I've been asked by several customers about painting fabric with Chalk Paint®. I confess that I had not tried it just because, well, I wasn't sure I would like the look. But after seeing many fellow Stockists post photos of their painted fabric chairs, I thought I would give it a try, so here goes…
I've learned that any fabric, including leather, can be painted, although the more natural fiber there is in the fabric the better as it absorbs paint so well. Fabric with a texture or a raised pattern can be made to look very interesting indeed when painted.
I choose this nice bergère because I liked the lines of the chair but the fabric was worn and the colors not my choice. It also had a nice pattern on the fabric that I was interested in seeing how it took the paint. Here's how to get the look.
STEPS TO PAINTING FABRIC
1) First make sure that the fabric will absorb the paint - I did this by lightly misting the fabric with distilled water from a spray bottle. You want to lightly moisten the fabric - not saturate it.
2) Make sure that the paint is of a consistency that is will "flow" onto the fabric smoothly and easily and will be absorbed. I did this by adding a little distilled water to the paint. It really is trial and error as to how much to add - start with just a little and see how it flows onto the fabric. The paint needs to soak into the top of the fabric without sitting on top.
Note: I didn't bother to mask the wood on the chair - I just wiped off any spills as I went. I liked how the frame of the chair was painted already so I left it like it was. I was also careful to paint "with" the pattern of the fabric to make the strokes smooth.
3) After the first coat has dried (and it dries fast), determine if you need a second coat. I have only painted this with one coat of Old White. I will go back and fix any gaps, but, really, one coat seemed to cover the fabric just fine! The paint dried rather quickly but make sure it is completely dry if you decide to wax it.
Here's how it looks with just one coat. I may add a second, but actually like how the pattern shows up through the one coat.
4) To wax or not. Annie herself has both waxed and not. I decided not to wax mine, but if you do, then add a thin layer of Clear Soft Wax on top after the paint has dried. Annie suggests adding a tiny bit of mineral spirits to the wax to make it easier. Use a clean dry wax to remove any excess wax and then buff lightly.
That's about all there is to it! You can stop by the shop in Irvington to see the chairs.
Happy Painting! Rachel