How to Paint a Fabric Chair | Upholstered Furniture Painting Tutorial

Do you have an old chair laying around with outdated upholstery? Don't get rid of it yet; give it a fabulous new look with paint! Read on in this post to learn our tips and tricks for how to get started with fabric painting.
In this brand new video tutorial, we'll show you how to apply paint to fabric upholstery.
Watch this video to see our company co-founder, Rosanne refinishing a chair in our limited edition color, Sunday Tea!
Step 1) Shake, stir, and pour your paint
As always with painting, start by shaking your can thoroughly, then opening it up and giving it a stir. To avoid potentially contaminating your entire can of paint, pour some off into a cup for use on your project.
Step 2) Tape the edges
If you're painting just one area of your chair or there are accents that you wish to leave as is, use some painter's tape to protect them.
Step 3) Spray with water
Before applying your paint, spray down the entire fabric surface with water. It doesn't need to be soaking wet, just damp. This will help the paint spread more smoothly and help to avoid that crunchy feeling once it dries.
Step 4) Apply your first coat
Before the water dries, begin applying your first coat of paint. Keep in mind that the tighter the weave, the less paint the will soak into the fabric. If you find that the paint is drying too stiff for your liking, there are fabric mediums on the market which you can mix in with the paint to help soften the feel.
We would advise against trying to paint a very loose weave fabric as it will require a lot of paint to get opaque coverage.
Step 4) Add a second coat if needed
Step 4) Add a second coat if needed
As you can see in the above picture, the paint will often soak into the fabric while it dries. To achieve a more opaque look, give the first coat about 1 hour to dry, then apply a second coat.

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Luanda Flowers Stephen Luanda Flowers Stephen on Sep 25, 2017
    I have a couch (vinyl) that is peeling and I would love to paint it. Should I remove the vinyl on it then paint it or should I paint over with with a latex paint?

  • Danacol27 Danacol27 on Oct 24, 2017
    Hi Hilda, does the fabric feel the same after painting it or is it very hard like when you get paint on a rag ??

  • KLI122 KLI122 on Sep 02, 2018

    WAX on top of painted fabric??? I have a 1960s velveteen wing chair. The wings covered with caning. The fabric is 60s olive green which I’ve thought of changing to a Wedgewood blue. At first your paint idea seemed like a possibility but the more I read it seems like it could come out a real mess. Do you know how paint would work on velveteen?

    Thank you, Karen

Comments

Join the conversation

2 of 17 comments
  • Lois Lois on Sep 07, 2019

    I feel like a pro for painting fabric furniture. I love it.have painted several pieces for other people as well as myself. Do BOT be afraid to do this. It's hRd to mess up. The results are great. Just did my sofa two weeks ago. We love it.

  • Angel Mcdowell Angel Mcdowell on May 31, 2021

    Please don’t paint your fabric I been doing upholstery work for over 35 year all the paint will be is make your fabric become brittle and crack their no return after that Unless you get it reupholstered or throw it away save yourself some time and money

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