Painting Fabric Chairs, The Review

Two weeks ago in part A, I set out to paint our old upholstered wing back dining room chairs.  They no longer matched the rest of the set, one of them was ripped on the seat, dirty and 20 years old.  

Not to mention the sage green and cranberry colors were long gone in the dining room.

The fabric however was still nice and tight, the chairs were put together very well, especially considering the years of use - or abuse - they have had.

Before & After Painting Fabric With Chalk Paint,
The intention was to recover them to match our drop cloth chairs......

Faux Grainsack & Graphic Chair Backs,

But there were more pressing projects to complete, and I figured I had nothing to lose by giving the paint idea a try.  

I mean it's all over Pinterest, I didn't think this up on my own, and I admit, I was very curious if it was possible.

If it didn't work, then recovering them would become one of those more pressing projects.

I thinned down what I had left of CeCe Caldwell Virginia Chestnut, which I can't buy locally, in hopes I would have enough, and I did.  However I ran out of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, in Old White.

There is a local occasional shop that sells ASCP, but it took me a week to get my hands on a quart.  Thankfully the shop owner lives above her shop and was more than accommodating for my paint emergency.

Painted Chair Fabric Grain Sack Stripe,

The grain sack stripe matches the ones on the other chairs, except it goes all the way around in contrasting color.

I painted the stripe than sanded it back for a distressed look.

 Brawn used the same leather on the seat that he used on the rest of the chairs.

Painted Fabric Chairs with Chalk Paint,

It's night, I want this post done, and I'm not hauling this chair outside tomorrow to get a decent photo.  The chair is chocolate brown and a creamy white, so embrace the night time glow it has in the photo above.

Now for the review of this process, or more like my honest opinion.....

I did two coats of paint, I think a third would of been ok, but these chairs are not intended to last for another 20 years.  There were a few spots I took the brush too for a third time, but I did not do the whole chair with three. 

I read after the fact, people wet the fabric first.  I didn't, not sure what that would have changed.

The chairs feel like you would expect painted fabric to feel like, till they are waxed, at which point they magically morph into a softer sort of leathery feel.  

These chairs have a raised leaf print on them, which works well for the after effect of a worn distressed looking leather.

Do they feel like leather?  Well no not exactly, more like a vinyl, but they don't feel bad.  They must look decent enough, one of my BFF's asked me if I got new chairs, then looked and said, "oh you covered them".  Her mouth dropped open when I said, no, I painted them.  At first she didn't believe me.

The peanut gallery, AKA my family, who shook their head like I was nuts every time they walked by the half painted chairs, had to admit they look pretty good and there was no "crunchy" feel like they insisted there would be. 

The only part that was tedious was going back with a tiny brush to fill in all the welting.  That part would of been by far easier if I used only one color.

I don't recommend doing this to a prized chair in case it doesn't turn out, but do a Pinterest search, some of the painted chairs look amazing.  So if you have one you can't live with like it is, this is a decent option.

Bottom line for me...... they look better than they did, feel fine to sit on, and now all the chairs match around my table.

*Update on questions:
Comfort:  When Brawn gets home from work he sits in a wing back at the table to have a cup of coffee, do paperwork and play black jack on his iphone, his version of multi tasking.   He said his chair feels the same as it did before.  It had a texture feel and it still does.

Wash-ability:  Great question and one I wasn't sure about which was my reason for making the arms and back part that a person leans on - brown.

The previous fabric was dark and didn't show dirt so I used a dark color for those areas.  Obviously the seat is not a problem as it's recovered, hopefully most folks won't have a dirty back and if they do I'll push them off.

The arms are the main concern and I may have to fabric those sooner than the rest of the chair.  Two coats of wax on just the arms might help that area, but I would imagine I won't be able to scrub hard.  I wonder if a shot of the 3M Fabric Protector would help too?  Don't come over and spill milk on those brown arms, I'll have to push you off of the chair too!

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  1. This is the best one I've seen yet! This result could almost convince me to try it - your chair really looks handsome as you've transformed it. I'm afraid I'm still skeptical, though. Please let readers know your opinion (and others' who sit in it) after a little time - how it feels, wears.
    Rita C at Panoply

  2. Thanks for the review! I have a chair I would like to try painting ... but rarely does anyone say what happens when you sit in them so I'm glad you addressed that. Like Rita, I'm still hesitant (I don't know why, the chair I'm thinking of painting only cost me $12). I'm just wondering how long the paint job would hold up and if someone spilled something on the chair,if it can be easily cleaned or will the paint rub off. with scrubbing? LOL.

  3. Thanks for the update. I agree, painting around that welting would have been a bitch! They look good in pictures that's for sure. I can't tell for sure - are the arms painted or covered in the seat fabric? As soon as I get to where they are in the garage, I'm going to paint a chair.

  4. I love how it turned out! Glad to hear that they're not "crunchy". That was my biggest question. I just tried CeCe Caldwell's chalk paint for the first time this weekend and was very impressed. I even went on their website and found a video where this girl used it to paint a sofa. It's kind of funny to watch. Looks like they encourage that sort of thing with their paint.

  5. The look great with your other Blissed out chairs. Very you!
    It's definitely a long process and I don't think I would paint anymore chairs after the two I did.
    I love the colors you used.

  6. Love the design you created! pinning

  7. I love the look of the paint, Bliss! I will definitely try it on a piece of upholstery soon but maybe not my floral sofa with the slipcover. I think I should start small!

  8. Loving those chairs. I just used CC's Chestnut on a table top and am liking it. Hadn't thought of using that color on a chair, but yours looks so good I may have to reconsider.

  9. Your chairs look fabulous! You were very creative and original with the design and definitely not afraid to take a risk with painting the fabric. Kudos and do enjoy them!

  10. Your chairs look great! I've always wanted to try this and now I think I will!

  11. At (a quick) first glance I thought you had covered all the middle section with brown leather, because they look so good. Then realised you had done the grain sack stripe, which looks great and I love the mix of brown and white, such a clever way to do the design.
    I'm now looking at my little armchair (that I was considering re-upholstering myself - somehow) with renewed vision, so thanks for the review.

  12. BEAutiful! Bliss!!! Now that I've seen your success, I'm ready to attempt it on an ugly mustard colored chair my son has!

  13. No spilling milk here! They look great :) Brawn approved is good enough for me!

  14. Bliss - does this still show up as no-reply?

  15. wow! they look awesome! painting upholstery really scares me- i did it once, but i am always afraid of it not working out!

  16. Wow, I can't believe how good it looks I haven't seen the painted chairs before.

  17. My question is does the wax rub off on clothing if it gets warm? I do love how they turned out. Next weekend I am looking for a chair to paint. My husband is shaking his head "NO!" as I type this. A lot he knows.

  18. Thank you for this review! I have always wondered if a painted chair would be "crunchy." As much as I trust you, I'm still not sure I would paint a chair.

  19. I love it Bliss! The thought of re-upholstering anything gives me hives...this is a great option! Love the color combo too...

  20. Thank you for sharing your results. They really look great and that they feel the same way to sit on is fabulous! I love the stripes and the leather treatment.

  21. Bliss, this is beautiful! I need to find a piece of furniture to play with...GREAT job!

  22. I'm impressed! They really do look pretty cool. And I never would have thought about that wax part ...

    :) Linda

  23. WOW Bliss those chairs look amazing!! Great job!

  24. Fabulous makeover, Bliss! Your chairs turned out so beautiful! I still haven't been brave enough to paint fabric, one day...until then I'll just admire yours and dream...
    Debbie :)

  25. Thanks for the review Bliss, it really helped. I LOVE how these turned out and I think the color combo was perfect. Love t he grain sac look you achieved.


  26. What a swanky transformation! Very much an UPcycle! Love your push them off idea too.
    I'd like to invite you to come by my new linky party, Drop It or Swap it this Wednesday and link up a swap item. Hope you'll come join in! ~Ann
    Tarnished Royalty

  27. i love the colors you chose, works perfect on the chair! I painted an old chair before with just acrylic paint and fabric medium, but no one ever sits on it, it's more for show in the extra bedroom.

  28. your chairs look fabulous Bliss! I have always wanted to do this, but I don't have a chair, and haven't found the right victim at a thrift store or yard sale yet. :)

    great job!


  29. Wow! They look really good. I am impressed! I might have to try this. I've never painted a chair.... I think it's time :-)

  30. They are just beautiful. I simply love the way you designed them to match your dining room chairs. It's such a unique style. It all looks like leather to me, and not crunchy leather, either!

  31. I would never have guessed the chair is painted! Very professional looking paint job! You've done a fabulous job transforming all your dining chairs!

  32. They turned out fabulous Bliss - really - you'd never know they weren't reupholstered !
    I painted 2 outdoor ones - that I can't wax obviously - but I've been told they'll soften up on their own from use. Here's hoping.
    LOVE love love yours - they're brilliant!

  33. HOLY COW Bliss. They turned out amazing. Just gorgeous. They look like custom made to order uber expensive chairs. Gorgeous!

  34. HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  35. Bliss they look totally amazingly awesome!!! Great job, I love them!

  36. They came out fantastic! I'd never be allowed on them I'm a huge klutz and a constant spiller, in fact I drink my tea in a travel mug at home, basically a zippy cup for adults.

  37. Wow! That chair looks amazing. I love the design you chose. It feels like a designer chair. You are one talented lady!

  38. It turned out awesome! I love the look! My painted chair is still one of my favorite projects too.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Wow, how very chic, I love this! I'm having trouble leaving your site, like Pinterest I keep telling myself, "Just one more..." I discovered your blog today, so many wonderful things on here!


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