Furniture Projects, Craft Projects, Thrift Store projects

Monday, July 14, 2014

Elegant Gray Painted Fabric Chair


I bought this chair about 3 years ago at Habitat for Humanity thrift store, for about $60. I saw what great lines it had, and it was still in great condition, I was just not fond of the pink color. I figured that when I could save up a little extra money I would have it recovered, ya well that never happened. Then recently I saw that others were painting upholstery and I thought "how cool, I want to try that!" Then I remembered my darling pink chair that I had neglected to get recovered. I then tucked the idea in the back of my brain and waited for summer so I could do it when it was warm and the paint would dry faster.
I am going to tell you step by step how I did it, using many tips from other bloggers that really helped me do this project.

And without further ado, here are the before pictures

Get ready here we go!

Here are the products I used, Glidden satin finish, in Pebble Grey, and Anita's textile medium. I decided to follow tips from other that have done this and did not follow the directions of the Anita's medium bottle. I added one bottle textile medium, 2 parts paint and 1 part water for my first coat. I went through a lot of paint and used 3 of the textile mediums. I probably could have used more of them, but that was all that was in stock at the store. I can't remember what the medium cost, but it was not bad at all.

First I decided to prime my wood before painting the fabric.

Here is the first coat of paint, still a lot of pink showing through. The first coat of this cushion took a lot of paint, and I was not sure I was going to have enough grey paint so I decided to make the same mixture, but used some BEHR Swiss Coffee paint (a soft white), for the base coat and then do the grey on the final coat.

Here is the 1st coat of white paint, still a lot of pink showing through

Here paint coat #2. 
One of the tips that is crucial, is to sand the fabric in between coats of paint. My fabric is pretty nappy and textured so I used about 220 grit to sand. It really softens up the fabric, it takes away the rubbery feel latex paint gives.

I put on a generous coat of grey paint and let it dry over night.
I also paint a few coats of Behr Swiss Coffee on the wood.

Almost finished, I just need to sand all the fabric and distress the wood slightly.

Here she is all done, and looking rather smart if you ask me!
You can't see it in the pictures but due to the nap of the fabric every time I sanded a little bit of the pink popped through. I decided it actually softened the look and used it to my advantage.

Here she is with a linen pillow I bought in France

~The #1 tip I used was sanding in between coats, it really helped to keep the fabric soft. I still need to do more sanding on the cushion edges to get it to be softer, but I need to wait until the paint cures longer.

~ Other tips that I have seen on other blogs was either adding extra water to the paint and fabric medium or spraying the fabric with water before putting on first coat. I decided to add water to the paint mixture. I think next time I will try spritzing it with water first. My mixture was too runny and I think it soaked into the fabric too much.

~Is it still soft like fabric?  
No, it is definitely not soft as before and does have a stiffer feel to it. I am glad I tried this on a chair that is more of an accent chair, and not one we sit in all the time. The top of the seat is soft, but the I think the middle that connects the top and bottom of the cushion together got too many coats of paint. There were so many crevices to get into with the pipping, that it just seemed to happen that way. So that part is stiffer than I would like. I think if I am able to sand it some more it will soften up.

~ Would you do this again? 
I definitely would do this again, it was actually quite easy. It did take more paint than I thought it would, a lot more than other peoples did, but this chair was mostly fabric. I had about 1/2 a quart of paint left over from another project and I used almost all of it. 


  1. I have a question about this project - doesn't sanding snag or damage the fabric?

    Judi in the UK

    1. Hi Judi,
      it didn't snag with the type of fabric that was on my chair, but I would imagine it could be different with other fabrics. Mine was pretty nappy and I didn't have that problem. Also with the paint on it it makes the fabric even sturdier. Some of the extra texture and nubs show through after sanding, but in my case I felt it helped soften the feel and look. My fabric was really thick so sanding didn't cause any damage.
      Are you thinking of painting fabric on a chair and if so what type of fabric is it?

  2. Hello My Friend,

    I have a question. Why did you not use chalk paint? Are there two different outcomes?

    Love you,

  3. I would have used chalk paint. definitely a difference

  4. Thank you for sharing your techniques and info. I gave my daughter a really old antique chair, that we had upholstered in pale pink velvet before she was born..It has always been in her room, until last week when she took it home to PAINT...(she is 34) but I thought she had lost her she said look it up, it is the newest thing...Yours looks good..we will see. Otherwise we are taking it to be reupholstered...fingers crossed it will come out great! thank you again, Victorai

  5. sorry, can't even type my name...Victoria