Friday, July 6, 2012

Rock and Roll

As soon as I had decided on a reading/rocking nook of fantastic-ness, I knew that a key ingredient to the formula was a rocking chair. Ideally I wanted an arm chair that rocked, for an extra oomph of comfiness. I scoured Craigslist for awhile, hoping to find something at the $20 price point. Eventually I found a gliding rocking chair with cushions on the back, seat, and arm rest... and it was $20!

It was also a weird gray/tan/brown color. No me likey.

My seamstress skills rank in the negatives on a scale of 1-10, and having no sewing machine, the idea of a hand sewn slipcover or re-upholstery job was much too daunting and frankly unrealistic.

Thank you Pinterest!!! I discovered you can paint upholstery!  I found this awesome example of it at Hyphen Interiors:

Kristy at Hyphen Interiors used latex paint and acrylic paint, but the kicker was that both were mixed with something called "Fabric Medium", a product that would prevent the fabric from getting too hard and crunchy.

Now, I live in a small town, an hour away from any 'big city'. Getting me to leave the house is a big undertaking, so leaving town to collect supplies was out of the question. When it comes to crafting, I have three options: Wal-Mart, The Dollar Tree, and thrift stores.

Guess what?

My small town retailers let me down. Fabric Medium was a no go.

But I decided to take a chance. I'd just use acrylic paint all the way, and with a little wear and tear, I'd make that sucker soft!

So I went to Wal-Mart and optimistically only bought two bottles of pink acrylic paint. I spread an old sheet on the living room floor, laid the cushions on top, squirted the paint into a paint tray and used a spray bottle of water to give the cushions a good and damp feel as the tutorial at Hyphen Interiors advised.

Then with the aid of some super cheap foam brushes, I started dabbing pink onto the cushions. I think those original two bottles of paint lasted a cushion and a half... front side only. I went back to Wal-Mart to discover that I had bought the only two bottles of "Pure Pink", so I had to switch my color scheme slightly to Fuscia. I grabbed all 6 bottles of this color and went to check out. There I found out that this Fuscia had been discontinued so I got it for .50 less a bottle, score!

So I finished the first layer of paint on all the cushions, and took a picture:

Not too bad. I know I said I used foam brushes, but I should mention I did use a small roller to cover large portions at a time, and then followed everything up with the foam brushes. I dabbed this way, then that way, sideways and back, finishing the last strokes with the grain of the fabric.

I let it dry for forever, and in the mean time I primed the rocker frame with Killz Primer and then spray painted it with Krylon White:

The first layer of paint on the cushions took about four hours to dry. Once it was dry to the touch, I flipped it over and put the first layer of paint on the backsides of the cushions, once again wetting the cushions pretty thoroughly with my spray bottle of water before painting. Then I went to bed.

The next morning I put the second layer on the front, let it dry, and then did another layer of paint on the backside. I put it on pretty thick. I probably could have painted three thinner layers instead of putting on such a thick second coat but I had been doing this on my days off and wanted to get it done in two days. Once it was dry to touch, I couldn't help myself. I put it the cushions on the rocking chair to see how it looked.

I'm glad I was forced to switch to fuscia, it's more spunky than a paler pink and plays well off the bright blue chevrons.

It's certainly not soft. But considering the original condition of the cushions, there really isn't much difference in the texture. We've all seen/sat in a rocking chair like this I'm sure, and the particular fabric isn't something you can sink into. But it's not uncomfortable or irritating and it looks awesome which makes up for a lot to me. 


  1. Wow, I love it! Love the fuschia. I want to see that space now as that chevron is amazing!

  2. I just put this up on my Chairs page where there are lots of examples of painted upholstery.

  3. do you spray fabric fabric before you put paint on