Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Painted Chair - How To -

Well, I can truly say, I'm behind the times with blogging.
This would be my first official "blog"
I decided, that if I were to start a blog, that it would be on something that received a lot 
of questions on "how to" from our facebook page.

That would be my 
"Painted Chair".
Wingback Makeover for under $25.00

I thought to myself, I'm sure people have painted chairs before, it has to be cheaper than re-upholstering, 
so there MUST be a recipe somewhere online!?!
I searched for a while and found tid bits of information here and there.
 Everyone seemed to have left out one or two details, assuming that we 
would know what they meant from the pictures.

Well, here is what I pieced together from all the various "recipes" 
of course with my own little twists and experiments.
Let's call this a Gypsy-fied recipe shall we?
Since we never do what we're told anyway!

Step 1.
Find a chair that you won't feel guilty about ruining if things go wrong.
And they likely will.
However, the bonus here is, if you choose a light colour and mess it up, 
you can always try again with a darker colour :)

Things to consider when picking a chair -
  1. The size of the paintable area. I suggest NOT doing what I did and choosing a WHOLE chair. Maybe start with a smaller chair with a simple fabric back pad on it.
  2. The Material - Try to pick something smooth. Materials that are "soft and fluffy" will turn out to feel a little more "crusty". I picked a fairly smooth material, even with the pattern.
  3. How many folds are in the material.  Folds are a royal pain in the rump to get under. Once you are done, if someone sits on the chair, the folds will smooth out and show whether or not you painted under them. Your secret will be revealed! *le gasp!*
Here is the chair I chose.
With a model of course!

So this beast was filthy. I scooped her up from an estate sale. 
She is large and in charge weighing more than I do!

Step 2

Decide what type of paint you are going to use.
I know most people will immediately think FABRIC PAINT!
Well, you can think that if you want. You can even try it. But my experience with fabric paint is that it needs a lot of love beyond just painting it on. You have to heat set it, and you can't really wash a
chair in the washing machine to allow it to set in and soften up.
So naturally, I started researching how to use other paints.
Here is what I came up with.

  1. An 8 oz bottle of Textile Medium - $9.00
    It says right on the bottle: Transforms Acrylic Paint into a Washable Fabric Paint!
  2. Black Acrylic Crafting Paint. The craft store I was at just happened to
    have the bottles on sale 2 for a dollar! Well how convenient is that?????
  3.  A small paint brush
  4. A foam roller and small tray
  5. Water
Recipe - 2 parts acrylic to one part textile medium.
I emptied one bottle of black into the small tray, then filled the same bottle half way full with the textile medium and mixed it. It is wise to water it down.... I'll explain that more....
Now, my forte is in furniture painting, so naturally my mind went to primer.
There's no such thing as fabric primer.... that I could find,
but I wanted to make sure the paint got INTO the fabric.
I had visions of the material stretching when people sat on it allowing
the white to show through.So, here's my solution......
Fabric absorbs. Everyone knows that!  I figure, once I mixed the recipe together, if I filled the remaining space in the tray with water and used that to soak the chair, the material would suck the paint  right into its skeleton!  I was right. It did just that. I did a very light coat over the entire chair using an extremely watered down mixture of one bottle of acrylic and half that same bottle of medium.
It took a total of 3 bottles of black to *prime* the chair. I let it dry over night.

The next day, I checked the chair, and it was nice and dry. Not crispy or feeling rough.
I decided now, that even though the bottle says nothing about water, I liked the idea of the water being the transport to pull the paint through the fabric. When I mixed the recipe this time, I only filled the remainder of the tray half full with water. This allowed the coat to go on thicker and darker. I ran over the same spots with multiple passes to make sure no roller lines were left or gobs of paint as the textile medium seems to not like mixing completely smooth with water. It may leave little "gobbies" here and there - another pass or two with your roller should get rid of those.

I coated the entire chair, and then went back with a small brush and pulled the trim back to reveal the lighter areas under it that the roller couldn't get to. I also pulled back all of the folds all over the chair and made sure to get underneath them. They were only *primed* so they were simply grey underneath.

I let that dry for about 6 hours, then went over it again, with very minimal water added this time.

I let that dry over night.

The next day, I went back and painted the trim a vanilla colour. I was contemplating trying a black *drybrush* over the white, but my *better half* thought it was just perfect the way it was.

Here is the before and after shot.

And there you have it folks. A total chair transformation for under $25.00
Now, I'm not sure if it was the watered down paint, or the type of material, but if you were to sit on this, you would just think it was a nice thick upholstery. It doesn't feel anything like the *crusty, crunchy*  perception most people have of painted fabric. It's now taken up permanent residency in our living room.

I think my favourite part about this is, if any stain ever appears, it's pennies to fix!
Just dab a few drops of paint on!
Now I'm contemplating adding a Fleur de lis, or damask or maybe an 8-ball design on the backing.
And possibly painting the legs white.
But that's another days project!

From my very 1st blog ever, this is Jasmin from Gypsy Barn saying:
"Be a D.I.Y Grrrrrrrl!!!!"

Hope you enjoyed this blog. I'll get the jist of it eventually!
*** IF YOU TRY THIS.....
Please pretty please, take before and afters and come share it on our facebook page!
Gypsy Barns Facebook Page 
We would LOVE to see that we did in fact inspire someone in this big world :) ***


  1. Congrats to you on launching your blog!!! That chair re-do is so cool. Love the bold choice.

  2. Hey! Thanks for being my very first commenter!
    Let's cross our fingers I can get the jist of this and keep them coming!

  3. This is great Jasmin - love your post and you did a great job with the blog colours!!!

  4. Congrats on launching your blog. The chair turned out great. Love your model

  5. You did a great job! I would have hesitated to add the contrast but it looks awesome!

  6. Super amazing! I have been wanting to try this; I think you are giving me some courage! I am your newest follower!

  7. I love the way that chair turned out. But what really caught my eye was the Jack Daniels piece. Did you paint that? I live in Tennessee, so it makes me smile.
    Congrats on the blog. I just found you on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I enjoy seeing your work.

  8. Ok, finally figured that out! You can now do the email subscription!
    Thanks for the push!

    And yes - I did do the JD Cabinet. I wrote and asked permission first just to be legally safe! So I now have a nice little JD souvenir on my wall!

  9. Great job with the chair! I painted a chair and a sofa last summer...not sure it turned out as well as yours. You should TOTALLY put a fleur de lis on the back of the chair - that would look rad!