Monday, May 7, 2012

Painted Fabric Chairs

I did it! I finally finished the painted fabric chairs I started on back in March. Whew!

My dear friend Wendy had these in her living room. She's ready for new decor and since these bad boys have gorgeous lines and she already owns them, we thought we'd try painting them.

Here is a before... sort of. There is already one coat of spray paint on it but I'll get to that in a minute.

As always, I'm in too much of a hurry to get started and can't be bothered with hunting down a camera. Plus, when I'm in concentration mode, I'm bad at multi tasking and even worse at being interrupted. Do not interrupt me.

Remember those personality tests that always ask if you welcome interruption or if it angers you when you're concentrating? Well, it angers me. There, I said it.

So here is the back of one of the chairs. I had two chairs to work on; this red one, and a yellow one that was sort of a buttery color, very beautiful. 

This also has one coat of spray paint on it.

 I read multiple tutorials on this process to help me figure out which would work best. Mr. Goodwill Hunting has a pretty good tutorial, you can see it HERE. I also checked out Emily A. Clark's tutorial HERE. Another one you can read, and it cover's the same tutorial on Emily A. Clark's blog, has a list of updates from reader's and their experiences doing this. Definitely check that out HERE.

So back to painting chairs.

My first stop was Joann's for supplies. I didn't know if I wanted to use spray paint or acrylic. I found 5 bottles of the spray paint and decided to try them first. They're normally around $5 or $6 (I think) but I had coupons.

I bought the deep teal which was a really pretty color. But an entire bottle only covered this much:

So I tried all 5 bottles. With a sore hand from the pump and $25 invested, this was not going to work.

Red is a hard color to cover.

And this is for one chair! I still have another chair to tackle. 

I must say, if you're into the gothic look, this was kind of cool. I pictured this is a Dracula-inspired room; a little goth, a little chic.

No? okay then.

Next stop: Hobby Lobby. This is what I bought. Island Green acrylic paint and textile medium. The directions are on the back of the textile medium bottle. 2 parts acryclic paint, 1 part textile medium. So basically, two bottles of acrylic dumped into a cup with one bottle of textile medium, and mix. FYI, I used approx. 6-7 bottles of acrylic paint and 3.5 bottles of textile medium to finish both chairs.

To start, I already had a base coat from the 5 bottles of spray paint. I think that helped tremendously with coverage. It acted as a primer (sort of) and helped me get the acrylic to cover the red a bit.

Let me break it down on how I did it in case you're actually reading this in hopes of doing the same thing to your own fabric.

How I painted upholstered chairs

1. Fill a spray bottle with water and some fabric softener. I didn't measure, I just dumped some fabric softener into the bottle with water and shook. I'd guess about a 1/4 cup of fabric softener and 4 cups of water.

2. Spray down the chair. Be generous. I was working with silk fabric that already had water stains:

so I didn't have much to lose. Not knowing if the water stains would be covered by the paint, I marched on. I soaked that baby (and it smelled great from the fabric softener!). This helps soften the paint, the fabric, and allows for more coverage.

3. Start to paint with a brush (I used both foam and artist) and try to get as even as possible brush strokes. 

4. Let each coat dry a bit before adding another. The paint darkens and hardens a bit, allowing the next layer to sit on top rather than soak into the fabric. Also, I sprayed the chair before every coat with the water/fabric softener. It didn't hurt the silk fabric at all and helped me blend the color in with each coat.

5. Repeat coats until desired color. I used 8 or 9 coats between the two different painting techniques to cover the red. And honestly, it's not entirely covered. With all the coats of paint, I felt I was pushing it with the texture of the fabric. It started off as a soft silk and it's now a bit more "vinyl-ish". It's not hard, but you can wipe off anything that spills on it (added bonus... and of course it happened to me!)

 The yellow chair took about 4 coats of acrylic paint (no spray paint used on that one).

Next up, painting the wood

I used Annie Sloan. I've been dying to try it out so I went for it. It's awesome. You can find a list of retailers HERE

It's not inexpensive but it does go a long way. I only purchased the small $11 container of white for these chairs and borrowed Wendy's Annie Sloan wax. The wax is probably $30 and I didn't need to invest any more than I already had. Plus, they're her chairs.

The paint is really easy to spread on, use a good quality brush (I used a Purdy brush from home Depot). I did have lots of brush strokes with this project but the only other time I used Annie Sloan there were no brush strokes at all. Not sure what the difference is but whatever, it sands off easily.

After applying approximately 3 coats, I sanded the legs down with 400 grit sandpaper. There was chalk dust everywhere. I think you're supposed to put the wax on before sanding. If so, oops. But it didn't affect the quality and look, it just made a mess.

Then I applied the wax with an old t-shirt rag. I hardly used any from the $30 container which is nice. It went on so easily and dried quickly. However, this stuff is really stinky and it warns you so on the container. Do this in a well ventilated area. 

I love the distressed look. I did, however, have a tough time with painting the wood nicely and painting the piping on the chair. The stupid painter's tape wouldn't stick to either the fabric or the painted wood so it kept bleeding. I tried using an artist brush for touch ups but after awhile, you just kind of call it quits. Had I removed the piping and stapled it back on in the end, it'd be perfect. Whatever, it's good enough for me.

How gorgeous are these chairs?!

I can still tell which one was red and which was yellow. Can you?

So why did I photograph them on my driveway you ask? Well, Wendy decided they weren't right for her living room. She originally wanted a slightly different blue color. The original spray paint color was closer to her match I think. 

I would have loved to put these in my house, but I really don't have any place for them.

So I set them on the driveway as part of our garage sale Saturday. (Makes sad face)

 For the first part of the garage sale, no one even looked twice at them. But then they came! It's like everyone saw them, thought about them while driving around, and then came at once to fight over them. In the end, a family who rushed over to see them after hearing about it from another garage sale patron got them. They're redoing their decor in these colors and styles and they thought they were perfect. I had multiple inquiries after they were gone on if I had sold them.

Yup, I did

If you try this, let me know! I really want to see how other fabrics work out


Anonymous said...

Great job honey, hope you made some money on them. They turned out better than I thought.


Deb said...

I love the pop of blue and can't believe how good they turned out!

Madge said...

The chairs look great! Love the color - good choice!