Paint Fabric With Fusion Mineral Paint

Did you know that you can use Fusion Mineral Paint to paint fabric?! Many fabrics can be painted with Fusion - everything from velvet and leather to burlap, damask and more! Furniture painters, home decorators, and mixed media artists are all discovering how easy it is to use Fusion's 100% acrylic, water-based paint to enliven and transform a wide variety of upholstery fabrics, as well as to create unique fabric art and home decor projects.
Take a look at how Refinished recently took this plain burlap ottoman from drab to fab with Fusion's Casement paint and Damask stencil.
Having furniture upholstered can be shockingly expensive and doing it yourself can be labor and time intensive. Painting fabrics can often be a quicker and more cost-effective way to change the look of an upholstered piece of furniture.

Just take a look at how The Pink Bee gave this red leather chair a fresh new look with 2 coats of Fusion's Inglenook.

Red leather chair found at a clearance sale.
Transformed with two coats of Fusion Mineral Paint in Inglenook by The Pink Bee Company!
Fusion Mineral Paint is actually great for high-traffic fabrics like couches and dining room chairs because it's waterproof and stain-proof once cured (cure time takes about 21 days). And because Fusion uses natural rather than synthetic pigments, it gives you greater depth of color as well as improved durability over time when it comes to withstanding common factors like UV light.

Add Some Flair combined techniques on this elegant footstool by painting the fabric first with Fusion's Upper Canada, then stenciling on top using Fusion's Peacock stencil with a bit of Limestone.Then pairing the footstool with a rocker painted to match transforms this mismatched pair into a cozy spot to relax.

I could show you so many more examples of fabrics painted with Fusion Mineral Paint, but by now I'm sure you're wondering how you can do this yourself. It can be a little frightening at first to start painting a chair seat or sofa, but I promise that once you've completed your first fabric project you'll be ready for another one soon after. So let's get started!
Before You Begin

First, let me suggest that you start with something small and simple to get a feel for the way that paint works on fabric. Perhaps a footstool or a chair seat? Or maybe choose something that you are not deeply invested in so you won't be too anxious to enjoy the process. The first fabric piece I painted was the chair you see below.

I chose it because while the chair was in great shape, the fabric on the back was attached and the seat fabric was stained. I knew I couldn't easily remove the fabric to recover the chair, but other than being stained and out of date the fabric was actually in excellent condition. Plus I'd been wanting to try my hand at painting fabric for a while, so when I spied this chair sitting beside a dumpster on my way to work one morning I knew it was going to be my first, I mean, volunteer for painting!
The chair seat and back, as well as the top of the little table beside it are painted in Algonquin and added Fusion's Illegible French Script stencil in coal black to the table. Once painted and lightly waxed the fabric on the chair resembled the look and feel of leather. It's not at all uncomfortable to sit on and hasn't shown the least bit of wear through a year's use. (Sorry, that I don't have any before pictures. Unfortunately, I'm usually too eager to get started on a project to remember to take them. I'm going to try to get better about that in the future!)

If you do choose to begin with a piece that is near and dear to you, try do a spot test on a hidden area of your piece to make sure that you like how the paint looks and feels. Fabric will take on a different, stiffer feeling when painted, and paint won't cover up the textures in the fabric's original design.

Next, gather your materials. You'll need a your paint, a spray bottle of water, a paint brush, a drop cloth, and a few sheets of fine grit sandpaper. Many fabric painters have found that a small, natural bristle paint brush works best. Fusion sells a great small Italian-made natural bristle brush that is a perfect choice for this project, so consider purchasing one when you purchase your paint.
When purchasing the paint for your project, be sure to buy more than you normally would for the same surface area because fabric will absorb a lot of paint (like a sponge, really!), and you'll likely need to do at least two coats.

I like to use Fusion's Color Blocker for my first coat of paint, because it's only half the price of the regular Fusion paints. Don't be shocked by how much paint the fabric absorbs on the first coat! There are many factors that can affect how much paint a fabric absorbs from the fiber used to the filling underneath. The first coat of paint will be absorbed the most, but for most projects a pint of Color Blocker will be more than enough paint for your first coat. And another pint of your final color will be plenty for the next 1-2 coats.

You'll also need a couple of sheets of fine grit sandpaper and be sure to buy a drop cloth if you don't already have one because you'll definitely want one when it comes to sanding your piece at the end.

Finally, be sure to vacuum or wipe down your fabric surface well before painting to ensure that all loose dirt and dust has been removed. If you're painting a surface that seems very slick like a shiny vinyl that might not accept the paint very well, you should consider applying Fusion's Ultra Grip first, as it's designed to help Fusion paint adhere to difficult surfaces.
Color Blocker
Let's Get Started

Just before you paint your fabric, take a spray bottle and fill it with water. Lightly mist the fabric so that it is moistened all over and damp to the touch, but not soaking wet. The key to painting fabric is to use some water in your process so the paint will flow onto the fabric surface in a lighter, smoother fashion.

When you paint, you can thin your first coat of Fusion Mineral Paint or Color Blocker with water as well. There are a couple of different ways to do this. You can pour some paint into a container and add a bit of water to it. Experiment with the amount that works best for you, but a good benchmark is one part water for every four parts of paint. Another method is to fill a cup with water, and as you paint, dip your brush into the paint and then quickly dip the brush tip into the water. NOTE: If your fabric has a nap to it, you'll want to be careful to paint the nap in the direction you want it to go as the paint will stiffen and hold the nap of the fabric in the direction in which you brush it.

You may find that you need to do two or possibly three light coats to get the coverage you want. Let the paint dry completely between coats. This can take longer than usual because of the added water. Once you are satisfied with the coverage on your piece and the final coat of paint is very dry to the touch, lightly sand the painted fabric with 300 grit sandpaper to create a softer finish. This part of the process creates a lot of dust, so here's where that drop cloth comes in handy.

Finally, carefully wipe the piece down or vacuum to remove all of the dust. Fusion Mineral Paint has a matte finish that looks very nice, but if you would like to soften the fabric at bit more, use a rag and apply a thin coat of Fusion's Bees Wax and lightly buff the surface of the fabric for a perfect finished look.
Fusion Mineral Paint
More Than Just Furniture

Remember, you can use Fusion Mineral Paint to paint a variety of fabric surfaces, not just furniture! See how Jennylyn of Fusion repaints a lampshade ( )

Or how I Restore Stuff used Fusion Mineral Paint to save a pair of muddy sneakers.
There really is no end to the possibilities of what you can do with fabric and Fusion Mineral Paint, so get creative have some fun!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Deb4262546 Deb4262546 on May 16, 2016
    Is the fusion paint available at craft stores or ordered online?

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Jackie Burton Jackie Burton on Jul 16, 2017
    Fantastic, I have an old leather-ish trunk from my grandmother that is brown and the cats have scratched up. I hate to toss it so I think I will try to paint it with Casement and see if I can make it look new again.