Check out how to paint fabric with chalk paint with this step by step tutorial and this MCM fabric chair. It makes it feel like leather!
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I was in need of a new chair for my living room.
I found this great mid-century modern chair on Facebook Marketplace for $30.
It was in like-new condition and I couldn’t pass it up. So I quickly messaged the seller and purchased this one.
Once I got it into my space I felt it gave off that “waiting room” feeling.
I still loved the chair, but I wasn’t crazy about the color.
Reupholstery is a costly service and I didn’t feel confident enough to take on that task.
I was familiar with the process of painting fabric with chalk paint, but I had never tried it. So I figured why not paint it! Worst case scenario is that I mess it up and I’m out -$30.
How To Paint Fabric With Chalk Paint
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- Fine Mist Spray Bottle
- 220 Grit Sanding Block
- Paint Brush
- Dixie Belle’s Chalk Mineral Paint (Color: Drop Cloth)
- Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy Spray Wax
Here are the steps I took to go from a boring gray fabric to a clean classic look…
How to paint fabric with chalk paint
1. Clean Fabric
2. Mist the Surface and Begin Painting
3. Sand the Painted Fabric, Mist, Paint, and Repeat
4. Seal the Fabric
5. Enjoy your Transformed Piece
Step 1: Clean Fabric
As you can see in the picture, my fabric was pretty new and clean, but if this is not the case for you, I recommend vacuuming the fabric and spot clean.
Step 2: Mist The Surface And Begin Painting
After your fabric has been cleaned, mist the surface with a fine mist water bottle.
You do not want your surface soaked, but you also don’t want to directly paint on the dry fabric.
We are trying to recreate the process of dying the fabric, so you want your paint layers thin.
Thick layers of paint will lead to a hard fabric that will be prone to cracking.
You will want to dilute your chalk paint slightly and keep your fine mist water bottle nearby.
Once your fabric has been misted, you will want to begin applying your diluted paint.
Do one coat and allow it to fully dry.
Now this is the moment you might freak out a bit and think “Oh my gosh it’s ruined!”
WARNING it will feel scratchy and that’s okay, just move on to the next step.
Step 3: Sand the Painted Fabric, Mist, Paint, and Repeat
When you sand between each coat you are knocking down all those scratchy pieces, so by the end you should have a smooth surface.
I use a 220 grit sanding sponge for this step.
Now you will repeat Step 2 (mist surface, paint, dry & sand).
On this particular chair it took 4 coats of paint.
When you are trying to cover a darker color with a lighter color, it will take more coats than it would when covering a light color with a dark color.
Just be patient. The finished product is worth all the thin layers of paint.
Step 4: Seal the Fabric
After you have all of your coats of paint applied and you are happy with the saturation of the color, you can seal your piece.
Be sure you have thoroughly sanded prior to applying the wax.
I use Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy Spray Wax for my painted fabric.
It is the perfect product for fabric because it applies in thin layers.
And it is in liquid form unlike your typical furniture waxes.
When I seal my fabric I spray the Easy Peasy Spray Wax onto the surface and buff it into the surface with a rag until I can’t feel that waxy residue anymore.
It doesn’t take much buffing and you can apply a second coat if you feel the first layer didn’t apply evenly.
Step 5: Enjoy your Transformed Piece
I kept this chair for my own home and it gets a lot of use.
The finished texture feels a lot like leather.
It is smooth to touch and slick; not rough at all.
My kids were skeptical of the idea of painting our chair and felt the fabric in the middle of the process.
My 5-year-old was extremely upset with how scratchy it was, but once I fully completed the chair she was thrilled with how nice it felt and looked.
It now feels like it should belong in our home, rather than in a doctor’s office.
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More MCM Furniture Makeovers
- Deep Grey MCM Dresser
- Mid Century Modern Farmhouse Dresser in Olive Green
- The Best Black Furniture Paint
This makeover was created by Eryn Garcia with Breath of Life Design. Eryn has a passion for breathing life into furniture and interior spaces. She was born and raised in Texas and graduated from Texas A&M in 2016 with a degree from the College of Architecture. She lives with her husband and three kids, ages 5, 3, and 1. She is a stay-at-home mom that decided she needed a creative outlet and began refinishing furniture. Follow along to see more of her work and some behind the scenes into her life…