at Latex rather than Acrylic. However, I want our executive team to really like it. And I’m concerned the Latex paint will result in a stiffer/potentially flake off situation. Do you think Latex will work well for this type of project? We aren’t sitting on the dividers at least so that should reduce the potential for flaking/chipping off right?
    What thoughts/recommendations would you have?

    • Hi, Kody–I’ve used latex paint on fabric before and it gives a similar result. While it’s always smart to test a small area first, you shouldn’t have any issues. With such a huge surface area to cover, though, you might want to consider using a paint sprayer instead of a brush. Good luck to you!

  26. Marvin Alfred says

    Thank you for the great information. My question is: your fabric medium lools like it is in a spray can, so how did you mix it with your paint and water? Have a terrific day.
    marvin B. alfred

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