How To Paint A Fabric Chair
Did you know that you can paint a fabric chair? I’ve painted several upholstered chairs. The key is to make sure that its in great condition free of any damage such as tears or rips. I’ve upholstered a few chairs before but it’s not easy. Recently I came across one of the ugliest chairs ever! I guess I should apologize. I’m sure that someone at one time loved this chair. (This post contains affiliate links please see disclosure policy).
I’ve looked back on pieces I once loved and thought what in the world was I thinking! I knew that adding a little paint could bring it back to new life. When I spotted it at the thrift store I think my daughter thought I was nuts for even thinking about purchasing it. When I was paying for it the cashier and the man that brought it to the front register chuckled. I asked what was so funny. They told me that this chair was sold and the person that bought it never picked it up. They were happy it was leaving the store. Well guess what I have the last laugh because this chair looks amazing! The best part is that it now feels just like leather! So how did I do it?
How To Paint A Fabric Chair
Let’s talk about what you need to prep before you paint a chair and supplies needed.
- Make sure your chair is clean, vacuum any hair or dirt off of it before starting your project.
- I suggest using Chalk Finish Paint
Once your chair is clean you’re ready to paint your piece. To paint a fabric chair you’ll need two coats of paint. The second coat may need to be thinned down a bit with water. But don’t add the water into the paint container as it will contaminate it. Mix up a small batch of paint in a separate container with a little water. Don’t use too much water, you just want to thin it down a bit. Once your piece is completely dry you can seal it with wax or a clear coat. You can apply a coat of dark wax to give it an aged patina.
You can see the difference between the fabric side and the painted side. You can’t see if from the photo but the left side has been primed as well as the right side. Just adding one coat of paint you can see how well it covers the ugly fabric.
For fun I decided to add a design. Here’s what you need to create this design.
- Graphic from the Graphics Fairy you can find that image HERE.
- Painters Tape
- Heirloom Traditions paint in a la mode. You can use any lighter color
- ModPodge image transfer medium
Begin by taping your piece I was trying to create a grain sack look. I did this by eyeballing it I didn’t measure.
Then I painted my stripe down the center of my chair. When that stripe was dry I added stripes on both sides of my middle strip, using my painters tape as my guide. When my painted stripes were dry I added my graphic. Make sure you print this out in reverse.
Apply the ModPodge transfer medium to the front of your image and place it with the image facing down. Before you do this, make sure you decide where you want your graphic to sit. Let this sit overnight. The next day take a dampened sponge and in a circular motion start wiping the paper off you will be left with the image on your piece.
But I noticed that the ink was making a mess on my piece. Not sure why this happened, but I didn’t panic. Instead I pulled out my dark and clear wax and started distressing this chair using wax.
After I waxed the chair, I pulled out a medium sanding block and lightly sanded my chair. Once I was done sanding my chair, I buffed the chair with my buffer.
This chair feels just like leather. It has a nice sheen because of the wax. It’s comfortable to sit and so beautiful too!
I’m actually surprised at how large this chair is! It has a French look that I like and it looks quite different in this room doesn’t it. Let’s take a look at the before again. I bet you’ll be searching the thrift stores so you can paint a fabric chair. Just remember to make sure it’s in great condition.
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Looks great! I have got to try this sometime. Looks like fun.
Marlene Stephenson says
Your chair looks great,someday i am going to find one i can try it on. Have a wonderful day Anne.
Hi Anne you never sees to amaze,your wonder woman keep up your amazing work you inspire us all ???
Wow! Great look!
Micky Coles says
Love your chair tutorial! What an amazing difference, beautiful! The addition of the stripes and transfer really made it special!
Turned out to be pretty nice chair, looks like it was in good shape considering it had been sitting around. Poor chair, not it’s fault somebody put such awful fabric on it. Like color you painted it, sure looks nice in your living room. Looks like you got a bargain. Really like stripes and graphic. Happy daze
Great transformation ! Love the result. You have a good eye to see the potential of furniture, even when they are ugly !
Janet (Shabbyfufu) says
That looks great Anne! I’ve often thought about painting my dining chairs but not sure that I’d have the nerve!
Carolyn Winn says
Lovely transformation; has anyone tried this technique on velvet?
I never would have dared, but it looks fabulous!
I love this chair!! What a transformation! This came at a perfect time! I just bought a chair at Goodwill and need to do something with it. It’s not so ugly as yours but it is dated and this would be a great alternative. It doesn’t sound very hard. Did you just used paint in a can? Chalk paint? or spray paint? I’m scared to do it but you make it seem easy! Thanks for sharing.
Tina @ What We Keep says
Poor ugly chair is now a beauty queen! I must get some FAB immediately.
Miss Nifty Thrifty says
Wow!! Looks awesome!!! Have you ever used this paint before and know how it holds up after a while?
I love this. I have never thought to paint a fabric chair. How does it wear over time and with use?
Mindy Jollie says
Honestly, I didn’t even know you could do this with a chair! Great to know! Also, your chair turned out awesome, so thanks for sharing. (:
Marcy Johnson says
I painted carpet once! I had a yucky cream colored berber (sp?) in a bedroom of the first house I bought. I used it for a den. One day, I spilled a little trim paint on it, and it would not come out! I thought about using scissors to cut it, but then the light bulb went off! I watered down some green paint I had from another project and I mopped it on. Once it was dry, it just stayed! I misted the carpet with a mixture of water and fabric softener so it would remain soft to walk on, but I didn’t really need to. It was soft, just green! I painted an ugly blue fiberglass shower with boat (marine) paint. I spray painted a pair of shoes gold once in the late 80’s. lol. I’ll paint anything!!! Love your chair!!!
judy h. says
Hi Anne! I was going to tell you that your chair makeover is amazing, but nothing you do amazes me anymore! I simply love to wait and behold your next gorgeous creation! That poor forgotten chair looked horrific, but only you saw a “diamond in the rough”. I love the color, the stripes, the chippy legs and the beautiful transfer. I would love to know your creative process. I simply don’t have the ability to look at something and see beyond the obvious. Maybe that comes from a lifetime of trying too hard to color inside the lines. I’m so glad you don’t!
Karen Del Tatto says
Wow! I am in awe of what you did here!! In a million years did I ever think you could paint a chair!
But you didn’t just paint it, you added decorative accents with striping! Wow!!
With all my “wows” you can see I am wowed! lol.
Great job and thanks for sharing!
Your thrift store chair looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing your great tutorial with us at Snickerdoodle. I’ll be featuring this at today’s party. Hope to see you there!
I too am featuring your painted thrift store chair at Snickerdoodle.
Hi Anne, The wingback is such a great style of chair. It makes me wish I didn’t get rid of mine. One was pink and one was burgundy. Oh well. It looks great in your room.
Love the chair! The ugly duckling, became a beautiful swan. Love the feather and fan blanket. Do you have the pattern?
I would love to knit one.
You did a super job updating this chair. I will be featuring this tonight at my Fall into Fall party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I’ve Been Featured button. Thanks. http://diybydesign.blogspot.com
Oh, love how your chair turned out! Thanks for sharing at the InspirationSpotlight party @DearCreatives. Shared.