Friday, November 6, 2015

DIY Painted Fabric Couch

This has got to be my favorite project of all time. I bought an ugly floral antique couch for $100 over 2 years ago and have been staring at the floral print wondering what to do with it. The lines and curves are stunning and the tufted back is gorgeous. I knew I wanted to keep all of that, just not the floral pattern. However, I had been at a loss of what to do. Reupholstering the couch was going to cost me an arm and a leg if I hired someone, and if I did it myself I ran the risk of destroying any expensive fabric I bought. Either way, I was going to be out a pretty penny. So I started researching ideas on Pinterest.

That is when I found people painting their chairs, seats, ottomans, and couches with Annie Sloan chalk paint. This paint is by no means cheap. In fact, I bought two quarts in Antibes green and Florence blue and a large container of clear wax and spent $111, more than I spent on the couch! But it was worth it. I spent months researching the best way to paint fabric before I was willing to jump in and take the risk of painting my own couch. Many people mentioned how stiff the fabric was afterwards and that they only used it on chairs they never sit in. Well, I was going to sit on this couch, often, and I wanted it to be comfortable.

And then I had an idea. Why not thin down the paint? Why not use the paint more as a dye than as a paint? Most of these people were just slapping straight paint on their fabric and wondering why it was so rough. I did a little more research and found some others had the same idea so I went for it.

I purchased my paint and wax (to seal the paint and give it a leathery feel) and got to work.

To achieve my amazing green color, I mixed half Antibes green and half Florence blue. To thin it, I used 1 part paint and 1 part water. So, I added one cup of water to one cup of paint. I cleaned the couch, sprayed it lightly with water from a spray bottle to prep the fabric and started painting.

I allowed the paint to dry for a couple of hours before applying another coat. Some people said to give it 24 hours to make sure the padding was dry, but after pressing down on it completely and seeing that nothing came up, I decided it was safe to add another coat. I sanded in between coats with a fine grit sanding block (220 grit) and sprayed the fabric with water again to prep it. I did this for FIVE coats. Yes, FIVE coats. It took that many to cover all the floral pattern. I only did 3 coats on the bottom of the seat cushions and the bottom of the couch itself. These were places you aren't ever going to see, so I didn't feel like taking the extra day covering them.

Once the paint had dried over night, I added a coat of wax. I just applied this with my hands. I tried doing it with a shirt, but I couldn't get a feel for the wax and the shirt kept leaving lint. I let the wax cure for several days before I buffed it. I did apply too much wax some places so it is rubbing off on my clothes, but it washes off with soap and water.

Is it crunchy? Nope! Not one bit. It feels soft and subtle like leather! If I could, I'd spend all day sitting on it.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am with it. It completely makes the room.

This is a time consuming process and you need to take your time and do it right, but it is totally worth it. So next time you find a beautiful chair or couch with an ugly print, remember, you can paint it!

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