Behind the Scenes – Adding to the Studio

I got a little inspired this past weekend. One of the photography groups I am part of posted this link about revamping old furniture by painting it. I have always been a bit sceptical about painting fabric, it seemed to me that it would completely wreck it. But after seeing the post, and having an old chair I had picked up from an antique market in Daylesford back in Australia which had been sitting in a spare bedroom for the last 2 1/2 years gathering dust, I thought I really had nothing to lose.

The chair was a creamy yellow with a blue and grey pattern. Although it wasn’t completely offensive, it had never really fit in with any of my shoots, and invariably I would drape it with other material in photoshoots. It’s also quite a low chair and it will be great for posing corporate head shots and my regular contemporary portraits.

I decided to go for a dove/medium grey colour, and I got my acrylic paint, brush and fabric medium for under $20 including tax. I followed the instructions on the paint and medium bottles, 2:1 paint to medium. Of course I should have read the instructions on the blogs, I would have probably done a 2:2:1 paint to water to medium instead. It was just a little too thick for the first coat. I should also have trimmed all the loose threads off the chair too, I have since sliced them off with a scalpel (the really obvious ones).

Of course I forgot to take proper “before” photos, so here are the photos of me in progress. You can see how many loose threads there are in these.

Two bottles of paint to one medium did almost the whole of the chair (I was a little sloppy on the legs but I am not too fussed about those being perfect). My dropsheet was a .89c shower curtain from Honest Ed’s, and I painted in my living area with a lot of hope that the cats wouldn’t try and sit on a wet chair.

Painting Fabric updating a chair

First coat done – it looks a little patchy in spots, I had to really dab/scrub the brush into the pattern to get good coverage. I live in a basement apartment, and because summer in Toronto is pretty humid, we run dehumidifiers during off the weekend and evening. I think it really helped the paint to dry in quite a quick time. I did this on Saturday afternoon and by the time I got back from dinner in the evening it was dry to touch.



Painting Fabric updating a chair

Second and final coat – I actually did 2:1:1 paint to medium to water as I was a bit concerned that the final finish would be too thick if I didn’t use any water. The coverage on this one went a lot further and I still have half left in a plastic container in case I felt it needed touch up on the legs, but I will make a decision about that when I actually see how it holds up in a photoshoot.



Painting Fabric updating a chair


I agree with the follow up post from the original link that the material feels like outdoor or weatherproof fabric, not really a vinyl – it’s a little more pliable than that.

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Check out the re-purposed chair in its new setting

I am really glad that I did it, I feel like I will definitely get more use out of the chair now and it was budget friendly too!

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