If You Think Painting Fabric Furniture is Easy, You Are RIGHT!

13 Materials
3 Days

Painting fabric furniture is so much fun and way easier than reupholstering… not to mention less expensive. This project started as a conversation with a local hairdresser. We both have a love for color and pretty things. What hairdresser doesn’t love color, right? Well, we immediately knew after a brief conversation that this was going to happen. We made a few plans and the hunt was on. It didn’t take her long to find the perfect sofa for the project. Read on…
What a beauty! Doesn’t this sofa just make you want to “Curl Up & Dye?” Curl up and dye, you get it? That’s the name of her business! How cute is that?! Oh, this was meant to be. This old gal will be living in a beauty salon greeting all the customers as they arrive. What a welcome! But before anyone can curl up and dye on this sofa, we gotta get her dyed up. Let’s get this color job started!
Before applying the chalk mineral paint to the fabric, there’s one thing I did that made all the difference in the finish. I dampened the fabric to allow the fibers to open before painting. This step allows the fabric to accept the paint. A spray mist bottle with water was perfect tool for the job. I just lightly misted over the fabric in small areas as I painted. This also dilutes the paint and it becomes more like a dye. Dixie Belle Paint is highly pigmented and it works well with dark colors when painting fabric furniture. Light colored paints should always be used on light colored fabrics for best coverage.
I applied the first coat of paint and allowed it to thoroughly dry. This can take overnight or longer due to the additional water that was used to dampen the fabric.  Then I lightly sanded it after it was dry with a 220 grit sandpaper. It’s important to sand between coats to keep the fabric soft. Remove any dust with a cotton cloth. 

The second coat of paint was applied in the same fashion. I lightly misted the painted furniture fabric with water before applying the second coat. The dry time for the second coat was about 24 hours. I wanted to make sure all the water had evaporated from the fabric. I lightly sanded the the second coat of paint after drying and cleaned it thoroughly with a cotton cloth.

The fabric was sealed with two coats of  Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy Spray Wax. I sprayed the first coat and allowed it to dry. After it was dried I buffed the fabric with a soft cloth. The second coat was applied the same way with the last step being buffing the wax finish. The wax finish is very light. You can apply more depending on the traffic your fabric will be getting. The feel of the fabric is now like a soft leather. NOT CRUNCHY! I love it!
The color Bunker Hill Blue was stippled on over the Mermaid Tail only on the wood parts of the sofa. I  liked the way the Mermaid Tail peeked through the base coat. It kind of looked chippy and that’s always a great look in my book. Afterwards I added gilding wax to the details to really make them stand out. I applied it with my finger tip. NO special tools needed. Quick and easy.
And those legs! They were just screaming for some Gold Leaf. Get all the details of how to apply gold leaf to your furniture in my FREE eBook.
I really love the contrast of the Teal and Navy with the gold accents. A sofa fit for a queen! The fabric now has a soft leather like feel. NOT CRUNCHY AT ALL!

I hope this has inspired you to try painting fabric furniture. So many old pieces that are “dyeing” for a makeover.

xo, Do
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 38 questions
  • Heather Medema
    on Nov 20, 2019

    Does the wax finish rub off on clothing?

  • Ashley
    on Nov 20, 2019

    Love this, but am I seriously the only one who realized immediately that the salon name came from Steel Magnolias? Truvy's shop was called "Curl up and Dye"...I don't mean to be rude, but it's one of my all time favorite movies, so it was hard not to point that out lol.

    • Candee
      on Nov 22, 2019

      I actually first saw that salon name (“Curl Up and Dye”) on a cartoon when I was a kid—long before Steel Magnolias came out. It was so unique, I never forgot it.

  • Faith Mccauley Austin
    on Nov 29, 2019

    What is the water to paint ratio?

Join the conversation

2 of 66 comments
  • JEM
    on Nov 19, 2019

    This is gorgeous! Can I also paint an area rug? or use Rit dye? Thanks

  • Pamela
    on Nov 20, 2019

    Will this fade into your clothing??It's beautiful by the way, I'm thinking of doing a chair.

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