Vintage Chair: Tutorial On Painting Upholstery Fabric

Edit: Old blog owner, Jean, did not want me to use her image on here so I switched to another one done by an amazing blogger. Check it out. 🙂

Hey everyone! Very excited about today’s project.

Today I’m going to break down how to totally transform vintage chairs by painting the upholstery.



(Photo Credit: )

Sometimes you find the perfect chair but it’s just not going to quite fit your décor. Or maybe it has stains that you want to cover.

If you’re really in love with the pattern on your furniture, don’t worry it will stay on. It’s just paint, so your patterns are still going to show through.

Thankfully, painting upholstery isn’t too hard. And the furniture turns out stunning.


 The Prep

  • Polish the Bones: Meaning the wood, of course. You want to do any oiling or painting of the bones of the furniture before you paint the main part. Many times, vintage furniture can be a little beat up—but it’s nothing a little polish or paint can’t make fresh again. But still be careful to not spill on the fabric, as it can take several coats to cover paint and polish.
  • Supplies: 1) You’ll need about 32 oz of a fabric medium. The fabric medium is what keeps the fabric soft and comfy, not stiff. You can find this at any craft supply store, like Michaels, or you can shop on Amazon too! 2) 20 oz of acrylic paint in whichever color you desire. 3) Squirt bottle of water, paint brush (about 2 inch), a smaller paint brush to get the corners and so that you don’t paint the wood, and a towel for cleaning up.
  • Mix it up: Your solution is going to be a 1:1:1 to fabric medium, your chosen color of paint, and water for your first coat. If it’s coming out too thing, you can reduce your water for a thicker coat. You can also spray a smaller areas with water to help the pain spread easier.


Paint Your Furniture

 This part is pretty straight forward!

  • You can cover your wood with painter’s tape to make sure you don’t slip. I’m extra cautious so this is what I did. Or you can just wipe with the clean-up towel as you go.
  • Plan on giving your chair around 4 coats. Let it dry between each coat. Some fabrics will need more, some less. Depending on your fabric, you might need to sandpaper the fabric after a drying to make it smooth and textured again (like with velvet).


And there you have it. Beautiful antique, born-again chair.

Share any tips or ticks you might have with me. I love learning new things.


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