DIY Painted Fabric and Director’s Chair Redo


April 23, 2013 by magpiemenina

It’s been a pleasantly busy month. We’ve had lots of company flying in from more northerly climes. I’ve started work at a local museum and community house. We’ve also been hard at work outside until dark, building a chicken coop/greenhouse/possible goat house and building and filling raised garden beds.

Here’s a project from days with colder weather, though.

Project Backstory:

Quite some time ago, I acquired a director’s chair (out of my parents’ basement). I don’t have a picture of it before, but once upon a time the seat and back were made from chocolate-brown canvas. I took the chair to grad school with me to use as a desk chair, in the interest of compact packing. In the course of numerous exams, papers, and long thesis writing forays, the left side of the seat wore through from rubbing on the frame as I literally sat on the edge of the seat. After we moved to our new Kentucky home, I replaced seat and back with new ones made of drop cloth.

That was supposed to be the end of the project. Of course, as a good friend has noted, I will find the most difficult way to do something and do it.

The chair stood out in the room like a sore thumb.

The couch, chair, and ottoman were dark brown leather. The wall with the fireplace was a reddish brown. All the other furniture in the room was dark wood or green. All the decor was dark brown or green (more or less, you get the idea). This pale wood, pale fabric director’s chair looked absolutely out of place.

Refashioned director's chair

Okay, I thought. I’ll paint it.

Could I find dark brown fabric paint? No. Could I find dark green fabric paint? No. Did I find something better? Yes.

DIY Directions:

You will need:

Acrylic paint in desired colors. (I used an olive green, chocolate brown, and antique gold)

Americana Fabric Painting Medium*

Dish in which to mix paint

Small paint brushes




*Americana Fabric Painting Medium can be mixed with any acrylic paint to turn it into fabric paint! Maybe everyone already knew about this amazing product and I missed the memo, but I was so excited to find it. I can’t speak to how well it works on clothing that will be frequently washed, but I loved it for this project!

How To:

1. Lay out the fabric you are working with. Decide on a pattern. Draw vertical lines from front to back, spacing with the ruler. Free-hand the pattern (or be more specific if you like. I tend to get wrapped around the axle, so I strive to just wing it when I can).

Mew helps with the line drawing and measuring.

Mew helps with the line drawing and measuring. This may have been part of the problem in step 2.

The lines are drawn.

The lines are drawn.

Free-handed pattern design with a pencil.

Free-handed pattern design with a pencil.

2. Mix the first paint color with the Fabric Painting Medium, using two parts Fabric Painting Medium to one part acrylic paint. Brush into your pattern. This will probably take more paint and a longer time than you think, especially if your white cat has decided to roll around on the fabric beforehand without your knowledge, leaving invisible hairs to wrap around your brush and acquire paint. The joys of having a cat are truly boundless. That, however, is probably not one of them.

Painting the pattern.

Painting the pattern.

3. Repeat with remaining colors.

4. Let the paint dry overnight (out of reach of your cat).

5. Set the design by ironing each part for 30 seconds. If you have a nice iron, you may want to put something between the iron and the fabric paint to prevent any residual transfer. I have chosen not to have a nice iron and did not have any problems.

Finished director's chair.

Finished director’s chair.

6. Try to sit down with a cup of coffee and the latest issue of Current Anthropology, only to discover that the cat likes the chair and won’t share.

The chair blends in with our living room perfectly now! Indeed, it is almost unnoticeable. As a final observation, the pattern was inspired by that on a woven blanket from Mexico I acquired from a yard sale. The colors? Green and brown, of course.

The chair fits in much better now.

The chair fits in much better now.



3 thoughts on “DIY Painted Fabric and Director’s Chair Redo

  1. gildedcrow says:

    You could not have done it without Mew’s help. What a capable assistant!

  2. Janine says:

    I have reread your article twice. I’m going to give painting on duck canvas seats a try. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  3. magpiemenina says:

    Thank you for visiting!

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