Complete Furniture Makeovers: Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric


Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric with Chalk PaintTM

Complete Furniture Makeovers: Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric with Chalk Paint™Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric with Chalk PaintTM


For the best results, Annie recommends the following steps, preferably on a natural fibre fabric such as cotton or linen:

  • Spray the fabric with a water bottle to dampen the fabric first, but make sure you don’t get it overly wet.
  • Thin your chosen Chalk Paint™ colour with a small amount of water to make sure it goes on easily. Keep water on hand to re-dip your brush as needed. The paint needs to absorb into the fabric on the chair seat or chair back, without going all the way through to the upholstery padding underneath.Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric with Chalk PaintTM
  • Use a scrubbing motion with the paintbrush as you apply to spread the paint around.
  • Then let the paint dry thoroughly in a warm, dry place.
  • Chalk Paint™ can also be applied in this way to any type of fabric, including leather, but natural fibers have better absorption properties. Fabric with a texture or raised pattern can take on an exciting new look.
  • Leave the fabric untreated, or wax and buff to create a leather look. Either way, the results are transformative, easy, and the new colour won’t rub off.


“Chalk Paint™  provides users with endless possibilities – as people are just discovering – it’s not just for painting furniture,” says Annie. “In my latest book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, I show how painting upholstery with Chalk PaintTM is a brilliant way to rescue a chair with old fashioned or stained fabric that you don’t want to reupholster. It’s also a fast way to change the furniture’s colour scheme. And it’s so easy.”
The whole chair is painted in Paloma Chalk Paint, with just a little Old White added to the arms and around the back. CB650_039

Watch Annie Sloan demonstrated the painting upholstery technique on Hallmark’s ‘Home & Family’ TV show – here.


DYEING FABRIC WITH CHALK PAINT™ is also simple and inexpensive, as it takes only a very small amount of paint to create impressive results. In Colour Recipes Annie explains how fortunate she was to be given a ‘huge pile of gorgeous linen’ by her elderly French neighbour. Dyeing the fabric emphasized its texture.

The intensity of the final colour depends on the ratio of paint to water, the paint shade, and the fabric type – with natural fabrics working best. For cotton or linen sheets you will need:

  • Chalk Paint™ – deep pigmented colours work best, e.g. Aubusson Blue, Scandinavian Pink, Antibes, etc.
  • Water
  • Fabric
  • Large (galvanized) metal tub
  • Stick for stirring
  • Optional rubber gloves

Pour a quantity of paint into tub, mix in 20 parts water to one part paint, but adjust according to the final colour desired. Mix thoroughly and soak the fabric for approximately 30 minutes, turning occasionally for even coverage. CB650_147Rinse and drain well of any excess water. Hang outside to drip dry or use your dryer. CB650_148Then use fabric to make drapes, blinds, or anything you wish.

For Australia and NZ, look for your nearest stockist of Chalk Paint™ here. Other countries click here, to search for your nearest stockist. Look out for more advanced furniture painting projects on Havven soon. Further inspiration for all levels of painting projects can be found on the Annie Sloan website, also the Annie Sloan step-by-step tutorial series via YouTube.

Images courtesy of CICO Books and Christopher Drake, Photographer.

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