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Rustic French Arm Chair ~ Makeover

"Rustic French" Arm Chair Makeover

~ Chalk Painting Fabric ~

The bedroom remodel is coming along slowly, but surely. When I first thought of the project, or in this case, several projects, I estimated the time it would take to get it all done. I remember thinking....that won't take long! After all, I just had to find new bedding, build a headboard, and paint a few pieces of furniture, right? I allowed 2-3 weeks to complete it all. When estimating a projects time frame for completion, I often find myself forgetting that I have a household to run, bills to pay, kids to pick up and shuffle around and an antique booth to keep stocked with handmade and painted projects. So, my thought of, "this will only take a few weeks", has already come and gone, sadly. I am so ready to get things totally finished, not because of all the work, but due to the anticipation of seeing the final product. One of the projects that got added later into the mix was the makeover of this chair:

French Rustic chair before.jpg

It is an interesting chair in that it has great detail and character but the fabric on the piece was outdated and overall it never really quite seemed to fit anywhere in my house. At the time of the remodel it was upstairs in my bonus room, for lack of a better spot. I think this poor chair has literally been moved in and out of each room but the kitchen in order to find the right spot. The chair has a very special family meaning for us, as it was my hubby's Grandma's before she passed.

French Rustic before.jpg

It really needed to be reupholstered and because the cusions are zip off covers, I would need to have a little better sewing skills and honestly, patience with sewing than I currently possess. Now there are ways to get around the sewing part, but I just didn't have it in me. So, after seeing tons of chalk painted fabric projects on Pinterest, I decided it was time to give it a try! I wanted to change the stain on the wood as well as the fabric to match the new French Cottage feel of my bedroom.

Finally, this sweet chair would have a proper home!

After removing the cushions, I sanded the areas of the wood that I wanted to show some wear using 150 grit sand paper. I then painted one coat (sort of a glazing) to the wood. I used a color called Black Fox by Shermin Williams and then made it into chalk paint. It looked like this when I was done.


You can see from the back the difference from the original color.


The next step was chalk painting the fabric. I started with the seat cushion first. In previous tutorials, I read where you should spray a light mist of water using a spray bottle to soften the fabric before the first coat. Here is a look at the cushion after the first coat of paint:


Now, I will say that although most of the tutorials on chalk painting fabric seemed pretty easy, I found it to be rather tedious (insert your best British accent here). Now, the reason for this tediousness might be that I started with a velour fabric that took three coats to fully cover. Honestly, after the first and second coat, I didn't love the look.

But the third coat proved to look better and so I was mildly happy about that. Although, at that point I looked at the other un-painted back and base chair cushions with pure disdain! There was no way I was going to make it through the process of chalk painting these other two cushions in this lifetime! I decided to leave off the back cushion that hung on the back. I left it off for two reasons, one I liked the look of the wood and two, because there was no way I was willing to put in the time to paint it! LOL!

There is a base cushion underneath the seat cushion that I decided to reupholster in linen fabric to give it more interest and avoid painting. ;) It was also an easy fix. The seat and back cushions would have to be sewn, as they are zippered, but the base cushion to the chair is just like a kitchen chair, qhixh can easily be reupholstered. Here is what it looked like when done. I like the combination of different textures in the linen fabric and leather feel of the chalk painted seat cushion. It looks great in the bedroom and really helps the room feel like a cozy cottage.

French Rustic Chair makeover

French Rustic Arm Chair.jpg

French Rustic Arm Chair front.jpg

How do I feel about chalk painting fabric?

Well, I have to say it worked out in the end but half way through the project I was not a happy camper! Apparently I do not have a lot of patience, which is what this process requires. As far as the look? Well, it looks pretty good actually and I'm more concerned about the look than function at this point. I can't say if it wouldn't have worked better painting a different kind of fabric. I have honestly seen some beautiful pieces in which the fabric has been painted. I wouldn't suggest trying painting fabric, unless it is on a piece that you are not highly invested in; should it not turn out.

I think the best result is to replace the fabric, but if you want to try chalk painting your fabric, use a scrap piece to see how it will turn out first and determine how long it will take you to finish your project. It may or may not be worth it! :) In this case, I knew I could fix it if it didn't turn out and there was no loss if it didn't because I didn't like the fabric anyway. That being said, don't be afraid to try new things. It can be fun and even though I won't be chalk painting too much fabric in the future, I can always say, "I did it!"

In the next few days, I will be showing you the new addition to the Vintage Dresser Makeover I did last week. Can't wait for you to see it! It is something that will add huge character and presence to this already massive furniture and be the 'piece de resistance' to the entire room!

Until next time......don't be afraid to try something new!



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