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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.  
Thanks for visiting.

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