Thursday, October 1, 2015

Painting chairs with Chalk Paint

Firstly thank you for the beautiful comments and emails I received about feeling refreshed and inspired. I just love your comments and messages of support. It means the world to me. 

I just realised that I never blogged about painting fabric chairs with chalk paint. I haven't tried this with all brands of chalk paint but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Just try it and see. 

The top chair is a fabric armchair my friend Belinda loved the shape and comfort of, but she didn't like the timber (too orange) and while the fabric was in perfect condition it was dated.  She asked me to upholster it but I suggested painting it as a cheaper alternative. She trusts me so said go ahead. 

When you are painting fabric upholstered chairs you will need to water down your paint first. I think around half / half is good but just see how you go as it will probably depend on the fabric and how absorbent it is. You can also spray the fabric first with a water mist to help the paint soak in. You will need at least three coats of paint. 

I painted the whole chair - timber and fabric - fully in Paris Grey and then with a small brush I painted the frame white and sanded it back to show both grey and timber underneath. I love how the grey paint makes the pattern in the fabric pop. I had pulled off the old gimp braid and bought grey braid but it isn't back on in these photos. 

To finish off the chair you will need to wax it. Be mindful you will use a fair bit of wax for a chair this size. Just wax as you would a piece of furniture. I used a wax brush. Before you wax or between wax coats, give the fabric a little sand with fine sandpaper or a sanding sponge. 

Belinda has been using this chair regularly for over a year and it's still perfect. Such a great way to economically save a beloved chair. The fabric feels stiffer than it started out but it's a lovely texture: similar to canvas. 

The vinyl chair was disgusting when I bought it. Who wants a peach chair :). A beautiful grey chalk paint and dry brushing in white for the frame makes it so much better. I adore this chair and kept it for home. 

I painted right over everything including the studs. A bit fiddly painting the tufting but really not too difficult. Just shove your brush right in there.

Anyway I hope you find this an inspiring post and that it might save a few old chairs that you would otherwise pass by.

Here's another one I've been working on. Similar but not as fancy. I still might sell this one so let me know if you are interested. Honestly it holds up so well, just beautiful. I'll share a finished photo soon. Perfect for a desk or corner of a bedroom. 

You have to love chalk paint, don't you?

Fiona xx


  1. So clever - beautiful

  2. Does the fabric matter? Can a velvet like fabric be painted?

  3. The peach vinyl might have been okay with the frame done in a pale teal paint, is that available in the chalk? It really does depend on your decor though. Peach and teal don't go with everything.
    I like the way the chair looks in the grey.
    I found your blog via a magazine article.

  4. Hi Fiona - when you paint leather and vinyl chairs, do you ever find the paint starts to crack on the seat and eventually starts peeling off? I painted a leather chair in Annie Sloan chalk paint and then waxed it, and the above had happened. It has scared me off painting anymore chairs!! What has been your experience?

    1. No I've been using the chair very day for a year and still perfect but if down the track it eve wears ill just give it another coat.

  5. I love it, especially the second one! I'm getting ready to give it a go on a tufted, linen storage bench and wonder if you used any fabric medium as I have read in so many other posts. Thank you in advance. :)


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