Thursday, July 25, 2013

French Chair with Painted Upholstery Fabric

This was an interesting project and one that I have been wanting to try for months.  I have seen several posts on how to paint upholstery fabric instead of recovering with new fabric and I just had to try it for myself.  I found this beautiful chair for $25.  It had rust and gold textured velvet on it and the wood frame was still natural wood.
I had seen a post on painting fabric with Annie Sloan chalk paint so I followed the directions by cutting the paint with a ratio of 1/3 water and 2/3 chalk paint.  I used three layers of paint spacing each layer of paint 24 hours apart.  I also painted the frame of the chair Old White as well.
I went over the white frame of the chair with Paris Gray and then lightly sanded to reveal the Old White underneath.
The fabric took on a distinct appearance of white chenille and I do love that look, but it was as stiff as a board.  I couldn't imagine sitting on the chair as stiff as it was.  So on the fourth day, following the instructions I had found, I applied clear wax to the entire chair frame and fabric, but as you can see in the following photograph, the fabric cracked.  I haven't even sat on the chair yet, but it is cracking pretty badly.
The chair does look great and after applying the wax, the stiffness dissipated and left a feel of vinyl.  Interesting thought, a vinyl French chair.  Probably the only one of its kind.  Underneath the chair were two labels that not only date the chair but also share a little bit of its history.  
I did like preserving these labels for posterity.
Here is the chair as I found it.  Extremely dated and tired looking.  I will continue to explore this fabric painting idea, but frankly I don't find it to be that economical.  In addition to what I paid for the chair, my paint and wax total came to another $25.  I now have $50 invested in this chair.  I'm not sure I can recoup what I have now spent.  An alternative to painting the fabric would have been to use drop cloth possibly stenciled with my French poem stencil.  That probably would have run less than $10.  I'll see how the chair looks after its had a little time to cure and I'll try to remember to give you an update.  It may get the drop cloth treatment after all.  If anyone out there has any suggestions, let me know.  I thought about maybe using the textile medium, but I didn't think it was necessary based on the instructions I had read.  
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17 comments:

Suzan Sweatman said...

It looks gorgeous Maggie - but I've never seen the cracking before - strange!
The only piece I painted was for a showroom window - so it doesn't get any use at all.
Sorry - wish I could help but I have no idea how to " fix " this......
Hope someone else can help out here:(
XOXO

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

I was thinking the same thing, that the fabric looks like chenille. It looks gorgeous!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Well, it looks great, Maggie. A definite update to how you found it. I haven't tried painting fabric yet. It does seem to me that it might be stiff or crack when sitting on it, so I guess that's why I haven't rushed to try it. At least you tried it though, so you know.

Peggy said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have an old wicker chair with a back of nail heads surrounding this velvety fabric. I wanted to paint over the fabric rather than pull all,those nail heads out but now I've changed my mind. Thanks for sparing me the trouble and listening to my husband say ..I told you it wouldn't work. Peggy from pa

Art and Sand said...

I love the design of the chair. I would never have thought to paint it= fabric and all. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

Deneen@dreaming-n-color said...

I have seen several painted in the store I am in. No problems with theirs. Not sure what to tell you. I remember there is a video of Annie Sloan showing how to paint a chair. She does not dilute the paint. She adds water to the fabric to dampen it before she applies the paint. See if you can google it.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

You did an incredible job updating this dated chair. It has such great bones and so much potential. I love the way it looks, but if it doesn't sell, there's always plan B.

Scribbler said...

I am so glad you posted this. I have been on the fence about trying paint on fabric. I did try to dye some with the ASCP which the book says you can do, and it did not work out at all.

Fabric does suck up a lot of that paint, as I had previously tried painting some of those canvas baskets from Lowe's with it. They looked awful. I do plan to try it on a leather chair though.

I did have really good luck painting some similar looking fabric with a spray paint called design Master which is meant for painting florals. You can see this on my blog under the post Bohemian Rhapsody if you want to look. You can still see the pattern in the fabric, and it is not terribly stiff. I brushed some of it with a soft brush and it made it softer.

NanaDiana said...

Well, it looks good...gorgeous really..but I am surprised it cracked. I do think some people add a fabric medium to the paint- I wonder if that makes the difference? xo Diana

Bliss said...

Well the chair really does look nice like white chenille, but have to wait and see I guess, because what good is a chair if you can't sit on it!
Bliss

Tammy Monahan said...

Well, it certainly looks great! Not sure about that price though. I think I would like the linen idea better, but your chair really looks fantastic!

Donna said...

Even in its' cracked state, it still is oh so much better than that original fabric! Everything is a learning experience, isn't it?

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Maggie, what an interesting post, thank you for saving us a lot of trouble and money. I had never tried painting fabric, but like you, I had it in the back of my head. This is why I love blogging, all of the sharing of not only successes, but obstacles too! Your the best!

Carol

Susie said...

Maggie, I kind of liked the chair both ways. :):) It has very interesting carvings.xoxo,Susie

Cynthia said...

This paint is amazing and can be used for so many applications. I haven't tried it on fabric either though. I just can't bring myself to paint fabric.

Cynthia

miss flibbertigibbet said...

I agree with everyone else I suppose! I don't think it's a price saver, but more of a gimmick...another use for chalk paint kind of thing. I think it would save time maybe, with not having to dismantle the chair and recover it, but not a money saver. It does look really pretty though!

Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm said...

Maggie, you have painted a gorgeous chair...but I'm with Bliss...you gotta be able to sit on it! Thanks for sharing the results of this project with us. I'm not painting any fabric until you give us an update!