Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Chairs One Way: Painting Upholstery

I bought these two chairs on Craigslist (shocker) for $25 each. 

I had been looking for two chairs for the bedroom to create a little sitting/lounge area. In a perfect world, these two chairs would be white leather Barcelona chairs.

But at $500 a piece, it just wasn't in the cards for me. Instead I got this brass tipped leggy duo on the cheap from a guy who was planning to reupholster them, but never got around to it. Love those legs.

You can see below why some reupholstering was in order. But since I have very limited sewing skills, (my talented mother has tried to teach me many times and it has always resulted in tears), I decided to try my hand at painting over those nasty stains. Not without trying to clean them first though. 

Well, that was a valiant attempt. Next!

Using this tutorial, which has gained immense popularity amongst us sewing-challenged folk, I gathered my ingredients and mixed up a light gray color using white and black acrylic paint and some fabric medium. The recipe is as follows: 

2 parts paint
2 parts fabric medium
1 part water

The good news is that the paint immediately covered up the questionable stains. The bad news is that my "gray" color was looking like more of a periwinkle blue. Uncool. Or I guess it would be "too cool". Still, I pressed ahead hoping it was just an illusion of having a gray next to a cream color. 

 Nope! Definitely still blue, two coats later!

Here's an up close shot so you can see how the paint works on the fabric. I was really pleased that the paint wasn't too thick and the original texture held up through two coats. 

After I finished the 2nd chair, I brought them inside to dry. Then, like your typical type-A crazy person, I decided that the gray was too dark and did two more coats of a slightly lighter mix. We're up to four coats of paint now!

It looks a lot less blue in that photo above. This is what I would've liked the color to be. Damn you, white balance, ghost of what could-have-been!

Most upholstery painting tutorials suggest lightly sanding the surface with some fine-grit (300 or higher) paper. I did this with mine and was surprised at how it took much of the stiffness out. Despite this though, I'm not totally happy with the end-game texture, which feels more like vinyl than fabric. Still, it was a really cheap way to cover up those stains and make these twins usable in our bedroom. I still love those legs though, so maybe in the future I'll work up the courage to reupholster them properly once I get over my incompetence with sewing machines. 

How about you? Seen a good pair of legs recently?

No comments:

Post a Comment