How to Paint Upholstery

Have you ever considered painting fabric? Sounds kinda crazy right? I’ve had this foot stool that I grabbed from my Nonna’s house for a hot minute. It’s one of those pieces that has sat in my garage for so long that I had it ready to go out to the trash at least 3 times. For some reason, I never let it get to the curb! And I’m sure glad I didn’t!

I was a little bit afraid to actually paint fabric. I kept thinking, “Won’t it be crunchy?” This piece had deep stains too. Wouldn’t they show through? After a bit of research and help from my painting friends, I decided to try to paint it instead of sending it to the curb!

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Material List:

This was one of the easiest projects I’ve done! I don’t know why this was so freaky to me! The first thing that surprised me is that you really don’t have to clean the fabric or prep it like you do with furniture. If you wanted to sanitize it you could wipe it down with a Clorox wipe or spray it with lysol. 

To begin, you’ll want to dampen your fabric. You don’t want to get it too wet, just enough to open the fibers so the paint can get in. I use my spray mister and mist it until it is damp to the touch. Then I wet my paint brush and start painting it on! That’s it! Just paint it on! Let it dry over night. Remember, the more water you use, the longer it will take to dry so a little goes a long way. 

After it is dry, it’s time to sand it. Sanding the fabric helps soften up the paint. I used a medium grit sanding block. Then I added another coat of paint. I used a thinner coat on the second application. You’re just covering what was missed on the first and giving it better coverage. I misted it the same way to open up the fibers in the fabric. Then I let it dry!

The last step is to seal it! I used Easy Peasy Spray Wax. Be generous with your application. This is going to give you 2 benefits. One is to soften the paint and make it feel like suede or leather, the second is to protect your work! You don’t want that paint rubbing off onto your jeans!

Why does this method work? Well, think about it. Have you ever got paint on your clothes? It never seems to come off, right?! Dixie Belle Paint is highly pigmented so it works as a dye for your upholstered furniture! 

Here is a picture of the final look! I used Antebellum Blue, Evergreen, and Caviar mixed together. I wanted a jewel tone so I just kept tossing colors together until I got this.


Have you ever painted fabric? I would love to hear more about your adventenues! Comment below and tell me about it. Bonus pointers for pictures and other helpful tips you’re willing to share!