Have you ever considered painting fabric? I was a bit skeptical, but finally gave it a try.
I purchased these chairs up at a resale shop for $12 per chair. They were solid wood, sturdy and the fabric was in great condition. The only problem was they didn’t match my decor.
My original plan was to reupholster them using linen. I was planning to paint the frame for a French Country look. After a closer inspection, it became obvious that the back panel was going to be difficult to remove and then reattach. So, they’ve been parked in my basement for a few months. Here is how they look now.
While researching Fusion Mineral Paint, I stumbled on a tutorial for how to paint fabric and immediately began thinking about my chairs.
Unfortunately, I had two problems.
1. My fabric was a dark burgundy color and I wanted it to be white.
2. Their website recommended that you only paint tightly woven fabric like cotton, polyester, burlap, vinyl and leather. My fabric had a raised pile, almost like a soft corduroy.
I knew I would be taking a chance, but I decided to give it a try.
PREPARE THE PAINT SURFACE
My fabric was pretty clean, free of stains and oils, so I just gave it a quick vacuum.
The wood was a little sticky, so I lightly sanded it and the cleaned it with Krud Kutter pre-paint cleaner.
PAINTING THE FABRIC
To paint fabric, you should dilute the paint with water. The only exception is if you are painting leather or vinyl. The paint color I used is Limestone.
FIRST COAT OF PAINT
Start out by diluting your paint at a 1/2 water to 1/2 paint ratio.
I started with the first coat of paint and it really soaked in. I used a full container of paint for the first coat on two chairs.
This leaves the fabric feeling really rough to the touch, so you need to sand it before your second coat. This required a lot of sanding with a rough grit sandpaper. Vacuum the fabric before your next coat.
SECOND COAT OF PAINT
For the second coat you should dilute your paint at a 1/3 water to 2/3 paint ratio.
The second coat of paint also soaked in. I used an entire container of paint on the second coat for both chairs.
At this point I was really concerned it wasn’t going to work, but I pressed on and I’m glad I did.
Since I had so much sanding to do, I decided to use my random orbit sander with a medium grit paper. I kept the sander on low and only used it for the flat areas. This worked really well and cut the sanding time in half.
I don’t recommend using a sander under normal circumstances. The fabric on my chairs was durable and thick. As a precaution, I kept the sander on low speed and watched it closely. I didn’t press on the sander, just gently guided it along. Then I went back and finished the other areas with a sanding sponge.
Finally, I vacuumed the chairs well.
THIRD COAT OF PAINT
Since the first two coats of paint soaked in, I decided not to dilute the third coat.
Finally, I started to get the coverage I was looking for.
This is the point when the project became exciting. All along I thought this was going be an expensive mistake. It really started to turn out pretty!
I only used about a half container on the third coat.
By now, I had sanded off most of the pile on the fabric. So, the third coat only required just a gentle sanding with a sanding sponge and another quick vacuum.
FOURTH AND FINAL COAT OF PAINT
Again, I did not dilute the fourth coat of paint. It went on very quickly and the results were beautiful! I did not have to sand this time.
The texture of the fabric is similar to a soft vinyl. I wouldn’t say it’s like leather, but that may be because I used four coats of paint! Later I will try to wax it and see if it softens up a little more.
PAINTING THE WOOD
This was my first time using Fusion Mineral Paint. The paint goes on really smooth and leaves very few brush strokes. It was easy to work with and there is no top coat required. That’s a real plus. This is my new favorite paint in terms of application, but I’ll have to wait and see about durability.
I chose the Algonquin color for my base coat.
Using a Purdy brush I started at the top and worked my way down. Then I did a second coat. I didn’t even use a third of the paint container for two chairs/two coats.
I was going for a French Country look on these chairs, so I decided to glaze them. Using a mason jar, I mixed a small amount of glaze with Cathedral Taupe. Then working in small sections, I painted on the glaze and then wiped it off. The glaze mixture goes really far, so you only need to mix up a small batch.
I used the blue disposable shop towels for glazing. I’ll rip off about 5 to 8 squares and stack them, then cut them into approximatly 2″ X 3″ rectangles. This way I don’t waste a lot of towels. This works good for furniture with a lot of rounded edges like a chair. But for a dresser or furniture that is flat, I just use the whole towel, since there is more surface area.
Here’s one more before and after.
I think this project would have been much easier if I had the right type of fabric. But, I wanted to refinish the chairs that I had. Overall, I’m satisfied with the outcome.
And one last picture to pin…
Let me know what you think. Have you tried to paint fabric? How did it turn out?