Chalk Painting......A Microfiber Couch?



Oh hey there. So I was recently Pinteresting.   <------I am making that a thing, btw.  If Googling can be a verb, I think Pinteresting can be one as well.  I was looking for how to use chalk paint on surfaces other than wood, because I had an ugly couch that I was hoping I could transform by using chalk paint.  Why did I want to paint it you may ask?  Well...I don't sew.  And it's not worth paying to get the upholstery recovered.  So what did that leave?  Paint.  Specifically -- chalk paint. 

So -- I felt like I searched everywhere on Pinterest and to my extreme disappointment -- I couldn't find ANYTHING that would tell me that it was possible to paint my ugly couch!  

My sadness was fleeting, however, when it was overruled by my unwillingness to let the idea go.  I mean...chalk paint is supposed to work on anything, anywhere, anytime...RIGHT?  Isn't that the core purpose for it's existence?  Yep, in my book it is.  So.  I decided to do it anyway...with or without an amazing Pinterest tutorial to help me out.

True fact -- I told myself that IF this really weird idea works without Pinterest being the creative captain on this ship...then dang it, I AM GOING TO CREATE A BLOG SO THAT I CAN TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!  (Side note -- me using all caps doesn't necessarily mean shouting...it more means that I'M SUPER EXCITED AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS THAT THROUGH TYPING!!)  

Okay.  So here is the way I painted my microfiber couch, with some pictures to walk you through it. 



1).  Take your nasty microfiber (or fabric) couch/chair/ottoman/pillows/whatever and DO NOT TRY TO CLEAN IT.  Why?  Because its hard, it takes time, and we both know you've already tried to clean it 397 times since you bought it!  So don't give in and do it one last time -- its unnecessary!  **I warned you that mine was nasty, so if you're being judgy-- just stop.  And I blame my kids anyway!

2). Mix up your own chalk paint (or buy some, but fair warning -- it can be pricey!).  For me -- I like to make my own.  It's cheap and easy, and it makes me feel kinda crafty.  So here is the magic recipe shared with me by my neighbor Nicole:  ***You need to get some very BASIC FLAT LATEX PAINT -- meaning NO PRIMER, no fancy stuff.  If you don't trust me and you buy the paint with primer because you think more expensive paint will be better...it won't.  It actually does the opposite, and screws up the recipe.  In a separate container, mix 1/4 cup plaster of paris with 1/4 cup HOT water until it's completely dissolved.  Add one cup of paint, and mix completely.  Bam!  That's all for that. (I am going to try out a recipe using calcium carbonate, and if it's life changing then I'll do another blog post about it. You can put your email in on my page to be notified of future posts if you wanna!)

3). Use a spray bottle to keep the microfiber surface plenty wet, so that the paint can spread out across it and not be too thick or gloopy.  I literally used a big water bottle and kept the ottoman soaked!


4).  Paint the chalk paint with a big brush while the microfiber is wet. Do one coat across the surface working in sections across as you go.  Perfection isn't key....equal coverage is.  Spray more water if you feel like your surface is drying out. Then...go get a Diet Coke, put your feet up, and let that baby dry.  I put a fan on it and it took a couple hours.


5). Add another coat of paint if you think you should.  Since I was doing red, I didn't want it to look remotely pink, so I did another coat.  Round 2 paint coat goes on a lot quicker than the first, b/c you already have one coat that pretty much sealed off the microfiber.  If the paint seems too thick when you are painting on the 2nd coat, then spray a little water onto the surface as you go, but water isn't necessary for this coat.  Again, let it dry. Add more Diet Coke.

 6). Here's where things got kinda tricky.  *[Update:  Since this blog post, I tried out a wax I bought at Lowe's (just the basic Lowe's store brand of wax) that is much more liquid, and not as solid as Minwax. If I had to do it over, I would definitely use a soft more liquid wax and I think it would avoid the whole hair dryer scenario listed below.  So yeah.]  Anyhow - back to the tricky party.  I quickly discovered that wax behaves very differently on a pliable fabric surface than it does on hard wood.  When I first applied Minwax wax, it looked good...until I tried to buff the surface with a lint-free cloth after it dried.  That is when it began making white little chunks of wax -- similar to if you spilled candle wax on your carpet and tried to clean it off.  This is the point that I thought maybe I failed at my experiment.  

















So...I busted out my hair dryer, and tried to melt off the excess wax that was flaky and looking sketchy...and...IT WORKED!!!



Then I ran over the surface again with a cloth and it polished right up to look just like leather!  What???  Did I just say leather?  YEP!

Everyone who has come over to my house since then has told me that they would never have known that it wasn't leather -- both by looking at it and by the feel of it.  Crazy, right?  I agree! Oh and by the way -- I painted it back in Feb, and it is now August, and it has held up wonderfully!  There are a couple tiny spots that the paint has become a little peely.  I'm talking about a couple of tiny little peels and they are in the seam areas, and it's only the top layer of paint so you still don't see the microfiber...and you probably would never notice it! Yay for the durability!

Please feel free to comment with any questions, or to tell me about other non-traditional ways that you have seen or used chalk paint yourself!  

And thank you for reading my first real blog post ever!  Woot woot!

Sara






Comments

  1. LOVE this tutorial! Finally, one that has some common sense. It helps that my chaise looks almost exactly like your befor picture...LOL!

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    1. Oh my gosh I have comments on my blog page and never knew until today!!! Thank you Tina for your super nice comment and for giving me credit for having common sense! Bad news is my common sense wasn't awesome enough to know you had commented on my page until 6 months later! ;)
      PS did you end up painting your chaise?

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  2. I am going to try this. I painted the fabric seat on a little wooden chair and it turned out pretty well. But I think my couch is the nasty mate to yours (same color, same yuckiness) and this would be a heck of a lot cheaper than burning it and looking for a new one.
    I blame mine on my kids as well. ;)

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    1. Hey Victoria! Sorry for the delay in a response (wish I could blame my kids but really it's because I've never blogged before and didn't know I had anyone even viewing my page, let alone commenting!). But YAY! :) So I'd love to know if you tried the chalk paint, and if so - how did it turn out? PS thanks for reading!

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  3. Can you tell me if it is still soft like microfiber or if it feels hard or like leather now?

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    1. YES, I WAS WONDERING THE SAME THING. THAT, AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO DRY OUT?

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    2. It feels like leather, but the kind that has been broken in so it is soft as well. Like a loved leather jacket. :)

      Hope that helps! Keep me posted guys if you tried this and if it works out!!! I'd really appreciate it!!!

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  4. I'm curious how long it took to dry if you had to soak it? And it sealing it with wax a must?

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    1. I let it dry overnight with a ceiling fan above on high, and that was plenty. Yes, the sealing with wax is a must! See my comment further below about which waxes I have liked. :) Thanks and keep me posted!!!

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  5. Sara love the idea! I was wondering what does it feel like now? Is it soft or hard/crunchy to the touch? Also how do you clean it?

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  6. Hi Tanya

    Please give me some feedback asap... I see that it has been a while since you painted the ottoman.
    I am in SA, so I bought a local brand of Chalk Paint (I hope it is the same mix everywhere) and painted a patch on the couch, let it dry for 2 days, sprayed some water on it and rubbed (too see if it stays) and most of it rinsed off.

    So my question to you is:

    How do u clean the couch after it is painted?

    And does the wax act as a sealant? To make the paint stick?

    My couches are for an outside area, and might get slightly wet when it rains, so dont want the paint to run (or come off on your clothes)

    Tnx
    Sue SA

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    Replies
    1. So I replied to your message, but it might have come in as its own blog comment. It's 4:30am, so not too sure about much at this point. :)

      Check out the other comments if you can't find my reply.

      Thanks!!!

      Delete
  7. Ha ha, Sara I mean...

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  8. Hey there Sue! Yes, the wax is ESSENTIAL to making the paint stay on. The Minwax worked perfectly for my ottoman. Also, I really like the liquid-ish consistency of the clear wax I bought from Lowes, which is in their chalk paint line. It worked awesome for a wooden baby chair I redid recently, but I can't say how it would do on te microfiber just because I haven't tested that myself yet. Good luck - and if you don't mind, check back in after you finish the whole process and let me know how it worked?! Good luck!

    Sara

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    1. Morning, I only saw that you replied now. Not the most tech savvy of ppl.
      Ok cool, Ill keep you updated.

      How do u clean the ottoman?

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  9. Would this work on a microfiber recliner?? Im thinking of just doing the wax... to make it look more like leather... it's a pretty dingy old recliner that's brown... I'm concerned about the wax rubbing off on people or clothes.... what do you think??

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    Replies
    1. Hi there! A microfiber recliner would be awesome! If you do the chalk paint with wax, I can tell you that it seals up and cures and won't come off on anything. :) You said you're considering doing the wax to make it look more like leather...not sure if you mean wax alone, or wax with the chalk paint. I wouldn't do wax alone on microfiber - my gut feeling is that it won't go on great directly to the fabric.
      Let me know how it works out okay? :) I hope this helps you!

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  10. Hi Sara! Loved your post! Thanks so much! I have an upholstered chair that I've been wanting to paint but chicken until reading your post. Do I need to keep it moistened as you suggested for the microfiber? Please feel free to email me - not sure I can get back to this post. :/ lisamiller1986@yahoo.com Thanks again!

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  11. This is SO smart i can't even stand it. haha I have two microfiber couches the EXACT color and they have moved across the country with me 3 times.. did i mention i also have 3 dogs in a VERY VERY VERY pet friendly house.. yeah.. so what i've been doing is hauling my couch outside and washing it with a hose, a scrub brush, and dish soap.. then i let it sit in the sun. i live in Vegas so it dries in a few hours. BUT OMG IT SUCKS TO DO. Then i have to cringe as i watch it get disgusting all over again. you're basically my hero in trying this out for all of us who made the stupid decision to get a light colored microfiber couch haha.

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  12. I've been thinking about trying this even before I saw ur blog cause I mean it's either couch cover over the thing or toss the couch mine looks like ur before only with a Lil added sharpie marker.it was brand new i bought beige cause I no longer had to worry about kids ruining I thought anyways 3 months after I got couch I ended up with my nieces 3 children we are now in process of adoption. And the poor couch don't stand a chance. So thanks for the inspiration cause we are moving in 2 months and I will definitely be painting before then ..

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  13. I've been thinking about trying this even before I saw ur blog cause I mean it's either couch cover over the thing or toss the couch mine looks like ur before only with a Lil added sharpie marker.it was brand new i bought beige cause I no longer had to worry about kids ruining I thought anyways 3 months after I got couch I ended up with my nieces 3 children we are now in process of adoption. And the poor couch don't stand a chance. So thanks for the inspiration cause we are moving in 2 months and I will definitely be painting before then ..

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  14. Hi, I'm thinking of trying this out but there are no Lowes stores near me so I'm looking at other brands. What kind of Miniwax did you use? I see so many options. And for the the couch itself, did you also paint by hand or use the spray can?

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  15. Can u use this technique on peeling pleather/vinyl?

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  16. I've never read about using wax, but I love the idea. I've read about people sanding the fabric after the first paint coat. Did you do that? It seems like a lot of work to do that. I have 6 microfiber dining room chairs that I'm going to do this to as one of my projects this year. I'm also thinking about doing it to my microfiber headboard. I do wonder what my cats will think...If they'll be more inclined to scratch or leave it alone.

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  17. my futon it's yellowish microfiber and thanks to my kid,it's disgusting. I tried to cleaned it millions of times and I got tired,. so I put an old quilt on top. I'm gonna try what you did and let's see how it goes. I don't want to trow it away if it's not broken. thanks for your tutorial

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  18. Awesome info. about to move and some furniture we bought (used) is leather, some microfiber, my sister suggested chalk paint, but I thought "nuts", now I am no longer afraid to own leather/pleather, thanks bunches.

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  20. This was so helpful...i learned alot, however I wanted to share a tip with you...if you sand the fabric in between paint coats, it will keep the fabric soft...oh and also you will need to mix in a fabric medium with your paint.

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  23. Hi, very cool idea! What was the name of the liquid wax from Lowe’s that you said works better than the mini wax? Can you post a photo of the can of liquid wax so I can make sure I get the right thing? Thanks so much!

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  24. I have a micro suede couch and a dog that loves it!! Unfortunately the dog also sheds. Do you think if I were to do this chalk painting on my microfiber couch and it turned out like the leather couch that you showed in your after photo that the dog hair would not get into the fibers? Do you think I could just vacuum the couch and the hair would come up easily?

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    1. I have the same problem....I gonna try it anyway

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  25. my chair apart at all. It was so easy and they have tons of patterns and colors. I ordered the leopard one. Now I want another one for my work office. You can google Chirt or office chair covers to find the site. I don't like posting links but it is on Facebook also called ChairWear. Demir Italian Lounges

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  26. I am about to apint my light beige recliner a deep red after seeing my son's girlfriend's painted furniture. somewhere I read to use a semi-gloss, satin, or wggshell paint. I bought semi-gloss. I hope it isn't too stiff. It was hard to find a less glossy paint with no primer and suitable to be tinted a deep color. My chair is badly stained as well, so I bought both a clear wax and an antiquing wax at Walmart in case stains show through, i thought I could disguise them with the antiquing wax. Wish me luck. Your footstool looks amazing! Did you do the whole couch as well?

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  29. I read that microfiber material can differ, depending on what kind of added fabric that it contains, as nylon, etc. Certain paints are then used, because of this. Is this true, or will the chalk paint work on all microfibers? I'm so grateful to have found your idea. I can't wait to get started. Thanks, LINDA

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  33. Okay, so you did this project back in 2015! It is coming up on 4 years. How has the couch held up? I got a deal on a microfiber couch and loveseat, but they are a seafoamy, sage green color, which I am not in love with. I was looking to dye some curtains, and fell down this rabbit hole of painting furniture. So would recommend this process, after wear and tear of life and kids?

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