Painted Upholstered Chair

Amy Howard inspired my painted upholstered chair project. Safe to say, I wouldn’t have done it had I not viewed this photo on her Facebook page. She transformed this sofa at Lucketts Spring Market. I love the gold leaf accent band.
Amy Howard Lucketts Demo 2017

My upholstered chair languished in our climate-controlled warehouse unit — I had forgotten about it. The fabric didn’t speak to me when we bought it, but the chair was structurally sound. I especially liked its cabriole legs with detailed wood carvings and the hairy-paw feet.

I decided to replicate Amy Howard’s project by painting the fabric and wood, and highlighting the carvings with dark wax and touches of gold leaf. As the pièce de résistance, that magnificent blaze of gold.
Upholstered chair unpainted
Overall, the fabric was in excellent condition. I simply vacuumed it.The embroidered fabric would create an interesting pattern once painted. This sun-dappled closeup shows the embroidery.
Upholstery embroidery fabric painting
Screech! Stop! Fling that plan out the door.

I talked to our son, Michael, and his girlfriend Raven. Both work Avonlea Antiques and Design Gallery. They quickly quashed my gold-leaf enthusiasm. Shiny doesn’t sell well in Jacksonville, they advised. No gold leaf, not even to highlight the wood carvings. Also, stay away from colors. Stick with black or white if you want to sell this.

Unknowingly, they snatched away the sole reason I wanted this project.

Nonetheless, full speed ahead with the revised, more sedate, version of a painted upholstered chair.

Although Amy Howard inspired me, I had Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Graphite on hand.

Here’s my technique for painting fabric with ASCP:

  1. Add approximately 20% water to your paint and stir
  2. Spray water on the section you’re working on
  3. Use a rounded brush — I used one of Annie Sloan’s — to push the paint into the material. A circular motion works well. You don’t want to simply brush the paint onto the top of the fabric
  4. Apply about 2-1/2 coats
  5. Sand lightly with 320-grit sandpaper and wipe off paint dust with a damp cloth
  6. Apply a coat of Clear Wax

This photo shows me starting out. I’ve already spritzed a section of fabric and begun to paint. You can see how important it is to push the paint through the fabric and the embroidery. The pattern will remain visible — and look good.
Painted Upholstered Chair

After 2-1/2 coats of paint, light sanding, and waxing, I achieved this look shown below. Just so you know, David and I carried the chair outside because — like every afternoon — it looked cloudy with a high chance of rain. Perfect for a quick photo session. Alas, once we started taking photos, the sun came out and created weird bright and shadowy spots.

Painted upholstered chair
Back to the project. After I finished painting the fabric, I moved on to the wood. I tried Paris Grey but it failed to create the sharp contrast I sought. Not to be deterred, I repainted the wood in Old White. Much better, and the Paris Grey served as an excellent primer. I applied the paint thickly to create texture.

On went Clear Wax and I decided to test out Annie Sloan’s Black Wax. Since I couldn’t incorporate the drama of gold leaf, I wanted to highlight those beautiful carvings:
Black wax on Old White
Annie Sloan Black Wax Oldl WhiteThe hairy-paw foot is so defined and striking:

painted upholstered chair
Here’s the final product. A black-and-white-painted upholstered chair, as Michael and Raven recommended. No gold leaf band, no touches of gold. Let’s hope their advice translates into an appreciative shopper.

Painted upholstered chair graphite old white

This chair, I must say, turned out much better than the previous one I painted. That one  sustained rain damage and never fully recovered: Removing Water Stains from Painted Upholstery.

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

Ann Marie and David

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6 Comments on Painted Upholstered Chair: Graphite, Old White

  1. Lalka Crochetka
    July 28, 2017 at 9:14 pm (4 years ago)

    it is amazing work! now the chair looks fantastic and for sure will make someone happy and proud!

    • irisabbey
      July 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope it sells quickly!

  2. Michelle Leslie
    July 29, 2017 at 6:44 am (4 years ago)

    I’m sure it will sell quickly Ann Marie, it looks so elegant and classy now and those hairy paws are just gorgeous. All the details are striking after you applied the dark wax. So beautiful

    • irisabbey
      August 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm (4 years ago)

      Hi, Michelle — Well, the painted upholstered chair, hairy paws and all, is in our booth. Now we wait. I want to mention that I read about your Fairy Toadstool and found it enchanting.

  3. Brenda Young @ UniqueJunktique
    August 3, 2017 at 4:24 am (4 years ago)

    A great new look Ann Marie, and the second painted fabric chair shared this week, I may have to give this technique a try! Thanks so much for sharing your project at #fridaysfurniturefix!

    • irisabbey
      August 3, 2017 at 12:02 pm (4 years ago)

      I don’t paint many chairs, but sanding the fabric and waxing it really helps it feel like leather. Thanks, Brenda. Always fun to be part of your party.


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