Tags: teal

Painted Upholstery – The Process Revealed (Tutorial)

*NOTE –  There are other examples of painted upholstery (mostly from readers) on the Chairs page at the top of the blog.  In addition, there are other upholstery painting methods on that page, if you are interested.

I recently painted an upholstered chair and have been asked about the process.  Below are before and after photos:

And, here it is after 15 months.  Still looking great!
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Why would I do this?  Well, after I learned that recovering a wing back chair for my master bedroom would cost $500-700 total, I decided that just wasn’t in my budget.  Not to mention, I haven’t seen any good fabric in this color anywhere (not locally)…

So, how could I do this cheaper?

I REALLY wanted a chair like in my inspiration photo.   Not exactly like it, but the general color and shape.

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The wing back and the vibrant teal color were important elements of my master bedroom story board.

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Then, I had an epiphany.  I remembered seeing a painted chair a while back.  So, I began to do a little research on painting upholstery.  After all, I could surely afford to buy a used chair and paint!

After a day or two of getting my ducks in a row as far as a plan was concerned, I purchased this chair on Craigslist.

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It was in perfect condition.  Well built.  Great lines.

I began the painting process.  First on a pillow as a test, though this post is about the actual chair.

Materials needed:
1 Quart of latex satin paint in the color of your choice (I just got word that though Valspar called it latex, this paint is acrylic.  It’s also good to note that others have tried the whole process with just latex, just acrylic craft paints and even Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  It does not seem to matter.)
1 Spray bottle full of water, ready for refills
1 Paint brush
Fabric medium (equal to the amount of paint that you use)
Acrylic craft paint in the color of your choice (It should match the color of the Latex paint should you want to use my exact method and do the final coat in acrylic craft paint.)
Sand paper in super fine grit

Tutorial:
1.  Make sure the chair is wiped free of dust and debris.  Clean it well.

2.  Mix 1:1 parts of paint and fabric medium.

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I used Ocean Soul by Valspar.  Below is a more accurate depiction of the color used:

Below is the textile medium that I used.  It is by Delta Ceramcoat and I purchased it in 8 ounce containers at Michael’s.

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Fabric medium keeps the fabric from getting too hard.   Note:  Some fabric mediums require that you place an iron briefly on the fabric (or a hair dryer) after the paint dries.

I didn’t use much paint – maybe 1/8 of the quart.  I mixed mine in an old cup.  A little goes a long way in this phase, as it will be very watered down.

This will be your base coat.

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3.  Water that paint/ textile medium mixture down.   Mix in about 1/2 the amount of water as paint.  (1 part water to 2 parts paint.)  Stir.   It should look more like a stain than a paint.

4.  Remove all seat cushions that are not attached from the chair or other furniture item.

5.  Spritz (fine mist) the part of the chair you will start with first with water.  I started on the seat cushion first.  Don’t be shy, you want the fabric wet.  Rub the water into the fabric.

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Sorry about the pics!  I was new to blogging when I posted this!

6.  Brush on the paint slowly while blending the best you can.  Work the paint into the fabric.   Don’t be afraid to use your hands.  Always make your last stroke with the grain so the fabric lays in the right direction as it dries.

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Note:  I tried it on a pillow first.  If you have a pillow or if there is an underside of a cushion, start there and see how it goes.

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The watered down coats should give you light coverage, almost like a stain.  It will also act as a primer.

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7.  Do two coats this way.   Each should be VERY thin.  Water it down even more if you have to.  Let the first one dry fully before beginning the second.  I let mine dry overnight.

It will look worse before better.  This is after one coat.

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8.  Don’t worry, your arm won’t fall off.  It is tiring, though, so you won’t mind resting between coats.

9.  Sand any particularly rough parts.   Sand lightly with a fine grit sandpaper.  In the direction of the grain, if possible.

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10.  Once my chair was dry, I chose to spray painted the legs in a glossy white.

Below is the chair before the legs were painted, with two coats of paint on the upholstery.

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After the legs were painted.

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11.  Now, it’s time for a final coat using the acrylic paint.  Mix it 1:1 with the fabric medium, like you did with the latex paint.

Note:  It is not necessary to do an acrylic coat.  You can use latex if you prefer.  I just got word that the Valspar paint that I used is acrylic.  However, most say that acrylic has more pigment.  Either way, you want a third coat and you will want this coat a little thicker.  

I mixed this in a cup as well.  But, this time, be more generous with the paint and dilute it less.  I’d do a full cup of paint, this size. (See below.)

Add just a few thimbles of water to dilute it a little.

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I had to mix my own color since the acrylic paints didn’t come in the color I wanted.

Spray the fabric with water again, just like you did on the other two coats.  It simply helps it blend and go on more smoothly.

Paint this layer much more generously.  This will be the layer that will cover the chair more completely. Don’t glop it on, but be generous.  It should provide full coverage unlike the base coats.

12.  I thought my chair needed a little bling, so I added some nail head trim on the arms.  I got the spacing right by folding a piece of paper and taping it so as to laminate it.

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Then, I simply hammered them in!  Nothing to it.

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13.  Congrats, you have a new chair!

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And, here is a look at it in my master bedroom!

Before?
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Is it crunchy or stiff?
It started out as a velvet fabric.  It is not soft like velvet anymore, but it is also not hard, crunchy or sand papery.  It’s like a stiffer rougher fabric, similar to painted canvas.  If you rub it in the direction of the grain, though, it’s not bad at all.  If you rub it in the opposite direction, it’s more rough.

Does the paint come off on clothing?
Not at all.  I tested it out and even wet it and sat on it.  No problem.   Similarly, if you paint a t-shirt, the paint doesn’t rub off.

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Tips?
– A smoother fabric makes for a more consistent color.
– The final paint layer is very important.  It will give the consistent deep color.  Be sure not to overdo it on the first two coats.
– Go light on seams.  Water this down and don’t overdo it.  Work it in to those areas.  Don’t be afraid to use your hands.
– Sand down any particularly rough spots.
– For a more leather-like finish, you could try a glossy paint or a wax finish.
– It seems to work fine with latex paint only or just acrylic paint.  See my second painted chair (acrylic only) and the readers pale pink chaise (latex only).
– You’ll find that the better shape the fabric is in, the better the paint will go on and the less stiff it will be.  The arms on my chair were a tiny bit worn compared to the rest of the chair.  As a result, they are a little rougher now.  I do think that in time, with use, it will all even out in texture, though.
– It’s not a chair to cuddle in.  It’s not super plush anymore.  However, you will find other painting methods that are a little softer on the Chairs page of my blog.
– Someone made a good point – it’s a little like the concept of the velvet Elvis paintings.
– Best practice is to do a pillow first if you have one or the underside of a cushion if it is possible.
– I strongly suggest that this is tried on a chair that you would otherwise reupholster or get rid of so nothing is in jeopardy of being lost.
– It is perfect for a photography prop!
– See other painting methods on my Chairs page.  There are many examples there.

Hope you enjoyed this step by step look into the process!

PLEASE let me know if you try this – I’d love to see photos!

I am constantly updating my blog with examples of painted upholstery.  In fact, I added a new Chairs page that shows examples of painted upholstery on one page with links to posts.   This is the best way to see other examples.  Feel free to comment  with any thoughts or questions.

Update 5/31/11:  My second painted chair. Textured, no velvet and I did acrylic paint only.
Update 6/18/11:  Reader paints a pale pink chaise.  Latex paint only.
Update 8/8/11:  It does not seem to matter if you do latex or acrylic.  The main thing is to do thin layers and to spritz the fabric with water.  Work it into the fabric, don’t let it just sit on top.
Update 5/17/12:  The intro to my series on Simply Spray upholstery spray paint and an update on how my two painted chairs are holding up.
Update 1/6/13:  A reader wrote: “I have to say that Martha Stewart Fabric Medium was way easier to work with than the Ceramcoat Fabric Medium I started with. Also for me, the coats I did with satin latex paint did not nearly cover the original color as well as the acrylic paint. I think in the future, I might use acrylic paint only mixed with the Martha Stewart medium. That mix was a lot thinner and easier to work with than the latex paint and Ceramcoat.”
Update 6/18/13:  We’re still using it today in our master bedroom.
Update 7/1/13:  I just got a comment saying the Valspar Signature paint line is actually acrylic paint not latex.  Good to know!

P.S.  I am not selling anything.  I make no money off of posting on painted upholstery – I just offer information to my readers.  It would have helped me as I was researching and deciding what to do, so I want to offer it to others.

If you choose to follow this tutorial, it is at your own risk.  I am not responsible for the outcome, nor do I claim that it works perfectly for everyone.  I show fails as well as successes on my Chairs page.  I have only tried it on the two particular chairs that I own and am sharing my experience in hopes that it inspires and helps you. 

Final Reveal of Painted Upholstery Chair!

It is complete!!

If you have been following along on the painting of the upholstered wing back chair, here is the final reveal of the chair.

Since the last post about the chair, I painted the legs white, put another coat of paint on and added nail head trim.

Before:

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After:

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Cost:  $60 for the chair, $15 of fabric medium, $15 of latex paint (only used 1/4 of a quart), $15 of acrylic paint, for a total of $105.
 
What do you think? 

We’re loving it! 

On Wednesday I will be taking you step by step through the entire process.

Painted Upholstery – Chair Reveal!

**(The FINAL reveal with the legs painted and some nail head trim is posted on a new entry for 3/21/11.  Don’t miss it!)**

So… guess what… I painted the whole chair! 

This post is an update to an earlier posting where I got a wing back chair from Craigslist.  This chair will be placed in my master bedroom, which I have been tracking the design process on.

The wing back chair started out like this (in the photo is the first pillow that I painted):

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Two coats later and it looks like this:

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There are some visible paintbrush strokes from certain standpoints depending on the lighting, but it’s not too bad.  I’m happy with it.  (Note:  Visible strokes taken away on final reveal.)

It’s mildly coarse, like a slightly coarser fabric, but not sand papery.  It’s fine to sit on, especially if rubbed in the direction of the grain. 

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Another view just after it was done, but before we put it back in the bedroom.   

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Cost:  $60 for the chair, $15 of fabric medium, $15 of paint (only used 1/4 of a quart) for a total of $90. 

Sure, new upholstery would be awesome, but who can beat $90 for a teal blue chair that matches the color of the inspiration photo.  (The actual real life color almost matches the inspiration photo from Lonny Magazine perfectly.)

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Yay!  What do you guys think?   Would you ever paint upholstery?  

Now, the urgent question is… to paint the legs or leave them brown?  

Participating in link parties at A Diamond in the Stuff, Primitive and Proper, Dittle Dattle, Type A DecoratingStuff and Nonsense, Shabby Nest, At The Picket FenceFench Country Cottage, Remodelaholic, and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Update 3/19/11:  The FINAL REVEAL is now posted.  It shows the chair after I put on another coat of paint, painted the legs white and put some nail head trim on it!  You have to see this!

The process/ how-to post will be on Wednesday.

Let the Upholstery Painting Begin!

**3/24/11:  Update: I have completed the chair and you can see it and a tutorial here.**

So… It’s time to try to paint upholstery.  I’m a little nervous, but very hopeful.   Here is the wingback chair before.

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I bought textile medium to help the paint remain soft when applied to fabric.  Mixed it with 2 parts paint. 

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Since the chair came with two pillows, I thought it’d be smart to start with them. 

I applied regular Valspar house paint (mixed with textile medium) to the pillow with a regular paint brush. 

Here is the pillow.

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I love the color!  It worked well.  I will have to let it dry for at least 24 hours, though.  So far, it’s a tad rough feeling, but nothing that would stop me from sitting on it. 

I learned to wet the fabric and water down the paint, then do two coats. This helps the natural sheen of the fabric to show through and makes it not so crunchy. 

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This may actually work!  In a few days I’ll start on the chair!    I think I’m still good with going for the whole chair!  (Isn’t she pretty?)

What do you think?!

3/15 – Chair reveal is posted!

Joined a link party at Embellishing Life and The DIY Home Sweet Home Project.

Painting Upholstery

So, as you can see in my story boards (design boards), I really want to put a bright teal blue wingback chair in our master bedroom. 

However, I’ve only found one or two online that are for sale.  And, they cost $1000-2000.  Over my budget.  I could re-upholster an old chair. That will cost around $550-750 once I buy the chair, fabric and pay for the actual upholstery job.  Still pricey for my current budget, though worth it if you didn’t mind the price tag!   So, I thought of a possible cheaper solution.

That brings me to today’s post.  Have you ever painted upholstery? 

Some people have!   Check this one out.

Here it is before:

Not too bad.  She said it’s more for looks as it’s a little crunchy feeling.  I’m alright with that if it saves a ton of money… I think.

Or, how about this one:

Painted chair, This is a chair that I painted.  I bought it off Craigs List.  I then painted the fabric of the chair.  It was originally a brownish green.  I painted the back of the chair brown and the front white.  I then added a stencil., I painted the fabric of the chair.  I painted the front white and the back brown.  I then added the stencil to the front. , Other Spaces Design

And, before?

Painted chair, This is a chair that I painted.  I bought it off Craigs List.  I then painted the fabric of the chair.  It was originally a brownish green.  I painted the back of the chair brown and the front white.  I then added a stencil., I purchased this chair off Craigs List. , Other Spaces Design

I love how she painted the back a chocolate brown and the front an ivory.  Then, she stenciled over the front.  I think it looks fabulous. 

I’ve heard of it being done with latex water based paint mixed with a fabric medium.  

Should I go for it?

I want something like this from Lonny magazine in the end:

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Isn’t it AMAZING?!  

What are your tips/ thoughts?

Note:  See my first attempts at painting in March 12th’s post.   And, the reveal on March 15th’s post.

Story Boards for the Master

I could go with yellow accents in the master or I could use purple as an accent color.   (The background color is our wall color.)

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Or, we could go with purple.

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Any thoughts?

Bedroom Dilemma

It’s time to focus on decorating our master bedroom.  It was just thrown together with whatever we had on hand.  I plan to keep the curtains (they are fabulous and from Overstock).  I also love the teal pillows on the bed.  So, keeping those.  Keeping all furniture.  But, what to put with the teal as an accent color?   Yellow?  Purple? 

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Our bedroom is 13.5x 19 ft.  It’s long and somewhat narrow.  So, the bed is at one end, which is the expected position, as the reading can lights are above it.  So, a seating area would be great on the other end. 

I’d like to hang a swag light with a barrel shade over each nightstand to add a bit of color and interest in front of the curtains. 

What to do, what to do.  I think I’ll start coming up with story boards.  

Will post those later today!   Stay tuned!