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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Amazing Adventures in Upholstery Painting.

You know when you just feel something in your gut and no matter how many tortilla chips and black bean/corn salsa you eat, you just can't get rid of it?

That's how it was when I started thinking about painting an upholstered chair. I've done small pieces before, and was quite smitten with the results. But wanting to do an entire chair, with wood legs and trim was the carrot dangling in front of me. Actually, it was more the challenge of how to paint the upholstery AND paint the wood in a contrasting color and do it so that it the transition between wood and upholstery made sense and didn't look, well, painted.

I researched. I read. I pondered and percolated. And then I found a chair.


I think I paid about $10 for it. The springs and upholstery were pretty spectacular...meaning, no sags, no tears, no snags, intact. There were a few stains. No big deal.
Day 1:  After removing all the braid trim and brass tacks,  I gave it a good vacuuming and cleaning.


The first layer of diluted chalk paint was brushed on... dampening the upholstery first so that the paint would absorb, but not too much. This does not look very pretty. I said goodnight to the chair and let it dry for 24 hours.


Day 2:  A second layer of paint was applied. This was a chalk paint special blend color that I created. Again, I dampened the upholstery just  touch so that the paint would glide on. Dip the brush ends in water, dip the brush in paint and apply, repeat. It's hard to give more specific details as to "how much" because I'm such an intuitive painter and finisher. Just enough water and paint to feel right to me....not too wet.
At this point, I also slapped some of the paint on the wood, because I knew I wanted some cohesion between the upholstery and the wood trim with the final result. Meaning...some layers of paint color from the chair would be revealed in the painted wood. I said goodnight to my chair and let it dry for 24 hours.


Day 3:  The final color...deepened the original mix and applied over the upholstery. I used the same technique as above...dampen the upholstery and wet the paint. I said goodnight to my chair and let it dry for 24 hours.


Day 4: A final coat of paint to the upholstery and  painting the wood trim and legs.  After the paint had dried on the wood, I aged it with a sanding block. This is when I started to get really, really excited. There were little crackles showing in the finish! Be still my heart! Goodnight chair. See you tomorrow.
Day 5:  A good waxing to seal the entire chair. Yup, it feels like leather.  I also applied a dark wax mix to some areas to reinforce the aging. This chair is now shining and fabulous and waxed and beautiful.


Absolutely gorgeous.

See that pretty braid trim? See the layers of paint?


Loving this result. 



I think I need more painted upholstery chairs in my shop. No, I KNOW I need more painted upholstery chairs in my shop! 

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