Hello beautiful friends! Today I’m back sharing how to paint fabric with chalk paint, and I have the perfect test piece! I get asked often about painting fabric with chalk paint, and so I thought I would use this pretty chair from my current spring haul to demonstrate:
I just couldn’t pass this one up for only $6.98 at the thrift store! Those deals are harder to find these days. Luckily, the store closest to our house has very limited space for furniture, so it is usually priced to sell!
I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.
To start this makeover, I gave the legs and back a good wipe down with White Lightning using a terrycloth applicator pad:
After swapping out the water for clean water, I wiped everything down again to remove any residue.
I probably should have removed the seat first, but I did that next. That made it easier to tackle the rest of the chair.
Whenever I paint rattan, I always start with a coat of spray primer first.
I went ahead and gave the whole chair a good spray just to get a quick first coat on.
Priming is not necessary when using chalk paint, other than the rattan parts. I did this part in my medium spray shelter to not only contain the spray, but also to keep it out of the rain that was threatening us at the time.
Next, I brushed on Dixie Belle’s Cotton white, using my Best Dang Brush for the rattan parts:
I love the large flat head for this purpose as well as painting baskets. You’ll want to clean the natural bristles as soon as you’re done just to make it easier to clean.
You can also use a small wire brush to clean any stubborn paint out of the bristles.
I do this with most of my brushes!
I gave everything two coats and then sanded lightly all over, except for the rattan parts, with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around an old sanding sponge.
To finish off the painted parts of this chair, I sealed with Clear Coat in satin, applying it with the blue sponge applicator which makes it so easy!
How to Paint Fabric with Chalk Paint
Time for the main event…how to paint fabric with chalk paint!
I usually opt to recover my chairs in new fabric rather than paint, but this fabric had a nice raised pattern to it that I thought might still be pretty if painted.
I started by misting the entire surface with water using my continuous fine mist spray bottle:
Then, once again using my Best Dang Brush, I painted the fabric:
This brush can hold a lot of paint and made quick work of painting this chair seat.
I chose Dixie Belle’s French Linen for this seat, and you can better see the detail that this fabric has once it’s painted.
Although it looked pretty good after just one coat it took three coats for solid coverage.
Is it hard to the touch?
Once the paint dries completely, it does feel just as you would expect painted fabric to feel.
To soften the fabric, I sealed it with Easy Peasy Spray Wax. I misted it over the enter surface and then used a cloth to spread it for solid coverage:
I let it dry and applied one more coat the same way. The end result is pretty awesome!
How does it feel?
It no longer feels like fabric, but the best way to describe it would be supple. It feels more like a soft leather.
I think this is a fantastic alternative if you like the look and feel of leather.
I also think that the fact that this particular fabric has a bit of a raised pattern really helps with the overall end result.
Here is how this pretty chair looks altogether…
The painted fabric looks pretty darn good up close!
It was such a beautiful chair to begin with with all these pretty curves…
Everything in this picture was thrifted except for the pillow and the flowers!
You can see the stool redo HERE…it is a LONG way from where it began!
Y’all know I had to pretty up the photo with a throw and all, but here’s a peek of the chair seat uncovered…
Only time will tell how this chair will wear, but it is a great alternative to reupholstering!
If you’ve got a chair cushion in need of replacing, then this post is for you:
Visit this detailed makeover HERE!
And that is another Spring Haul piece complete!
It’s almost time to go shopping again!
See any you might have missed at the links below:
Painted Dresser with Transfer
Painting the Smalls #17 (lamp, small box, horse, napkin holder, and mirror)
Side Table Makeover
Metal Bread Box Makeover
Ballerina Decoupage Paper Box
Petite Side Table Makeover
French Provincial Night Table
Repurposed Cigar Box
Antique Oak Chair Makeover
Painting the Smalls #16 (candlesticks, small box, tray)
Stenciled Mirror Makeover
Extra Post this week!
This week I will have THREE makeovers for you! I’ll be back tomorrow with my Seasonal Simplicity friends as we all share summer DIY projects.
Mine is the makeover of this poor stool I found buried in the corner of the garage of an estate sale, covered in cobwebs. It was only a dollar!
So I hope you can join me to tomorrow too! Then I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled Thursday post with something else from my spring haul!
UPDATE: See how cute this stool turned out HERE now!
See ya tomorrow!
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Janice Holt says
The chair looks awesome. I’ve never painted fabric but have seen a lot of videos where people do. It turned out beautiful.
Thank you, Janice! It really is easier than all that upholstery! XOXO
Way to go painting fabric!! I love the end result.
Thank you, Christina! XOXO
Cheryl Atkinson says
Hi Christy! I love the way painted fabric looks like leather. Did you clean the fabric? I will go back and read it again. I’m going to look for a chair now. Pinned.
Thank you, Cheryl! I did not clean the fabric as it looked like it was in nice condition to start, but you certainly could if needed. XOXO
Betty Bilnoski says
This chair makeover is beautiful!
Thank you for sharing how to paint fabric. I’ve tried it twice (with mixed results lol). I have an old set of rattan dining chairs in storage that I’ve wanted to paint but didn’t want to tackle reupholstering the seats.
Thank you, Betty! Good luck with your chairs! XOXO
Betty Bilnoski says
Christy, did you also use your Best Dang Brush to paint the wooden parts of the chair or a different brush?
Hi Betty! I used my mini angle brush which is a flat 2″ brush for the rest of the chair. 🙂 XO
Will you sell this chair..or are you concerned it might not wear well..it does look very pretty
I will…I’m not concerned. Adding a wax top coat conditioned and softened the painted surface. Thank you! XOXO
Mary Kaiser says
The chair turned out beautiful! I can’t believe how much it looks like leather now! Great job making it so beautiful now!
Thanks so much, Mary! It really does!! XOXO
I would love to know how this painted fabric chair stands up to wear and tear. I’ve never used chalk paint or wax sealant and would love to do this with my dining room chairs. I’m a little nervous about the wax leaving a slight residue on clothing or having the paint crack over time. What do you think?
Hi Lauren! The wax totally softens the painted surface and was completely absorbed, so there is no risk of it leaving a residue on clothing. I think it would be a great way to tackle dining chairs. Now I can’t speak for how it would hold up if left by a window under heat or other extreme conditions, but the worst case is that you might have to cover them instead in the future. XOXO
Oooh thanks for your answers. I, too, am hesitant about using paint on fabric – I don’t see. So thank you for your tips. Maybe one day, I’ll give it a shot.
You’re welcome! I don’t know if I’d tackle a sofa this way, but dining room chairs that don’t have much give anyway are a great candidate for paint. XOXO
Fran Blunt says
This turned out beautiful. I love the white and French Linen on the seat. You gave me the courage to paint fabric if I do.
Thank you, Fran! It did work great! XOXO
C Kunkel says
This is just splendid! Love the painted upholstery and the transformation of this little beauty, especially in your staging with other items. Great job.
Thank you so much, Cheryl! XOXO
Jackie C says
Oh my! This is one of my favorite posts (Ok, I have many!) you’ve done. I LOVE the painted seat! Beautiful! Thanks for the detailed instructions, as always!
Aww yay! Thanks so much, Jackie!! XOXO
It looks rich and classy Christy. The color combo you chose is just perfect for this chair. And it would match my bedroom perfectly!!
Thanks so much, my friend! This would be so pretty in a bedroom! XOXO
Denise - Salvaged Inspirations says
I LOVE painting fabric and this turned out GORGEOUS! XOXO
Aww thank you so much, my dear friend! It is certainly much easier than upholstery! XOXO
I love the style of that chair! Great job Christy.
Thank you so much, Char! XOXO
That is so pretty! I have to admit, the thought of painting fabric makes me nervous, but I might have to try it now. How long would you say it took that spray-on wax to completely dry on this?
Thank you, Cyndi! It’s a great alternative to new upholstery. The wax dried in just a few minutes! XOXO
Marcie Lovett says
Who’d ever think it was painted? It looks like solid damask now! Beautiful color combination, Christy.
Right?? It really does! Thank you, Marcie! XOXO
Sharon L Austin says
Oh my gosh, I love this! My old dining room chairs were very similar to this; makes me wish I’d kept them and painted it all instead of selling the set.
Thank you, Sharon! Aww I bet it was gorgeous! I have so many things that I wish I’d kept too! XOXO
Looks Nice…..but my concern would be that it would dry out in time and crinkle off. Possibly little flecks of paint would stick to someones clothes too!!! What about sitting on a waxy sealer finish? I know a lot of people have painted chairs and sofas…but they never report back.
Thanks, Addie! The wax completely absorbed in and softened the paint. It literally feels just like leather…no waxy film whatsoever. I’m not sure how a sofa would do, but for a surface like this that doesn’t have a whole lot of give anyway, it should be just fine! XOXO
Amazing transformation. Who would have thought the white would turn taupe? The professional upholstery retained its integrity. I love the Farmhouse colors! Great job Christy! 🖤🤍🖤
Thanks so much, Peggy! It was upholstered so nicely with the piping that I hated to just remove it all…this worked great! XOXO
Carroll Xavier says
That doesn’t look like the same chair…wow how the white paint brought out all the pretty! And the seat cushion looks amazing! Gorgeous transformation…I’m once again in awe of your creativity…
Aww thanks so much, Carroll! I really appreciate that! XOXO
Amazing! The fabric looks incredible painted; I’m continually amazed at how paint shows patterns we do not see, especially light colors over dark pieces. I’ve never tried painting fabric before; totally the right choice with this piece! Beautifully done, Christy!
Thank you, Mary! Right? I loved that the original pattern showed through! I might not try painting a sofa anytime soon, but I think this is a great option for something simple like dining chairs! XOXO
Rose Lefebvre says
I have read that painted fabric will feel like soft leather or suede. Now I wonder how it lasts. Keep us informed! It does look great.
Yes! I think it will do fine for this purpose as the seat cushions don’t have much give, but it really does feel like leather! Thanks, Rose! XOXO
Michele M. says
Oh, my gracious who woulda ever thought a painted fabric like that would turn out so glorious? WOW. And that mushroom color you used is another of my very favorites. I love that chair now. (I kinda really need it, have the perfect spot for it! Sure wish we lived closer!!!!)
Right? I was so happy that the pattern still showed through when painted. I wish you were closer too! XOXO
I painted the fabric seat and backs if 2 French dining room chairs around 5 years ago with Annie Sloan chalk paint and they have gotten a LOT of use! The fabric looks about the same as when I painted it. I used a medium bristle brush to brush the fabric a bit softer when it dried. I don’t think I used wax or anything else over the paint. It is certainly hard wearing.
Oh that is so good to know, Janina! Thank you for sharing! It is certainly an easier alternative to new upholstery! XOXO