Chalk Paint Upholstery

Alternatives to Upholstery

A couple of weeks ago we shared our first attempt at giving an ugly chair a much needed new look. It’s fair to say we had mixed feelings about the end result and wanted to try something else to salvage the chair. We racked our brains before Simon suggested Chalk Paint. We’d used it before, but only on wood and didn’t know if it would be possible to create a good finish on fabric.

A little digging uncovered a video on YouTube of Annie Sloan herself painting a chair, so with a little trepidation we decided to give it a try ourselves. We already had a tin of Old White but I had my heart set on a grey chair so we brought a tin of Charcoal – the label looks pretty dark, but the colour is definitely a dark grey, rather than black.

We began by lightly misting the chair and then worked the paint into the fabric using large bristle brushes – we didn’t use the Annie Sloan ones. Using a round brush with fairly stiff bristles allows you to really work the paint into the fabric. We only gave the chair one coat which used a quarter of a tin, and about an hour of our time. Chalk paint dries really quickly but we left the chair for 48 hours to see how it felt when dry and the result was decidedly crispy!

We brought our paint from a local stockists and at the time they had mentioned wax to soften up the fabric. I was really unsure about using wax as there’s quite a few horror stories online, but the chair wouldn’t have been soft enough to cosy up on if we didn’t – so nervously, we gave it a go. All we did was use an old rag (some of the paint did transfer) and work it into the chair using circular motions. We found that a little bit of wax went a long way! The wax does change the finish of the chair slightly, but the shininess dies down as the wax sinks in:

Chalk Paint Upholstery

We worked across the whole chair – although lazy DIYers confession here – we didn’t do the back as nobody will be sitting on it – and an hour or so later, with sore arms, it was finished!

Chalk paint upholstery

We are so, so, so pleased with the final result! I think another coat might have been needed if we hadn’t already sprayed the chair first, but although the original pattern is still visible it’s nowhere near as offensive! With the chair finished I was finally able to add some styling touches and incorporate the incredible chevron throw I got at Homesense over a month ago.

Alternatives to Upholstery

If any of you are thinking of attempting this yourself, and please let us know if you do, we took a close up of the fabric so you can see the kind of finish you end up with:

Chalk Paint Upholstery

And in case you needed a reminder/your retinas burning here’s what the chair looked like at the beginning, and some information into our first foray with fabric spray paint.

Alternatives to upholstery


  1. Lisa Holmes
    April 5, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    Love the cushion.

    • Sammi
      April 5, 2014 / 12:06 pm

      It’s pretty incredible isn’t it 🙂

  2. April 11, 2014 / 7:59 am

    That’s quite amazing! I can’t believe how fantastic it looks. Well done!

    Thanks so much for sharing your post at the Say G’Day Saturday linky party. I hope you can join in again tomorrow!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    • Sammi
      April 11, 2014 / 8:24 am

      Thanks Natasha!

  3. May 7, 2014 / 9:26 am

    I have thought about painting a chair in my bedroom but I think I am going to take a big leap and recover it myself. I really enjoyed your post about the process of painting this chair.
    Thank you so much for following me blog on bloglovin.

    • Sammi
      May 7, 2014 / 10:44 am

      Brave choice Traci but I hope it goes well!

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