Recently, Kristy, one of my readers and a fellow blogger, emailed me with her wingback chair makeover that she completed by painting directly over the upholstery. Since I've had this mustard yellow chair sitting in the corner of our bedroom for several months now, I was particularly interested and asked her to share the step-by-step process.
Kristy's Tips on Painting Upholstery:
I recently painted an upholstered chair that I purchased on Craigslist. Why would I do this? Well, after I learned that recovering a wing back chair for my master bedroom would cost between $500 and $700, I decided that just wasn’t in my budget. So, how could I do this cheaper?
Here's the step-by-step process:
I REALLY wanted a chair like in my inspiration photo. Not exactly like it, but the general color and shape.
The wing back and the vibrant teal color were important elements of my master bedroom story board.
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.
It was in perfect condition. Well built. Great lines.
I began the painting process. First on a pillow, but I’ll skip that part, as it went well, and instead I’ll start with painting the actual chair.
1 Quart of latex satin paint in the color of your choice
1 Spray bottle full of water
1 2 inch or smaller paint brush
Fabric medium (equal to the amount of paint that you use)
Acrylic craft paint in the color of your choice (should match the color of the Latex paint)
Sand paper in around a 180 grit
1. Make sure the chair is wiped free of dust and debris.
2. Mix 1:1 parts of latex paint and fabric medium.
I used Ocean Soul by Valspar.
Fabric medium keeps the fabric from getting too hard.
I wouldn’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. This will be your base coat.
3. Water that down with 1/2 the amount of water as paint. Stir.
4. Remove all seat cushions that are not attached from the chair.
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 damp.
6. Brush on the paint slowly blending the best you can. Finish the area going with the grain so the fabric lays in the right direction as it dries.
7. This should give you light coverage, almost like a stain. It will also act as a primer.
8. Do two coats this way. Let the first one dry fully before beginning the second.
9. Don’t worry, your arm won’t fall off.
10. Sand any particularly rough parts.
11. Once the chair was dry, I spray painted the legs in a glossy white.
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. I mixed this in a cup as well. But, this time, be more generous. I’d do a full cup this size. (See below.)
Add just a few thimbles of water to dilute it a little.
I had to mix my own color since the acrylic paints didn't come in the color I wanted.
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. It needed a little bling, so I added some nail head trim on the arms. I got the spacing right but folding a piece of paper and taping it so as to laminate it.
Then, I simply hammered them in! Nothing to it.
13. Congrats, you have a new chair!
And, here is a sneak peek of it in my master bedroom!
A few helpful FAQ's. . .
Is it crunchy or stiff?
It started out as a velvet fabric. It is not soft like velvet, but it is also not hard or sand papery. It's like a stiffer, rougher fabric.
Does the paint come off on clothing?
Not at all. I tested it out and even wet it and sat on it. No problem.
- A smoother fabric is likely easier to work with.
- The final acrylic paint layer is very important.
- Sand down any particularly rough spots.
- For a more leather-like finish, you could try a glossy paint or a wax finish.
Hope you enjoyed this step by step look at the process!
Well, Kristy certainly makes it look easy enough. Do I dare attempt this? I have a feeling I might pull out a hair or two during this project, but I do love the end result. Thanks for sharing. To follow along with the rest of Kristy's master bedroom project, visit her blog, Hyphen Interiors.