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How To: Paint Fabric

Terra George All Blog Posts How To

How to chalk paint upholstery

Today I would like to share with you how to paint upholstery using Superior Paints!

Superior Paints are very heavily pigmented and work amazing to update your upholstery!

But before we get started lets get inspired...

Rocking chair painted in Cast Black.

Chair base in Little White and upholstery in Blue Lagoon.

Chair base painted in Antique White and upholstery in Fresh Air.



Step #1:

Find your project and take a before picture! Now it's time prep your piece to paint. It could be a bench, chair, couch, pillows, lamp shades... you name it! Clean it, dust it, vacuum it, sand it, repair it, whatever it may need. 

Before photo of accent chair

Here's my project an accent chair our UBER AMAZING clients Nicole and Darren graciously donated to us!

P.S. If you're reading this we LOVE YOU GUYS!!! XXXX

TSP Furniture Cleaner

I used 15ml of TSP ECO concentrate in a half bucket of warm water.

Cleaning your furniture before painting

With the 300 Grit Brillo Pad I thoroughly scrubbed the furniture and lightly washed upholstery.

How to prep your furniture before painting

While the chair was still wet I took my Wonder Rag and wiped the surface of the chair to check for possible dirt residue that can cause "bleed through or tannin's".

Wonder rag for cleaning furniture

As you can see this chair is very dirty even after cleaning it thoroughly! Now to prevent these stains from coming through I Base Coated the chair to block them.

HOT TIP: Don't through out your Wonder Rag! Just put it in the laundry and it will be ready for you're next DIY project. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle!

Priming a chair with Superior Paint Co. Base Coat

HOT TIP: When painting your piece always start on the bottom then once dry paint the top.

Base Coating your furniture before painting

I used Painters Pyramids to elevate the chair to prevent the legs from sticking to the drop cloth for a flawless finish.

HOT TIP: Painters Pyramids can hold up to 300 lbs!

Painteres Pyrimids

Step #2:

Choose your Superior Paint Colour or colours!

Superior Paint Co. Burlap Chalk Paint

I choose our very popular Burlap as your seeing this colour used everywhere in interior design from walls, furniture, upholstery and home decor.

 Modern Masters Metiallic Paint

I also choose Modern Masters Metallic Oyster paint as the two colours pair beautifully together.

I will use Oyster just on the chair base to add a bit of glitz and glamour to this chair.

For directions on how to metallic paint your furniture click here!


Step #3:

Option #1:

Dilute your Superior paint with water.... All fabrics absorb differently make sure you test first.

Typically I dilute

Leather/pleather 1:1 parts water

Heavy/Thick fabrics 1:2-3 parts water

Thin/Finer fabrics 1:3-4 parts water

Option #2:

Spay you're project down with a water and a spray bottle not too heavy as you do not want to saturate the foam under the upholstery. When applying the paint make sure to dip your brush frequently into water as you paint to allow the pigment to flow into the fabric instead of sitting on the surface.

Step #4:

Paint the fabric making sure to work the paint into the surface.

Painting fabric with Superior Paint Co. Burlap Chalk Paint

Here's one coat of Burlap I choose option #1 and diluted with 1:1 with distilled water .. it covered completely! Once dry I lightly buffed the fabric with the 600 Grit Sanding Pad to soften the fabric and I removed the dust with a Tack Cloth.

Step #5:

Let dry and reapply a second coat if needed. No Top Coat Sealer is needed as once completely dry the paint colour will not come off in the washing machine or your clothes! However make sure if you're painting base of your project make sure to seal with Top Coat.

For detailed directions on how to Top Coat seal your project click here.

Oyster metallic painted chair base

 I taped off the fabric and mixed 6oz of Oyster Metallic and 18oz of Glaze.

Modern Masters Oyster Chair

I sealed the chair base with 3 coats of Superior Paint Co. Semi-Gloss Top Coat.

Step #6:

Enjoy and show off your masterpiece!

Chalk painted chair

Burlap chalk painted upholstery

Painting upholstery with chalk paint


- Always test first ...if the fabric feels dry or crunchy you have the option of very lightly buffing the fabric with 600 grit sanding pad once dry to soften the fabric and use a Tack Cloth to remove any dust particles OR while the paint is drying you can very lightly mist the fabric with water and vinegar (as vinegar works wonderfully as a natural fabric softener)

- Once completely dry spray with FabriGard to protect from getting soiled. 



Things You'll Need:

 Must-Have Products for painting fabric

-Your project

-Wonder Rag

-Base Coat


-300 Grit Brillo Pad

-Painters Pyramids

-Superior Paints

-Modern Masters Metallic Paint


-Drop Cloth

-Chalk Paint Brushes

-600 Grit Sanding Pad

-Painters Tape

-Top Coat Sealer




I hope I have inspired you to never pass up on a treasure with dated upholstery! With Superior Paints and specialty products the possibilities are absolutely endless!

ReNew ReUse ReLove!


Happy Painting Everyone!!!




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  • pat on

    Thanks for the inspiration and detailed instructions, supplies to use with hints. Can’t wait to try it

  • Jeannie on

    This was very, very helpful. Also the first time I’ve found that chalk paint and wax wasn’t involved. Great! I’ve never ever thought of painting cloth, until recently. Thanks.

  • V Valencia on

    Great tutorial, thank you!

  • Lynn on

    I’m going to try this , you did a great job.

  • M B Packard on

    I am really impressed, had no idea I could paint upholstery. I have 2 antique upholstered game table chairs that don’t go with anything I have, but I don’t want to get rid of them. Now there’s hope for them. No glitz because there is more carving in the wood, but new color for upholstery and frame will be wonderful.

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