Asked on Oct 05, 2013

Painting Fabric: Which lasts longer ASCP or Acrylic+fabric medium?

Jeanine Wester
by Jeanine Wester
I want to paint an old pair of wingback style chairs. The fabric is in excellent condition. The body of the chair is a satin like material and the cushion is velvet. I know you can use chalk paint and wax it OR use acrylic (like Martha Stewart paints) with a fabric medium to help it stick. But which is more durable? Would love to hear advice from those who have tried either or both!! I have a kid so it's going to get a beating. Thanks in advance!
  25 answers
  • Marsha Marsha on Oct 07, 2013
    I have not painted soft furniture with it but I will tell you this… the people who sell the very expensive Annie Sloan paint will tell you it’s the only thing that works and how wonderful it is. At $38 a “quart” it should be. I make my own. Don’t forget that option, there are lots of how-to on the internet. That also expands your color choice to say... anything!! A tip to that is, make sure you put the powder in hot water to dissolve before putting it in the paint and seal left overs tight. I’m an artist and will tell you that we are only as good as our brush. Cheap doesn’t work in that department. The brush you show in the picture is absolutely worth it, unless of course it’s a one-time project for you. My brush was around $40(yikes) but I love it. I think the lasting durability will be the waxing process. Periodically re-wax it, so I would think.
  • Jeannette Raynes Jeannette Raynes on Oct 07, 2013
    Perhaps you could look for online reviews for the paints you're considering - then you'd get a broader range of opinions.
  • Porta Verde Studio Porta Verde Studio on Oct 07, 2013
    I know from experience that fabric medium will make the fabric softer. Make sure you use latex rather than acrylic paint.
  • Gwen Gwen on Oct 07, 2013
    the ASCP is pricey but a little goes a very long way. In nearby cities they offer classes and show pieces that are painted for you to test. The paint works well, but if wearing does start, that part can be reprinted! Look at how many of those little tubes of paint you'd need to cover furniture and no one at the craft store to have an example nor experience. Even the ASCP website would offer advice if you do not have a supplier nearby. But my sister was so impressed with the stores demo and sample products at a store last weekend, she's ready to tackle her family room furniture to save money and get a leathery textured look!
  • Jerre Haag Jerre Haag on Oct 07, 2013
    I'm confused, you said you were wanting to paint the chair....however most of your replies are for the fabric on the chair, that you said was fine. The chalk paint with the wax is a painting treatment for the wood. Not to paint the fabric with. As far as painting the fabric, I've used regular acrylic paints to paint over stains, it worked fine. I didn't feel the medium was needed, just an old chair with a few stains that wouldn't wash out. Ever get acrylic paint wiped up on a rag to wash out? I haven't. It wasn't applied heavy, and have had no problem with it cracking on the cushion. Good Luck!
    • Adela Adela on Jul 17, 2014
      @Jerre Haag AS chalk paint & wax is not only for wood. It is used for everything including fabric! I've used it on wood, metal, fabric, pottery, glass... I could keep on going! LOL! I think the wax is going to help her to make it last long! I've heard Cece paints are good for this too.
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    @Marsha Schwarz I am all about good brushes!! Good tip. I've been considering buying a nicer one. I've been using Wooster but it's just not as soft as I think it should be. And yes, $38 a quart makes me cringe lol! I do buy it every once in a while. Thank God it goes a long way. @Gwen I do think it would be a lot to buy all of those tubes. I'll do it if it'll last longer than ASCP, but I'm leaning towards the chalk paint just because I won't have to mix anything. I've done it before and it was kind of a pain too!
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    @Jerre Haag I am talking about painting fabric, hence my post title, sorry if it was not clear. I know chalk paint is for furniture along with many other things, but most will tell you it can also (surprisingly) be used on fabric with a lot of success. I am just trying to find out if it will stand the test of time. The fabric on the chair is in good condition, but it is a terrible color lol. And you can't paint over fabric that has tears in it so I just wanted to specify that the fabric was good enough to go over with no repairs needing to be done first.
  • Darlene Darlene on Oct 07, 2013
    I have never tried the either but the Annie Sloan dealer near my home has a vintage velvet chair she is painting. I had read about painting fabric with AS but was doubtful that I would like the look or feel. I was shocked at how how great the velvet looked...and at how much softer it was than I had expected. She hadn't waxed it yet so I am not sure how that looks but I'm ready to tackle a velvet chair that I have. The lady at the shop (not the owner/dealer) said she thought that the owner had said she might thin the chalk paint at bit the next time. I may start by thinning mine a bit to see if that helps keep the fabric softer but I'd love to hear how yours turns out.
  • Tegma Tegma on Oct 07, 2013
    I'd really like to see a fabric painted chair, as I've seen pictures where you could tell the paint wore off.... on people's clothing, possibly????... I don't know. I do know that paint of any kind almost always makes fabric stiff. I cannot believe that painting a chair with any kind of paint works well. If anyone has any photo proof to the contrary, with months of use, I'd sure like to see it! I do not personally feel this is the way to go. Why not just re-upholster the chair, or if that is beyond you, perhaps buy a slip cover, or even make one? Slipcovers are simple to make and with a toddler, they can be taken off and washed.
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    @Darlene that is helpful to know! the cushions of this chair are velvet so maybe that would work out okay. I think I will thin it because I don't want it to get too gloppy. I could always go over it with another coat too if it didn't look good thinned out.
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    @tegma I too was worried about the fabric being stiff and if it cracks over time. People on this site have done painted fabric chairs, but I haven't heard whether it is durable or not, thus the point of my post. But so far, I'm not sure anyone has seen one that is a couple months old. I, however, absolutely cannot afford to reupholster these chairs. They are very intricately done, with about a dozen seams on the backrest part and with buttons as well. I don't even want to know what that would cost lol. As for a slipcover, I've never really liked them and I think it would cover up the beautiful shape of the chairs and the nice wooden legs and arms.
  • Frankie Laney Frankie Laney on Oct 07, 2013
    @Jeanine Wester looks like you get to be the guinea pig. I would be very interested in how your chairs turn out. Good luck and share photos.
    • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
      @Frankie Laney I'll gladly do it! haha I will definitely post these chairs' before and after shots soon. Just have to decide color now... yikes.
  • The Shabby Nest The Shabby Nest on Oct 07, 2013
    I have not personally yet but am dying to! Here is a great blog to check out that did use chalk paint to paint upholstery! It is inspiring! Good luck!
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    Oo thank you @The Shabby Nest I appreciate any resources! I am going to take a look now.
  • Jeanine Wester Jeanine Wester on Oct 07, 2013
    Just read it. Those looks stunning and she said they have held up for over a year now with no cracking... I think I'm sold... lol!
    • Adela Adela on Jul 17, 2014
      @Jeanine Wester Nothing like jumping in head 1st! LOL! I wish I still had my chairs! I had them for 2 years w/ 3 kids (1 boy teen & 2 little ones!) Lots of art projects, playdates & messy teen baseball players & they went to their new family looking great! As for some pics where the paint looks fadded, could it be that those were purposely made to look that way? sort of shabby chic or other peeling look (word is @ tip of my tongue!) Can't wait to see what your chairs look like after their makeover!!
  • The Shabby Nest The Shabby Nest on Oct 07, 2013
    Great can't wait to see pics! I have a rounded cane back I will be trying it on!
  • Tegma Tegma on Oct 07, 2013
    They sound exactly like my wing back chairs, which I've re-upholstered about 4 different times over some 25 years. LOL I'm 72 and I do all my own work on them, but I understand, not everyone can do that, and to have it done professionaly, is very expensive. I, too, am not a lover of slipcovers, not bought at least, but those made to fit your own chairs are often used in home deco magazines, and they are wonderful! My chairs are Queen Anne style, and I'm getting ready to redo them once again, just for a change of color, no other reason. I've seen photos on Pinterest of painted chairs, and that wouldn't be the route for me. You could see in most, after a little use, that they have faded and look like the paint may have come off on people's clothing or legs. Plus, I'll take bets they chairs are scratchy due to stiffness. Any chance there's a high school or Jr. college in your area which offers evening classes in upholstering? Let me tell you that a wing chair is one of the easiest types of chairs to re-upholster. I've never taken classes myself.... just at a young age when my two children were little, I wanted to redo a love seat for their playroom, and couldn't afford the prof. prices. So, I just started ripping it apart, and used the fabric as a pattern to cut the new pieces. Since then, I have been doing that kind of work not only for myself, but for friends and family. I have one such chair which sounds exactly like yours with the pleated back and buttons. That is nothing but folded fabric, to make the pleats.... and the buttons are a breeze. You just pull them tightly and tie in the back, under the backing. If you'd like to try it, perhaps you could find an old chair at a garage sale or thrift store to play with until you obuild your confidence. You could buy some cheap fabric at a thrift storer use painters throws just to practice with. My pleated chair in the Queen Anne style was bought for $3 many years ago. When I upholstered it the first time for a new house I'd just built, I had repeated offers to buy the chair. I also have two other wing back chairs which are the ones I want to redo now. All you need is a good staple gun, some upholstery tacks, perhaps some trim for the edging, and a knowledge of being able to cut a pattern on your fabric, which will be from the pieces you take off. Does your chair have a separate cushion for the seat? If not, that makes it even simpler. You should give it a try. I'll bet you can do it! There are a lot of instructions on pinterest. And if I can answer any questions for you, I'd be glad to. Good luck with it! If no one is ever going to sit on those chairs, I'd say the paint is okay, but otherwise, my feeling is to stay away from that avenue of pursuit.
  • Tegma Tegma on Oct 07, 2013
    Is the fabric soiled, or it is the wrong color for your room? If it's just soiled, you can get upholstery cleaner in a spray can, very cheaply....Even carpet cleaner works. You just spray it on, and wipe with a soft cloth. Cleaning it & draping a throw over it, might be all you need to make it work for your room. Would love to see a picture of the chair.
  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on Oct 08, 2013
    The only paint I know for fabric is designed for just that..Its fabric paint and it doesnt get stiff or crack..They use it to paint on clothes and purses..
  • Beth Beth on Jun 13, 2014
    Would you consider a dyeing process?
  • Janet Mcranie Janet Mcranie on Oct 27, 2014
    Hi folks. I painted a thrift store occasional chair that my daughter is barrel shaped with woven (similar to a rattan) arms and wooden legs, a velvet back and velvet seat. I used Annie Sloan paint and followed the instructions on their web site. It turned out great. The back and seat (cloth) I painted a dark grey (over a rusty gold) while the rest of the chair I painted old white (over dark wood). I did not wax the material as it is velvet and has a nap to it. It is not used often but thus far none of the paint has transferred to anyone's clothing. She loves it!
  • Bridget Kik Bridget Kik on Feb 03, 2015
    I so want to try this...I am not sure if we get the fabric medium here in the UK but if not will order it from the USA - I am just thinking how I will break the news to my husband that I am painting his tatty old there anything chalk paint wont do ??
  • Jeani Miller Miner Jeani Miller Miner on Jul 02, 2015
    ASCP is the way to go. I just did a chair a few days ago, today i'll be waxing it. The color is gorgeous (English Yellow with some old white a dot of Emperor's Silk and a kiss of Cocoa) for a lemony brown color that perfectly matches the lemons in my PB throw pillows. Even without waxing the fabric feels pretty soft. I expect that short nap fabrics are easier to do than velvets or chenilles. next up I'd doing a woven fabric pair of wing backs - hoping that the finished product will look tone on tone as the raised motif will still be more or less visible
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Oct 16, 2015
    Does anyone have something to say about 1. the use of (how much?) fabric medium on which types of upholstery, and 2. how you decide how much to dilute your chalk paint?
  • Cindra1005 Cindra1005 on Mar 08, 2016
    I've used latex and fabric medium on a velvet chair was happy with the outcome. ASCP is so expensive, I needed a cheaper alternative here is final product
    • See 1 previous
    • Cindra1005 Cindra1005 on Jun 28, 2016
      Yes, I did spray the chair with water especially the first coat. I thinned the paint with fabric medium. So 2nd and 3rd coats I didn't apply water. I used a sanding block between dried coats and waxed with clear wax at end.