How to Paint a Fabric Chair With Chalk Paint.

5 Materials
2 Hours

I will teach you how to paint a fabric chair with chalk paint. A step by step tutorial for beginners. You can go to to get the full original tutorial.

After photo of painted fabric chair.
Before photo of fabric chair.

What youll need.

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  • Annie Sloan paint in two colors. In this tutorial I used Original (white) and Paris Grey.
  • Annie Sloan clear wax.
  • Rounded Annie Sloan paint brush in small. Or a generic brush with similar bristles.
Original color. This is the small paint can.
Paris Grey, wax and paint brush I used on my project.
  • Small 2 inch wide brush for legs.
  • Spray bottle filled with water.
  • Sandpaper – 120 grit.
  • Plastic cup (or mason jar) to put the paint and water in.
  • Cloths you don’t mind getting wax and paint on.
  • Drop cloth, tarp or large garbage bags to protect your floor.

Steps to paint a fabric chair with chalk paint:

  • Step 1: Wipe down your chair with a damp cloth. I used microfiber cloths.
Wiping down chair with damp microfiber cloth.
  • Step 2: Use the paint stick to stir the paint in the can thoroughly.

  • Step 3. Mix 1/2 water to 1/2 chalk paint.

Spray with water.

  • Step 4: Using the spray bottle, spray down the entire chair with water.


  • Step 5: Dip brush into paint. Not overloading with paint and do circular strokes starting at the top of the chair.

  • Step 6: Paint the entire fabric chair with chalk paint . This includes the cushion(s) if your chair has one or two. The fabric can vary. It can absorb more or less paint.


  • Step 7: After the chair has slightly dried, apply a second coat. No need to respray the fabric with water. If your chair is a solid color it may only take two coats. If it has dark designs, like the one I’m doing, it could take up to 4 coats.

  • Step 8: Let the paint dry overnight.
Using 120 grit sandpaper to sand the fabric of chair.
  • Step 9: Open the small can of chalk paint for the legs and stir with a paint stick. I used the Original color.
It’s ok to get paint on the legs of your chair when painting the fabric. I’m not super picky about this part, it turns out great in the end.
  • Step 10: Lay chair on its side.

Paint the legs.

  • Step 11: Paint the legs with 2-3 coats of paint. Letting it dry fully between coats. It can take only 20-30 minutes to be dry enough to apply the extra layers of paint, if your impatient like me.

  • Step 12: Take chair and cushions (if this applies) outside or in an open area and lightly sand down the entire chair using very light strokes. The more smooth your sandpaper the better.

  • Step 13: For a rustic or vintage look, sand the legs along the corners and edges to reveal the wood underneath, as seen in the photo of this chair.

Step 14: Take chair back inside.


Step 15: Open the can of clear wax.

Step 16: Put a clean soft cloth into the wax and grab a good silver dollar size amount with the cloth. Apply the wax starting at the top doing a round circular motion to rub it into the fabric.

Applying the wax to the fabric, the legs and all sides of the cushions. Don’t over apply. There should be no globs of wax. Only a smooth layer rubbed into the fabric.

Final steps.

  • Step 17:

Take a separate clean cloth and rub any overage of wax by doing a good wipe down from top to bottom.

  • Step 18:

Let the chair dry thoroughly.

  • Step 19:

To make sure the chair is ready to sit on, take a damp cloth and do a final wipe down. You are now done.

Tips and information below.

First tip is how to find the right chair to paint. You need to look for smooth fabric. The fabric can have some texture. Ideally it needs to be close knit. In the first photo below I painted an antique chair and ottoman. I used the same colors as in this tutorial.

Antique French chair and ottoman. Painted with same colors, Paris Grey and Original.

In this photo I painted an antique settee. I used the Annie Sloan chalk paint in the color graphite for the fabric. For the legs I used the Original color of chalk paint.

Antique settee painted in the color Graphite and Original.

Second tip is to give yourself two days to do this project. One for painting and one for sanding and waxing.

Final tip. An interesting part about using Annie Sloan chalk paint is you don’t have to sand down the wood first.

Information about Annie Sloan paint.

Follow this link to find the store nearest you. To find an online store, follow this link.

Thank you for coming by.

Hopefully, this taught you that you can create beautiful masterpieces from ugly old furniture that would most likely get thrown away. Now you can take this tool and paint most anything.

Furniture and pieces you can paint.

The list is endless of things you can paint with chalk paint. Some ideas are as follows:

  • Couches
  • Loveseats
  • Footstools
  • Wall shelving
  • Wood tables
  • End tables
  • Consoles
  • Cabinets
  • Armoires
  • Fireplaces
  • Frames ( here is a tutorial)
  • Or any wood surfaces.

Where to find affordable, beautiful pieces of furniture.

You can find furniture on these apps:

  • Letgo
  • Facebook Marketplace

You can find furniture at:

  • Second hand stores
  • Goodwill
  • Value Village
  • Antique stores

The possibilities of treasures found at Goodwill, second-hand and antique stores are now endless. Do you like the structure of a piece of furniture? Dislike the fabric? Give it your personal touch and paint it. Now, you have something custom for your home.

Look around your home for anything that needs an update. This won’t cost you anything. Now, that’s a win!

Check out my other tutorial using chalk paint. Here I will share how to makeover Goodwill frames.

Comment below.

If you like this tutorial, please comment down below. I’d love to hear from you.

Resources for this project:
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Esther I Lewis
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 23 questions
  • Jay Jay on Aug 10, 2022

    what about antique chairs with nail heads ?

  • JenniferJ JenniferJ on Aug 01, 2023

    I always thought that you need to add fabric softener or a fabric medium to make it pliable. I noticed that you didn’t use anything except chalk paint. So with chalk paint, you don’t need anything else?

  • Jan hanes Jan hanes on Oct 05, 2023

    I have a Queen Anne chair, about this same size.....UGLY oranmge deep yellow flowers on a light beige background.......I am about to move, the second chair was under a water drip in a friends garage, so it is gone........So I plan on getting chalk paint for this.....I have not looked at our local ACE to see if your line is there, etc.....small town.......But I want to match my other the greens....deep sage green, lighter sage, some golden yellow and deep reddish flowers Duncan phyfe and sette actually MATCH with these colors! And I have a deep sage green and lighter deep green I wanna have the Queen Anne match - sort of!!! I do art work on furniture pieces (stonesthrow art, Facebook) BUT this will be my FIRST painting upholstery ...SUGGESTIONS??? And do you have a site? I got you off the DIY in my email! THANK YOU!! ~jan

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