How to Paint Upholstery

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Painting upholstery is an inexpensive way to update a piece of furniture quickly. As of 2009, there are two methods used to paint upholstery: fabric spray paint or latex paint mixed with a textile medium. Fabric spray paint is specifically formulated for use on upholstery, but it can be expensive to use on a large piece of furniture. Latex paint mixed with a textile medium is less expensive and easier to use, but don't skip the textile medium. This additive will help the upholstery remain supple after it is painted.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Painter's tape
  • Newspaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Fabric spray paint
  • Textile medium
  • Latex paint
  • Paint brush

Painting Upholstery with Fabric Spray Paint

  • Clean the upholstery thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Remove any stains that are present on the area to be painted, and allow the upholstery to dry completely before proceeding.

  • Use painter's tape and newspaper to section off any areas on the piece of furniture that should not be painted. Use a drop cloth to protect the floor and other items in the room.

  • Paint the upholstery with the fabric spray paint using a slightly sweeping motion. Keep the nozzle of the can about 8 inches away from the surface of the upholstery.

  • Remove the painter's tape and newspaper. Allow the upholstery to dry completely before using the piece of furniture.

Painting Upholstery With Latex Paint

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or dirt from the upholstery. Using painter's tape and newspaper, cover any areas on the piece that should not be painted.

  • Mix the textile medium and the latex paint together. The proportions of textile medium to paint vary depending on the manufacturer, so read the directions on the medium carefully.

  • Using a paint brush, apply the paint and textile medium mixture to the upholstery. Avoid saturating the upholstery; try to apply a thin, even coat. Allow the piece of furniture to dry thoroughly.

  • Apply another coat of paint if needed. Remove the painter's tape and newspaper, and allow the piece to dry for at least 24 hours before using.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that medium-weight fabrics with a smooth texture are best suited for this project. Fabrics such as velvet may become stiff after being painted. Try practicing your spray-painting technique on a piece of cardboard with inexpensive spray paint. This will help you avoid an uneven paint job on the finished product.
  • Make sure that you are working in a well-ventilated area to prevent excessive fume inhalation. If you are using spray paint, wear a face mask and try painting outside on a calm day.

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