Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Really, You Can Do That To Upholstery Furniture

 Okay, I don't know when I thought about the possibility of painting upholstery furniture. I probably heard about it some where, but when I found this cute little pink velvet love seat in a thrift store, I couldn't resist it. Unfortunately pink does not fit in our color scheme and reupholstering would of not been cost effective for this little piece and I certainly didn't want to upholstery this piece myself. So after viewing a lot of how to videos on YouTube, I felt confident enough to attempt a try at painting it. Frankly there were a lot of mixed reviews of painting upholstery success.  My Mr. Partner In Crime didn't like the pink but he sure didn't think this painting plan was going to work.
 My first try was using this spray paint I got at JoAnn's. They had two kinds of upholstery paint. Both were terrible colors and this one was for outdoor fabric and a closer color to what I wanted but figured it would work on inside furniture too. Thankfully the little sofa had two pillows that I could try out the paint on. They were not a velvet but a flocked design that painted well.
 I did not like the result of this spray paint at all. It was stiff and felt like a plastic. Of course this could of been user error.

 This sample was with Home Depot Behr paint and primer All in one, semi-Gloss. I liked this much better. I also bought a quart of chalk paint since several of the YouTube videos used chalk paint. I decided against that because I haven't used chalk paint before and was more comfortable using acrylic paint and textile medium.  With this color, I had some plans buzzing around my head to use a darker paint to paint subtle polka dots on the love seat. Now Mr. Partner In Crime was definitely suspicious of the subtle part.  
 So here it is partly painted. Now the formula for this technique appears to be 2 parts paint, 2 parts textile medium and 1 part water. I didn't really measure but I did use a lot of textile medium. More than the 2 parts. You are also suppose to spray the fabric down with water. One person on YouTube said water with a fabric softener which I decided to use. You are also suppose to sand between coats of paint.
 One coat applied. Now I thought one coat covered really well, but I had a couple of problems. One the velvet had a nap, which made coverage and sanding a more difficult proposition. Also all those buttons made painting in those areas and folds difficult.  Second problem was that this velvet has a flocked design with little indentations on the velvet. Those were very hard to cover. You can see them on the picture below.
 Okay, here is the other problem I had. I used 100 grit sandpaper and it was too rough for the velvet fabric. I would recommend using 220 grit or higher. I am sure I didn't sand in the direction of the grain all the time either. A total no no. That was my fault. You can see the difference in the naps of the fabric. I was surprised at what a difference the sanding made to the feel of the fabric.
Here is the finished sofa. I am actually surprised at how well it turned out. I think it looks really nice. Now for the feel. I think it feels like corduroy. It also definitely needed to be sanded and I did a final sand after the second coat of paint with very fine sandpaper. It will also probably get softer over time. Mr. Partner In Crime is still unsure about this painted piece but it was way cheaper than getting it upholstered and that makes him happy. Now for the real question. Would I do this technique again. ABSOLUTELY. I think that if the fabric had been just a regular plain or patterned upholstery fabric it would of been super easy to paint.


  1. FABULOUS! Now I know what to do with my dingy white uphostered furniture. When is another question. I should not be visiting your blog because I have WAY too much work to finish. However, when ever I visit, I am totally amazed at your work. I also always leave with a SMILE. Thanks Maggie for a delightful work break.

  2. applaude, applaude, applaude!!!!!!!!!!

  3. looks good, wondering how wet it got, and how it feels on legs. Does the paint come off on your clothes?

  4. Maggie, it's beautiful. I'm amazed, as always, at your bravery in tackling such projects. (Also would never have thought of SANDING the painted fabric!) Love it!