Emergency Upholstery Fix: Paint your fabric chairs!

I debated whether or not to blog about my beautiful turquoise painted chairs… because I didn’t sew anything on them (yet). But this was a project involving fabric and it turned out so amazing, that in the end I just have to share.

The night before Thanksgiving this year I painted two chairs! Not wooden dining room chairs like you might think, but plush fabric chairs. I never would have imagined it, although all you have to do is google ‘painting fabric chairs’ and you’ll see that lots of people are already doing it.

Here’s my experience. 🙂

So, the day before Thanksgiving I started to freak out because I had 17 people coming for dinner the next day with only 2 medium sized couches for people to sit on. And we all know that Thanksgiving dinner is never served on time nor do people generally leave immediately afterwards. I needed more seating and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend. 

Luckily my sister in law Kassie was there and she was willing to check out my favorite thrift store with me. We found two adorable fabric chairs. I loved their shape and size (not very big, and no arms). The chairs were sturdy and in good shape but very, very dirty. I wish I had a ‘before’ picture.

My first thought was to buy upholstery cleaner to try to shampoo them before Thanksgiving day but Kassie suggested paint. What??? After some googling on my smartphone I realized it was a brilliant idea.

Using this blog post for inspiration we bought a pint of inexpensive latex paint in my favorite turquoise color and a few bottles of ‘fabric medium’ from Michaels. They were all out of the brand that our inspiration blog post suggested so we decided to try a couple other brands. We didn’t notice a difference between them at all.

When we got home we realized that most people suggest using a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 fabric medium to paint because the fabric medium prevents the paint from making the fabric too stiff and scratchy. But we didn’t have nearly enough for that so we used a ratio of 1:1. I still ended up running back to Michaels at 9:50pm for the rest that they had because the chairs really soaked up the paint mixture. But we made it.

We took the legs off the chairs before we got started and used cheap paintbrushes so we could throw them away afterward. By the way, can you see how dirty that chair was? That was after I gave it a good vacuuming.

I painted the legs also with latex wall paint.

Can you tell that I don’t usually paint things? I have none of the correct supplies on hand and just a single bucket of leftover white paint in my garage, lol. 

But the chairs turned out beautiful! The texture in the fabric came through and the shiny-ness looks awesome. What I thought was a ‘quick fix’ turned out to be my favorite new furniture. I must admit that they are pretty stiff and scratchy – a lot like outdoor furniture. Probably because we didn’t use very much fabric medium. It means that my kids would rather sit on the couches, and I’m fine with that, lol. When we do need the extra seating, these chairs are perfect. Meanwhile they just sit around looking good.

So that’s my experience with applying paint to upholstery.

Now back to sewing!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂