How to paint fabric with chalk paint

As it’s over a year since I painted this little velour footstool with chalk paint, I thought it was about time I posted a how-to guide on it.

I’d wanted to try painting fabric for a while, so looked into it on Pinterest and YouTube  and it looked pretty easy, though I was sceptical that painted fabric would still feel soft. All the posts I’d read said it would feel like leather afterwards, so I thought I’d give it a go on this dated stool from my parents’ loft and see what happened. As my dad is a hoarder like me, he’d rather I did something with it than throw it out.

DSC_1298croppedDSC_1330 cropped

What you’ll need
Chalk paint
Clear furniture wax
Lint free cloth

DSC_1306Step 1
Give it a good vacuum to get rid of dust, don’t worry about stains as you’re going to paint it anyway.

Step 2
Give your fabric its first coat of your chosen chalk paint. I chose Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture paint in Anthracite. If there is a buttoned pattered then paint in the nooks and crannies first, finishing with the larger sections. Use a circular motion to paint the fabric in every direction.

Some guides tell you to use water on the fabric too, but after trying this on a little patch test it didn’t seem to help, it just took longer to dry so I just went with neat paint.DSC_1315DSC_1308

Step 3
Once dry it will feel rough and a bit crusty, so you need to sand it with a fine sandpaper. This was the bit I was most surprised at… once it was sanded it felt like soft fabric again! After the sanding give it a quick vacuum again to get rid of any loose paint dust.DSC_1322

The first coat will always look patchy.  The second coat covered really well so don’t worry. See the pic below for the difference between one and two coats.DSC_1324

Step 4
Leave your second coat to dry overnight just to make sure it’s completely dry, then get waxing. Again, in circular motions, massage the wax in with the lint free cloth, rub really well to buff it off at the same time. DSC_1327

Once the wax was dry it did feel slightly different to the original fabric, but the transformation was amazing. I’ve never tested water spills on it yet as we use it to store hats and gloves so I can’t guarantee its durability, but I have sat on it with no paint residue coming off on my clothes, so it’s pretty tough.

Finally, I added some mismatched bright orange buttons for a splash of colour using a glue gun.DSC_1332croppedDSC_1331

My advice for trying any new technique, try a patch test first, then maybe try it on something you’re not too precious about just in case it goes wrong. However, the beauty of upcycling is trial and error, we learn from our mistakes and sometimes the mistakes are better than the original plan. So if you’re thinking of revamping something, just give it a go, but maybe not on your granny’s antique furniture for your first time!

Disclaimer. Rust-Oleum provided the paint for this post, but they do not guarantee the durability of painting fabric with chalky finish furniture paint. It will be at your own risk if you choose to have a go.

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