DIY furniture painting (AKA the velour set that took over my life)
As I mentioned last week, I worked long and hard with the gals from UsedVic to transform a French Provincial couch and chair into a beautiful work of art by repainting it. And when I say repaint, I do mean the upholstery. When we unveiled it this past weekend at the Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire, people were flabbergasted. Most people don’t realize you can actually paint upholstery and seemed very impressed with our final result. It does look fabulously stunning in the UsedEverywhere royal purple! People were dying to know how we did this so I thought I’d revisit this and give everyone a step by step on how to repaint fabric furniture.
Now I should start off my saying that you really need to think about the type of fabric you want to paint before creating a game plan as to how long it will take and how much paint you will need. When we made plans to paint the couch and chair, we didn’t take this into account AT ALL. We gave ourselves two nights to complete this job…one night for the first coat of paint and another for the second and last coat of paint.
You see, we referenced a DIY post that our Community Manager, Jennifer Aikman wrote for a polyester chair she painted a few months ago. The key info here is that her chair was a smooth, flat polyester whereas our couch and chair are velour—a completely different species. Velour is soft and velvety but when painted, it becomes a giant sponge that sucks in every bit of paint you throw at it. Not to mention, our set had all sorts of fancy nooks and crannies that we had to get into really well to cover, which took forever!
The first half of forever…
So what we thought would take two days and two coats of paint turned into 4 days/nights of painting and repainting this beast of a couch (it’s 8 feet long!) and chair in order to have it ready for the Maker Faire. We’ve actually now nicknamed them “Hind” and “Sight” and I’m sure you can figure out why! And I want to give major props to Jenn who literally adopted “Hind/Sight” as a second child that week…What would we do without you?
So to reiterate, if the furniture you want to paint is flat and polyester, you will only need a couple coats and a couple days….if it is velour or velvet, you will need to devote your entire life for at least a week.
Once you’ve picked out your furniture, here are the supplies you will need (I stole this list off Jenn’s post…Thanks Jenn!)
- Paint – For this project, we used Behr acrylic latex interior satin: Disney Robe for the Queens (Home Depot).
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Fabric softener (optional – but I feel it helps with softening the fabric)
- Paint brush – make sure to get a few sizes in case you have to get into any nooks or crannies!
- Small sponge roller
- Fabric medium – You can purchase this at any art supplie store like Michaels. One large 946ml bottle should do you if your project only needs a couple of coats. I’m not even going to tell you how many bottles we purchased for our velour couch…let’s just say we sincerely apologize to our fellow Victorians as you probably won’t be able to find any fabric medium here until the stores get their next orders in. Sorry!
- Vacuum the furniture and then spray it with water…it needs to be damp to absorb the paint.
- Then mix the paint with the fabric medium and water as the instructions tell you and brush it onto the fabric (it will be very watery!)
- For your first coat, you really need to work it in good to ensure the fabric is taking it but not too thick or it will look icky. If your fabric is smooth a sponge roller can really help with this. If your fabric is velour then prepare to get a serious hand/wrist/arm workout. Make sure you finish up by brushing the fabric in the direction so it lies flat and smooth.
- Let it dry completely and then put on a second coat and let dry. Afterward, spray with fabric softener and water to soften the fabric. This is basically the crib notes on how to do this so I highly recommend rereading Jenn’s blog post for more details and to see how each coat looks.
You’re probably wondering why we chose this fickle French Provincial velour couch vs a simple flat polyester. Well, we actually bought this furniture set to showcase at the Amelia Street Block Party this weekend in Victoria. We’ll be celebrating Victoria’s 150th anniversary as well as the history of Amelia Street, a heritage gem nestled in the heart of downtown. This furniture set screams heritage and fits perfectly with the theme, so we just had to get it!
Unfortunately you can’t see the couch very well as we’re sitting on it. Doh!
Please feel free to come down this Saturday, say hello and meet our fabulous couch and chair set “Hind/Sight”! Maybe they’ll inspire you to repaint a chair or couch in your life that needs some new color love…unless it’s velour in which case we totally understand if you turn and run for the high hills. Tee-Hee..just kidding…love you “Hind/Sight.”