Hi, Liz here. Did you know you can paint upholstery?!
Not all paint is meant for this, but so many have great results painting upholstery using Fusion Mineral Paints, I had to give it a try.
We know how well Fusion Mineral Paint is for furniture, right?! But what some don’t know is that it can be used for upholstery too! I’ve had clients paint leather, vinyl even velvet with Fusion Mineral Paint and have great success stories with it. Here’s what I’ve learned through the process…
The number 1 question is how does it feel when it’s all done… I’ll get to that at the end of this post. Before that though, let’s chat about what type of upholstery is best to paint. Highly textured upholstery, like chenille and velvets might not be ideal for painting, though some people have painted velvets sucessfully… I’d recommend testing first. Vinyl can be painted, but first I’d use Ultra Grip to be sure the paint adhered well. Also, with vinyl, sometimes it can get tacky after painted. That seems to be alleviated with a top coat of Fusion Tough Coat, but again, testing an inconspicuous spot is recommended.
This kid’s rocking chair is upholstered with a printed cotton. It was clean, but had water stains on it that didn’t look very nice, so I figured this would be the perfect thing to try it on… it was painting or reupholstering, which is so expensive! To try painting first was a no brainer.
First, just like all the wood pieces I paint, I cleaned the chair. In this case, it was mostly just vacuuming the upholstery. I did clean and lightly scuff sand the runners, (the only exposed wood part of the chair).
Next, I prepared my paint. For the first coat, to make the paint really soak into the fabric, I mixed 50/50 water and paint. I used Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Plaster’ for this chair. It’s a very warm yellowy cream color, that on this finished chair definitely reads as yellow.
To ensure that the paint soaks into the fabric, I misted the fabric to get it very damp to allow that watery paint mix to completely saturate the fabric, like a dye would.
Using my round Staalmeester brush for the main parts.
See how the paint soaked in on that first coat?
Before applying the 2nd coat of paint, I made sure the chair was totally dry. If it were humid out, I’d definitely have a fan on it, to shorten that drying time. Here, during the heating season, the humidity is low so the chair dried in about 4-6 hours.
You can see after the 2nd coat was dry, it was almost full coverage! One more coat to go.
I thinned down the 2nd coat of paint too, but not as much as the first coat. The 2nd coat was thinned to about 2 parts paint to 1 part water. I did not mist the chair for the 2nd coat either.
After each coat of paint was dry, I sanded the chair with the fine side of the medium/fine sanding block. The paint raised the nap of the fabric and there were dried hardened little pokey bits the sanding immediately resolved.
Time for some design!
I had a cute transfer picked out to use on this chair, but for the inside part, where the kids will be sitting, I didn’t think it’d be ideal to have too many transfers…. But I didn’t want that part plain either.
Clearly Aligned Stamps were the answer! The brayer works great to evenly roll Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Ash’ on the stamp.
This stamp set is called ‘Bold Branches’. The stamp set these branch and flower clumps along with several options of vining branches. It’s really a fun set with many variations.
While the Ash was out, I went ahead and painted the wood runners with Ash too.
For the stamping, I just kind of went at it, spacing the stamps out, somewhat filling the inside areas.
The stamped design on the paint alone is cute, right?! But for this kid’s chair, I wanted more color and a little bit of a magical look for my little granddaughters to be thrilled with.
Spring Awakenings is the transfer that has that bit of magicalness… pretty colors with a bit of a whimsy.
For this chair I used 2 of the small transfer sets. After cutting each design separating from the others, I laid them out, trying to balance some of the flowers, branches and animals.
I prefer to use the transfer tool to rub the transfer on. It’s so smooth and if it goes over the edge of the plastic face as I’m rubbing, it won’t mar the paint like a wood tool could.
After the transfer was rubbed on with the tool, I went over it with my finger, making sure no air bubbles were under the transfer, and that all the edges were down. Finally, I used the polishing pad to get every bit of the edges down flat, removing most of that visible halo.
For protection over the transfers, I used Fusion Decoupage and Transfer Gel. It was between that and Fusion Tough Coat… but I decided that the transfer gel is maybe just a bit more flexible, (no scientific evidence of that, just seemed to me it might be? LOL) It is recommended that you topcoat the transfers with a water based top coat, so either would be great.
Since I was planning to wax the entire chair, I wanted to be sure no wax could get under the transfers and loosen the edges, so I applied that transfer gel well beyond the edges of the transfer.
After the gel was totally dry, I waxed the entire chair with Fusion clear furniture wax.
To do this, using a waxing brush, I worked the wax into the surface, liberally applying a coat of wax over a section. Then I went back over it with a lint free cloth and rubbed and buffed the wax. I knew it was buffed enough when the surface felt slippery. If it felt tacky still, I buffed the wax a little more.
To paint this entire chair, (3 coats in FMP ‘Plaster’) it took about 1/2-3/4 of the pint of paint.
It looks so sweet for the little girls now!
Even in person, it’s very difficult to tell that it’s actually painted fabric!
So, how does it feel?!
It feels like a stiffer leather. It’s maybe not going to be ideal for an adult chair that you want to feel super soft and cozy in, but definitely ideal for a project like this, an occasional chair or dining room chair seats would be perfect too, because Fusion Mineral Paint is so durable and washable!
Here are more posts from my DIY blog about redoing something: