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Yes! The fabric can be painted too!

As anyone who follows our blog can attest, we love decorative furniture paint. This week we added painting Fabric to our list of things to do.

Recently we came across a set of four pretty shield back dining chairs. Well, pretty could be a stretch because while the style is one of my favorites, these chairs had issues. The wood tones did not match, the fabric was dated, and the finish did nothing to bring out the pretty details on the splat (the vertical element of a chair back.) It was time for another makeover.

We knew we wanted the chairs to be lighter in appearance, and we definitely wanted to bring out the details. We opted for all-over coverage with Pure White. As a side note, Pure White has very little pigment. This means the coverage will not be as dense as it is with many of Annie’s other colors. Be prepared to do more coats than you usually do. In this instance, we started with thin (slightly watered down) first coat and second coats with a normal third coat.

Detail of Chair painted with Pure White Chalk Paint and Washed with Graphite Chalk PaintWe really wanted contrast for the details, but also wanted to keep the look neutral and in a grey pallet. Dark wax is great for details and aging, and we use it often, but it also has a browner tone that wouldn’t work for what we were looking for. We decided to do a Graphite wash instead.

Update: Black wax can also be used to bring out details without getting the brownish look. But for an all-over effect, we find washing easier. 

A word of caution; when working with Graphite over Pure White, have your tools ready. Keep a bunch of clean rags, a few dry clean brushes, and plenty of water at hand. Be fairly liberal with the water. Work small sections at a time and keep on the lookout for stray drips.

Once dry, we went over the chair with two thin coats of Annie’s clear soft wax.

Now to tackle the fabric seat.

I’d been hearing about and seeing other makeovers using Paint on fabric, so we figured, why not?  

The long and short of it all. WATER. Lots and lots of water.

1) Dampen the fabric with a spray bottle, pour out paint into a bowl and add about 10% water (more or less to your skill as you go.)

2) Paint the mixture on and don't worry. It's going to look like heck for a bit.

3) When dry, give a light sanding with 600 or higher sandpaper.

4) Repeat the above until you achieve the results you are looking for. The chair seat below took about 4 coats of the mixture.

I. Am. In. Love!

Graphite painted followed by two coats of clear soft wax and sanded with 600 grit sand paper. The fabric was not only dated, but it had pills and pulls that sanded right off!

 I couldn’t be happier with our first attempt at using Graphite paint on fabric. It feels like a soft buttery leather and the pattern looks embossed.

If you have something that you’re thinking of reupholstering, why not give it a try? If you love how it turns out, you will have saved a ton of money. If you don’t, you can always reupholster anyway.

Till next time, happy painting!Kathleen

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