Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY Post: Wingback Chair Redo

So, I'm sure you all remember me posting about this beauty I got for $40 at a peddler's mall a couple of months ago....

Original Chair

Originally, I was thinking I was going to attempt to reupholster this.  After talking to my mom and thinking for a while, I realized this was going to be really, reallllly hard.  With the tufting, the piping, and everything else- I figured I was going to take on way too much and spend a ton of money on fabric and then end up with a total fail of a project on my hands.  So I did some research on other methods. I realized that there is fabric spray paint but it is about $12 a can and I would have needed at least 6 cans...more than I was going to have to spend on fabric.  So I kept looking and came across this blog post on the Hyphen Interiors about painting the actual fabric of the chair with acrylic/latex paint.  

I'm not going to bore you with a total breakdown of everything I did, because the link above has every detail already mapped out for you. I will, however, let you know the things I may have done a little differently. I had some black latex paint left over from a different project, so I decided to use that up in the first and second coats.  I got the fabric medium from Jo-Ann's.  I bought Craft Smart and Martha Stewart- and honestly I would say they worked about the same.  So go with Craft Smart, because you get 2 oz. more for the same price. (A Jo-Ann's tip- download the iPhone app- you will get a 50% off coupon that reduces it from $8 to only $4 for a bottle).  I bought two bottles of that, one large bottle of black acrylic paint and a couple of cheapo paint brushes.  Don't buy nice ones because they will be destroyed by the end of this project.  I also already had a spray bottle at home, but those cost $1 pretty much anywhere. I actually did not use sandpaper- I wasn't really that worried about how it was going to feel. I probably only spent $20 total for the supplies.

I tested everything on the ottoman first- gave it a couple coats and let it dry overnight.  When I was happy with how that looked, I moved on to the chair. I mixed the paint, fabric medium and water together (all equal parts of 1/4 cup). The pictures below were taken after I had done 1 coat with the latex paint mix.  Obviously, a good amount of pink was still showing through.

After one coat

Most of the second coat was done using the latex paint still.  I ran out of that about halfway through.  Sorry the picture is pretty terrible, it was dark outside so you can't really tell that there was still a good amount of pink showing through, but it was definitely a big improvement from the first coat.

After 2 coats

After I painted the first 2 coats, the chair was a smokey gray color and honestly I didn't really mind it. sat.  For a while.  I didn't touch it again for about a month and a half.  Because it took a couple hours per coat and it was a pain to get all the materials out, I just didn't really feel like touching it for a few weeks. But FINALLY, last week I had a day off.  I decided my mission for that day was to finish.that.chair. 

The 3rd and final coat of paint was a little thicker, I used equal parts paint/fabric medium but then used less water.  I still sprayed the heck out of the chair while I was actually painting it so it was still plenty wet, but it made for a darker final coat which was exactly what I was hoping for. I let the final coat dry for a little over a day and then was able to put my awesome homemade pillows (let me know if you guys want to know details on those) on it and below is the final result.  I gotta say- I really, really love how it turned out. It's not perfect, and there were definitely some parts of the chair that I couldn't get as black as I wanted, but it's not really noticeable to anyone but me. 


Close up of my pillows :)
A few final tips:
  • Be patient, this project takes some time.
  • Reference the Hyphen Interiors tutorial if you have questions about specifics.
  • Painting the tufts is obnoxious, but don't worry about messing up your brush and you will be able to get all of those hard to reach crevices.
  • Let each coat FULLY dry before you start the next (wait at least a day in between)
  • If you aren't super worried about how the fabric is going to feel, no need to worry about sandpapering it in between coats. 
  • If you're still unhappy with the color after 3 coats, feel free to touch up with another.  I definitely have some places that I will eventually put a 4th coat on.
  • Don't get discouraged! It is a tedious project but if you do it right and are careful, I think you will be happy with the results :)
Thanks so much for reading, hopefully it inspires you to get your DIY on!


  1. Looks great, Catherine! Thanks for sharing. I will add it to the chairs page. Love the pink striped wall.

  2. This looks really great. I have a question for you. I would like to do this on a chair that I would like to use in my living room. What does the finished product feel like? Is it stiff and unpleasant to the touch?

    Do you use this chair to sit in?

    Thanks for responding! Minda

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