Can You Paint the Fabric on a Chair?


You can spray paint or use fabric paint on any material. Almost any stain can be covered up, and often the results are a one-of-a-kind decorative effort that enhances your room. You can use paint directly from the bottle or spray from the can, or smooth it on with a disposable foam paintbrush. It is a quick project with a nice visual impact.

Spray Paint

  • Spray paint comes in aerosol cans. Shake well and use a light spray; move the can back and forth and make long sweeping motions. It is best to spray furniture outside because of the fumes, and the best results come when several layers of lightly sprayed coating are applied. Dry thoroughly between coats and avoid concentrations of color that may run or bubble.

Other Types of Paint

  • Almost any acrylic paint works with fabric. If you are painting a small design, consider bottled fabric paint with an applicator tip. Squeeze the paint onto the fabric and move the paint around with the tip. Other tubes of acrylic paint can be applied to chair fabric exactly as they would be to a painter's canvas. Use either a disposable foam paintbrush or a painter's flat shading boar or sable brush to paint your design.

Dye Pen

  • Dye pens are a good way to outline a decorative object painted on fabric. Outline all or part of the picture to enhance it. Even a sharp-pointed permanent black marking pen is a good outliner that will remain on the fabric.

What If I Make a Mistake?

  • A mistake is like a stain. Either paint over it with a larger design or try to remove it. If the paint is not yet dry, blot but don't rub the paint. Wash the spot with foam whipped up from liquid dish soap and water--about half soap and half water. Drop a dollop of foam on and sponge off. Repeat several times as necessary. Use acetone to remove any stain that is left. If all else fails, dry the material thoroughly and spray over the mistake with an aerosol spray close to the shade of the fabric before you begin again.

Transfer a Design

  • You can use an iron-on transfer intended for fabric. The marks easily wipe away if you spray water onto the lines. You can try white sewing transfer paper and a stylus to trace a design onto fabric. Use nylon net and a piece of chalk to transfer a design. First transfer the design to the net, then tape the net to the chair fabric and use a regular stick of chalk to mark over the transfer lines. Chalk will come through the nylon onto the fabric and is easy to wipe away.

Drying Time

  • If the chair is completely spray painted, it could take three to five days to dry outside because of the layers of paint used. Acrylic hand-painted fabric will take less time to dry because it is only one layer thick. It will feel dry to the touch within 30 minutes but will be soft and unstable for a couple of days. All paint should cure for three to five days before returning it to general use.

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