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Painting Fabric Additions For Your Furniture

Painting on furniture is covered in another article, here:

Sometimes, however, you might not want to actually paint the wood of the project, so we will explore the possibilities of adding a fabric embellishment that is decorated.

I found an idea in a newsletter I receive and thought you might like to try your hand at it, too. A link to the picture of the project that inspired this will be at the end.

For this project, you can use your acrylic paints. I do not recommend using oil paints for fabric paintings. It is better to use either tube acrylics or ones in the plastic squeeze bottles. I usually use the squeeze bottles since there are hundreds of colors available and they are very inexpensive. I would suggest buying a high quality brand. There are some available that have very little pigment (the actual color in the paint) and these are less than desirable in almost any application in my opinion. You should plan to pay right at $1 or a little more per bottle to be sure you are getting good quality. The newer acrylic "enamels" that have come out are a little thick for this project.

There are mediums available that can be added to acrylics to make them more permanent on fabrics, but I seldom use them. For this project, you are making something that will not be laundered very often, if at all, so the paint just used straight from the bottle is fine.

First, you need to plan where you will use this idea. The one I ran across was used on the seat cushion the person had created on an old chair. You could also use it on a slipcover that was going on the back of a chair, on a table runner, placemat or tablecloth. I like to cut out my pieces first then paint, then do the final construction.

If you are going to draw your idea, you can use a water soluble marker or chalk pencil like ones used for sewing to put it directly onto the fabric. I don't like to use dressmaker's carbon or anything like that since they can resist the paint or show through the finished product.

If you are using a picture or pattern from another source, trace it onto tracing paper, place the fabric on a hard cabinet or table and transfer it to your fabric with Saral paper (painter's carbon-type paper that is actually a chalk surface) or, if you can see through the fabric, put the pattern under it and trace as if you were just drawing it.

Once you have the pattern, paint as if you were working on a canvas or any other surface. Be careful not to get too much of a paint build up. Keep the layering very thin. When you are finished, let it dry thoroughly then turn it upside down on a pressing cloth or towel and heat set on the back with steam (if the fabric will take it) and heat as hot as the fabric will stand. Just a few seconds will do the trick.

You can create seat covers, cushions or slipcovers for lots of occasions at very little cost just by using different paintings!

The link to the original article I saw is here:
Refurbishing Antique Dining Chairs

Please come by our forum and ask any questions you like or join discussions in progress. We have fun there!

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Happy Painting!
Paula Devore
Painting Editor

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