How To Paint Your Old Couch + Paint That Acts Like Faux Leather!

9 Materials
4 Days

Hi Everyone, today I want to share how I transformed my old microfiber futon. I also share my special secret paint recipe that rubberizes paint to make it feel like faux leather.

First off here's a photo of the futon before. It was donated to us by a friend and wasn't in the best condition. It looked like it was rained on and the color was faded and blotchy. We used it as patio furniture for a while. Eventually decided to give it an upgrade. Thus this DIY came to life.

I should mention I've tried every fabric paint I could put my hands on. Doing thin layers and thinning out with water. Sanding in between layers. I even tried the martha stewart fabric additive and my paint still felt hard and crusty. I really wanted a soft feel to the paint so I kept experimenting. It took more than a few attempts and I finally stumbled on this DIY fabric recipe by total accident.

The Recipe Is :

Add 3 tablepoons of fabric softener to 1/2 cup of paint and stir for about 15 seconds

If you want to double the recipe. I would read the full tutorial on my blog ( link below) because the paint does eventually rubberize and is harder to work with. I've picked up a few tricks to work around this.

YEP! That's it.

CAUTION : I should mention that different fabric softeners react differently with some paints. I would recommend using the same exact products I used. I say this because I've heard feedback from people that have tried different products and had poor results.

Here's more photos of the products used as well as paint colors -

To paint my couch I applied three coats of paint and let it dry completely before applying my vintage leather effect.

For my vintage leather effect I applied a dab of darker paint to a moist sponge and rubbed it on. This gave the faux leather depth and contrast.

Here it is complete. I've had a lot of requests for an update on how it held up. The couch was painted August 2018 and it's still holding up really well. There's no signs of cracking or peeling AT ALL! I'm super impressed with it.

Here's a close up on the vintage leather effect.

I've never tried this on faux leather so I'm not sure. You can always give your old faux leather furniture a try before painting the whole thing. An area that's not so visible maybe.

How to Protect it BETTER ??

I did not add any clear coat to my couch however I did try a bunch of swatches to see how they held up on the paint. Whatever you do DO NOT WAX the couch. For some reason wax makes the paint crack almost instantly. There are a few other options I came accross that I really loved. For more info on this and any questions, you can visit my blog for a more thorough tutorial + Video -

Here's the link

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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 109 questions
  • Paulette Newby
    Paulette Newby
    on Jan 21, 2020

    I have a faux leather set that is virtually peeling each time anyone sits on it . I just covered it with a fabric cover will this technique work if I totally peel the faux leather ?? Please help !! The furniture is still very sturdy and I’d like to keep it

    • Li
      on Jun 26, 2020

      What do you have to lose if it's peeling when utilized? Maybe do a patch test on the back or.a side that is against an end-table. I have not utilized this technique but I did paint 2 burnt orange and cream matching high-backed chairs a color created via black and navy mixed together. Paid $25 for both chairs, used them and sold the pair for $250 3 years later. I utilized DIY Paint out of California. The company owner has a YouTube tutorial on how she painted her velvet sofa. Good stuff. Awesome paint.

  • Lauriane McMurdo
    Lauriane McMurdo
    on Feb 4, 2020

    Hi there I'm writing from new Zealand. We don't have Glidden paint and just wanted some clarification

    Is this acrylic or latex paint? It looks like it is an interior paint with primer from what I can see on tin. But will need to go to local paint shop and not sure what to ask for

    Many thanks and it looks incredible kindly lauriane

  • Sharon Stay Brown
    Sharon Stay Brown
    on Oct 30, 2020

    In the blog video, it isn't clear if you add fabric softener to the dark paint for the leathering effect, or if it is just straight paint.

Join the conversation

2 of 175 comments
  • Teletechy
    on Oct 29, 2020

    I am impressed with the outcome. I have a faux leather recliner that has started to crack and peel. I wasn't sure what to do. After I read your project, I am ready to try this as a fix.

  • Mark Cox-Gomez
    Mark Cox-Gomez
    on Oct 31, 2020

    I have an ottoman that is the only piece left from two sofas and chairs. I’m going to try this!!

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