Before my oldest was born I created the cutest little nursery. It was an underwater theme, complete with a little navy blue upholstered armchair, found for a super price at HomeGoods. It got a lot of use once he was walking. Once I had a second son who was also walking, it became a big source of fighting. I went back to get another. Unfortunately that day they only had light colored prints. I setting on a cream color with dinosaur prints, knowing I’d need to find out how to change it at some point.
Over time, the light color chair turned various shades of brown and even some red (thinking a tomato may have been enjoyed in it). I considered re-covering it with another fabric and a staple gun, but I didn’t really know how to do that well. I wondered about dyeing with fabric dye. That sent me to YouTube where I learned about painting upholstery. Once I was sold on the idea, I took a good look at both and decided both chairs were in bad shape. So I ordered some chalk paint, bought some brushes, a sanding block and a spray bottle.
My 4 year old enjoyed the project at the start. We sprayed the first chair with water till it was pretty damp then started brushing on very diluted paint. Some people tell you how to measure, like 1 part paint to 2 parts water. I dumped some paint into a plastic container and filled it with water. Turned out, it was super diluted so maybe measuring is not such a bad idea.
Next we started painting the very watery paint (colored water) onto the chair. We worked hard to get into every crevasse. We sat it outside to dry completely.
Once dry, following the advice I found online we sanded the material to keep it from getting stiff. I was afraid it would feel more like outdoor furniture than a soft chair.
Once dried, we applied another coat of paint, and another and another and another. Turns out that you don’t really need to dilute it THAT much or wet the chair THAT much for it not to feel bad. As we went on and on, the kid got bored and grabbed my iPad.
So basically, we did coat after coat and let them dry. We sanded them in between only once or twice. We used a sealer to lock the color in so it wouldn’t run off. The chairs are almost as soft as normal and look so much better.
If I had it to do over again, which I may on a regular adult armchair, I would work harder at first to get existing stains out. I didn’t do that before and you can slightly see them still. I would not dilute the paint as much and I would sand it maybe a little more thoroughly, at least on parts that get touched.