Almost daily, we get asked “Can I paint fabric with Fusion Mineral Paint?” in the Paint It Beautiful Facebook Group. Today we are giving the 101 basic tutorial on painting fabric with Fusion Mineral Paint.
Painting fabric shouldn’t be a daunting task. Rather, it is a quick, inexpensive, and easy way to change the overall look of outdated furniture to suit your style. Here are some top tips on how to achieve a perfectly flawless finish that is smooth and feels like leather, painting almost any fabric!
First off, let me tell you that I was the biggest skeptic to painting fabric. I thought it would feel awful, and to my surprise, it feels incredibly smooth and soft like leather! Since upholstery isn’t in my repertoire, I thought, what do I have to lose – let’s try painting it!
What is important to understand is that every fabric will take paint a bit differently, therefore it is important to experiment a bit to see if you will like how it will turn out. Painting a seating cushion? try the bottom side with all the steps to see how it turns out before tacking your entire couch or chair!
The most successful types of fabric to paint are
You can struggle a bit when you get to painting velour or velvet as they tend to not result in a perfect finish, however, I have also had success with these so don’t fear, give it a shot!
How do you know when to paint fabric, and when not to?
When deciding whether or not to paint fabric, you need to decide the value of your piece: would you be absolutely devastated if the finish didn’t work out to your liking? Is it an heirloom that has been in your family forever? If it is, then perhaps painting it isn’t the way to go and instead seek a professional re-upholsterer. This chair, however, was a dumpster find, I had no emotional attachment to it, so no guilt of ruining my grandmothers antique if it didn’t pan out! What also made this a great candidate as it had solid construction, no smells or obvious stains, so it was the perfect candidate for painting.
Before getting your paint out, you want to PREP
The prep for this piece was really simple. On the wood I did a quick wash down with TSP, and give a light sanding to knock down the glossy finish on the arms removing and grease. If I was concerned about wax on the wood I would have used mineral spirits. That’s it! 10 minutes to ensure perfection!
Step 1. Mix your first coat of paint with water. Ratio 1/2 Paint 1/2 Water
This helps to absorb into the fabric more, and almost dye the fabric, versus a coating sitting on the fabric. ( Skip adding water if painting on Vinyl or Leather)
Step 2. Sand
Give a light sanding with a sanding sponge to your piece, it will take down any roughness of the fabric. Sometimes when you paint fabric, little fibers tend to raise up, so you knock those back with the sanding sponge. This takes very little effort.
Step 3. Apply another coat of paint
This coat uses less water, more paint. About 1/3 Water, 2/3 Paint. ( Again skip adding water if painting vinyl or leather)
This again helps it to soak in really easily. If you think you only need 2 coats of paint and you’re getting really good coverage, you can skip watering down your second coat, and go straight to a full strength paint coat for your final layer. Apply a 3rd layer if necessary at full strength paint. Be sure to sand between each coat of paint for a super smooth finish.
Step 4. Wax it for a smooth finish!
Once you’re happy with your final coat of paint, achieving the opaqueness you desire, it’s time to wax! Even though Fusion has a built-in top coat and you don’t need to add a top coat, the wax adds a softness to the fabric and makes it feel smooth like leather. Add a thin coat and buff off the wax and you’re done! We recommend using a clear wax such as Homestead House Furniture Wax.
All of these steps go by super quickly, and while your little ones are taking a nap, or off to school, you can refinish an outdated piece with a new look for your home!