How to Paint Upholstery Fabric

Victoria Kirton
by Victoria Kirton
I found this beautiful settee on craigslist for $75. It has been sitting in someone barn for a very long time and the fabric needed serious cleaning. I could tell from the lightness of the frame that this was a reproduction.
Normally I would reupholster it but knowing I wanted it to be white and with two little girls and three puppies, I knew it was a bad idea. So I decided to paint the fabric and gild the frame.
There are a lot of tutorials on how to paint fabric. It actually is pretty simple. I mixed 50% of Old white with 50% of water. I sprayed the fabric first before painting it. It helped the paint spread better. It took three coats to get the look I wanted. I let it dry 24 hours between each coat. Here is what I learned. The settee has this really pretty embroidery and I realized no matter how many coats of paint I paint, it will still show through. So the smoother fabric will probably work better.
It also feels like leather. So this isn't where I would want to lie down with a good book for hours. This would be a great statement piece. Got fur babies? Keep them away. Now, I got three fur babies and every time they jump on it, I can see their nail marks. It's not that obvious but if you are OCD like me, you WILL see it.
She is a beauty.
Victoria Kirton
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  3 questions
  • VictoriaC VictoriaC on Jul 21, 2016
    Hi your name, as I share it I got my antique couch at a second hand store and dumb me decided to have it done in a dark Upholstery. Do you think light chalk paint would cover it? I am very afraid to try this and is the Upholstery stiff after you do this technique? I have to tell you a story~because I have to tell I went to our local thrift store on Mon to find a small cabinet for my craft room..I guy there had in the back of his truck the most beautiful ORNATE solid Oak Antique Bed with the high Head board and foot board, and wooden side rails..He asked me if I wanted it before he donated it..I said YES without a hesitation..He didn't have time to take it to my house, but a young man with a truck offered..He looked about 18. I live only about 5 mins away..HE reloaded the bed, brought it to my house. I tried to pay him but he wouldn't take it..Come to find out he is a Police Officer in my town and 30 yrs old..I gave him a Huge Hug and a big THANK YOU...... NOW, I have to decide if I want to chalk that bed in black or white, what would you do? thanks, Victoria (and sorry I blabbed, I am just so excited) your work is beautiful!
  • Eileen Douglas Eileen Douglas on Aug 27, 2016
    What kind of paint did you use?
  • Barb Barb on Sep 15, 2019

    Victoria, did you wax or otherwise finish it after painting?

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2 of 82 comments
  • Voula Voula on Jan 23, 2017
    Beautiful redo. LOVE IT! I have dogs and leather sofas. I also have an upholstered couch they destroyed so it has to be totally redone. when they are older kids.
  • Craftygirl Craftygirl on May 11, 2021

    Please email me step by step directions on painting fabric. I love this. Great job