Painting Upholstery With Chalk Paint {A Chair Makeover} | The Interior Frugalista: Painting Upholstery With Chalk Paint {A Chair Makeover}
Painting Upholstery With Chalk Paint {A Chair Makeover} | The Interior Frugalista

January 5, 2015

Painting Upholstery With Chalk Paint {A Chair Makeover}

Did you know you can paint upholstery?  That's the question I asked my client when she approached me about refinishing her husband's French Provincial Arm Chair to surprise him with on Christmas morning.  No pressure!

We discussed the option of reupholstering and either painting the wood or stripping and re-staining it. Those two options were too time consuming and expensive. The goal was to get rid of the gold color of the velvet upholstery (which was in very good condition) and remove the red tones in the wood to compliment her husband's desk. When I told her a quicker and less expensive option would be to paint the upholstery and apply a water base stain over the existing wood color she gave me the thumbs up.

French Provincial Arm Chair Fabric Painted with Chalk Paint

This is what the chair looked like before.  It's hard to tell in the picture but the wood has a lot of red in it. 

French Provincial Arm Chair Before A Makeover

I cleaned the wood with Natura liquid deglosser and then lightly ran a medium grit sanding block to rough up the wood a little.  I used a foam brush to apply the water based stain and wiped off the excess.


I could have gotten away with just one coat but I gave it a second to completely remove the red tones in the wood.  After it was dry I applied two coats of water based Tough Coat protective finish also using a foam brush.

French Provincial Chair Refinished with Water Based Stain

Painting the upholstery wasn't difficult but what I didn't anticipate was that it would take five coats to completely cover the gold underneath with a 24 hour drying time between each coat.  I used a spray bottle to dampen (not saturate) the fabric first.  I used 1 part chalk paint to 1 part water and applied the paint with a brush following the nap of the fabric.

French Provincial Chair Fabric Painted - After One Coat
The picture above is after one coat while still wet.  After it dried for 24 hours I sanded it using a soft bristle manicure nail brush following the nap of the fabric.

French Provincial Chair Fabric Painted After Two Coats
Using the water bottle again to lightly dampen the fabric, I applied a second coat of diluted chalk paint.  The picture below is the back after the second coat.

French Provincial Chair Fabric Painted - Back After Two Coats

Again after it dried 24 hours I sanded it with the manicure brush following the nap of the fabric and repeated the process I mentioned above for the third coat.

French Provincial Chair Fabric Painted - After Three Coats

Normally you get complete coverage after two or three coats but that gold was a stubborn beast!  I stopped taking pictures after the third coat because the panic button was on as Christmas Day was quickly approaching.

After sanding the final coat I applied a thin coat of clear wax with a white lint free cloth to soften the fabric. I didn't use much and removed any excess without vigorous buffing. It feels like leather once the wax cures!

French Provincial Chair After Painting Fabric with Chalk Paint

I apologize for the quality of these pictures.  I was loosing daylight and time before my client was picking up the chair plus my point-and-shoot camera was not doing them any justice.  When I brought the chair upstairs to take pictures I fell in love with how great it looked in my living room and wished it was mine.

When she came to pick it up she walked right past without recognizing her chair.  We had a good laugh when she turned around and shouted, "Oh my gosh is that my chair?"  

French Provincial Arm Chair Chalk Painted Fabric and Restained Wood

I hope her husband on Christmas morning had the same, "Oh my gosh, is that my chair?" reaction.  

Would I paint upholstery using chalk paint again?  Absolutely!  In fact I have an armless French Provincial Chair in our master bedroom in very good condition that could use some updating.

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING FOR FEATURING THIS PROJECT:
The Big Red Barn
Show Comments: OR