I have wanted to try painting a fabric something for quite some time now. But I had never found just the right piece that I could paint (so that if I really messed it up, I could recover it myself…) So, along came this floral footstool- quite solid and sturdy, but somewhat dated with its pretty pink floral brocade fabric.
I thought, what the heck, it is worth a shot…so I grabbed my can of Annie Sloan Old White and got to work. Now, apparently there is not much of a trick to painting fabric, other than a few simple tips to ensure a good outcome. First, wipe down the fabric and make sure there are no greasy or oily spots. Then, just dampen the fabric (not wet, just damp). The brush style really doesn’t seem to matter- just make sure its big and soft and bristly (is that even a word?) so you are able to smoosh (that is definitely a word) the paint into the fabric.
It took three layers of paint to completely cover the textured fabric with an even coat of the paint. This is the fabric after one coat. Flowers still blooming!
Once I laid down the first, rather heavy, coat of paint and really worked it into the fabric, the second and third coats were simply to even out the white color. I am certain that a darker paint would only have required two coats, however. The legs, also dark in color, required three coats as well.
For the design, I decided on the French ticking stripe look that is pretty popular these days. Taping it off was a simple matter of proper measurements, and making sure to tuck the tape down securely along the edges to prevent the paint from bleeding. (Note the happy red frog in the background watching over me? My new reality…my family room is more land of flashing plastic than country living inspired these days : )
Extra tucking into the folds of the welting ensured a nice, clean edge all the way down.
For the stripes, I used a pot of Behr paint that I mixed myself- I am quite enamored with all things Fixer Upper right now, and this gray was a pretty close match to one in Joanna’s new paint collection (which, by the way, I am also dying to try. But I am waiting until her new chalk line debuts…). So I painted away, making sure that I brushed away from the tape edges, not into them to prevent bleeding under the tape.
Once I pulled the tape off to reveal the stripes, well, this is starting to look pretty sweet, right?!
There were a few areas where the edges weren’t quite clean- and me being Type A perfectionist, I went back and cleaned those up with some AS paint on a small brush.
The next step was to sand it down with some 500 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish. Apparently, with a smooth fabric, it gives the piece a silky finish. However, with a raised fabric, you need to be careful because overzealous sanding can cause the paint to be removed from those textured lines. So, I switched to a wad of super fine steel wool, and that did the trick. Woops, forgot the picture here…Sanding the legs to give it a bit of a worn appearance was all this piece needed to complete the look.
Next up, the finish. According to the Annie Sloan book(s) I have, painted fabric should be finished with a coat of wax to ensure durability. But I didn’t have any on hand, and I am not sure I liked the idea of a waxy finish on fabric that little hands were going to be touching, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do. Luckily, Amy Chalmers from Maison Décor (our local Annie Sloan aficionado) came to my rescue with some tips on finishing the fabric footstool. So, no need for wax-so I went with General Finishes Flat Out Flat Finish-my personal go-to finishing product!
It gave the stool a soft vinyl look- not shiny, but kind of glowy (I know, I am just making this stuff up now) Without the finish, the white would have turned yucky pretty quickly, of that I am certain (sticky baby fingers provide a kaleidoscope of colors and textures : ). But with two coats of FOF, this stool should stand the test of time- even in the nana-nursery- where it is currently residing by the rocking chair. Baby grandson is in the “crawling and pulling himself up on any surface” stage, so this is soft and sturdy and safe for all sorts of baby boy shenanigans.
So, there you have it. Fun with Fabric Painting 101. Would I do this on a chair? Not sure, but it would be worth a try, compared to having it slipcovered or re-upholstered, which costs more than a pretty penny (or a can of paint). I guess we will see how well it holds up in the Nana-nursery. And, now, in honor of St Patrick’s Day, a blessing for you: Happy St. Patty’s Day Friday everyone!! x0x0 Susan