How To Paint Upholstery Fabric

I gave an old IKEA chair a quick make over using House&Canvas Chalk Finish Furniture Paint! I had my daughter film me while I painted, so I can share with you just has quick and easy it is!! Keep reading for answered FAQs!

I used House&Canvas Chalk Finish Furniture Paint in “Dusty Rose” and added a top coat of House&Canvas Furniture Wax in “Clear” for durability.

Here are some FAQ’s I get when painting fabric:

Do I have to add water to my paint? NO! H&C paint is already the perfect consistency for painting fabric and upholstery. No need to add water. You’ll just end up getting drips and soaking the fabric. Just dip your brush in and start painting… just like in the video!

Why use a wax top coat? Paint that dries to an ultra matte finish (also known as a chalk finish) is super porous. When you apply the wax, the paint soaks it in what it needs, and a layer is formed on top. The wax seals the paint and adds a layer of protection.

Will the wax come off? Nope! Leave you freshly painted and waxed piece at least overnight before use. Give it time to fully cure and it dries rock hard and stays put.

Will the paint come off on my clothes? Nope! As long as it has a top coat to seal and protect the surface, everything stays put

Is the fabric soft and comfy? Take the time to do a quick sand in between coats. It really takes the stiffness out of the paint and keeps the surface super soft

Will it crack? Nope! I have a painted fabric chair that was in my store my two years. I used it as a “painted fabric demo” chair. TONS of people touched it and sat on it, and it still hasn’t cracked! Our wax is super smooth. It’s not thick and pasty like others.

There’s a pattern in my fabric, will you see it? Don’t forget that you are simply painting a surface. You’re just changing the color, not the texture. Imagine painting a popcorn ceiling… same idea.

Can I paint textured fabric like velvet? If you are painting a fabric that is made of fibers that are loose and sticking up, such as velvet or velour, it’s very important to understand that the paint will essentially be gluing down those fibers. So always apply the paint in the same direction to create a smooth surface. Picture painting a shag rug as opposed to a sisal or jute rug as an exaggerated example.

How much paint will I need? Since each project is unique, and all fabrics absorb the paint differently, send your project idea along with pictures to [email protected] so we can give you an estimate.

Have a question I didn’t answer? Shoot me an email and I’ll add it here!!

[email protected]

No time to watch the video? Here’s a step by step..

  • No prep needed. Just a quick dust
  • Apply first coat of paint
  • Allow to dry for 2-4 hours
  • Sand lighly with 150-220 grit sandpaper
  • Brush away dust
  • Apply second coat
  • Allow to dry for 2-4 hours
  • Sand lightly with 150-220 grit sandpaper
  • Brush away dust
  • Apply a coat of wax
  • Remove excess wax with lint free cloth
  • Allow to fully cure before use
Chair before and after painting

This is my daughter’s super cute IKEA office desk chair in her bedroom. I remember buying it with her a while back. I made her sit in every chair in IKEA to be sure she picked the right chair for her! She loved this one and I was pleased because it matched her decor… win win!!

Chair after painting and desk with hairpin legs

I was in her room the other day tidying up, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed how “well loved” it had gotten… I let out a small gasp!! This poor chair had taken a beating over the last few months. My daughter is an avid artist. She loves working with markers, and boy can you tell by the seat of this chair!!

Chair after painting

The seat was way past a good clean. No amount of fabric cleaner was going to bring this chair back to life. And there was no way I was going to spend money on fabric to reupholster the seat, knowing it will get ruined again in due time. So, I decided to paint it. And, let’s be honest, I like to paint everything!!

We are both super happy with how this chair turned out! Happy Painting 😉