I had wanted to do something with this particular chair for months and finally decided to be a little crazy and try painting the upholstery. But I didn't want to just paint it. I wanted it to become a piece of art. And I wanted it to still be comfortable to curl up in to sketch and read or whatever.
So, here's how I tackled it:
First, the upholstery had some annoying fabric pilling. You know those little balls of fabric that just look ugly. Well, I wanted to get rid of all of that and have a smooth "canvas". I grabbed some sandpaper and it was working well on "cleaning up" the fabric but was taking too long and too much effort.
So I grabbed my rotary sander.
I liked the wood the way it was, dark stain with a little distressed look to it so I left it alone.
Working a section at a time I sprayed down the upholstery on the chair evenly to make it slightly damp. This did several things for me: it made the chair smell fantastic, it softened the fabric (that was already a bit softer from being sanded), and it helped the paint colors go on smoothly and evenly.
Not a big fan of the leafy pattern showing on the fabric....thankfully the abstract painting job covered it.
The colors showed really well on the ivory colored fabric but I did use some watered down white gesso as a primer in areas where I wanted lighter paint colors to show better.
(the process took a few days to complete)
*Repeat these last steps as necessary.
In the end my chair is vibrant and beautiful. It smells amazing and the fabric is soft and comfortable. I absolutely love it. And it's going in my art studio.
I'm so happy I tried this and I will probably do it again at some point.
If you decide to turn an upholstered piece into a painted work of art I would love to hear about it and see the finished project.