Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Shiny New Coat

There’s a running joke between my husband and I that goes something like this: whenever I have an open can of paint and a wet brush, nothing and no one is safe from a flick of my wrist and a shiny new coat! For me, it’s an issue of laziness (I detest cleaning out paint-coated brushes so if I can I do a few things at once, I will!) and also, I like change… a lot. I thrive on it, really. And something as simple and inexpensive as a quart of paint can really get me going!

Enter Exhibit A: my “new” antique Craigslist sofa. From a distance it doesn’t look so bad. After all, it kind of fits in with my overall neutral bedroom palette and that curvy, carved wood… ooo it makes my heart race!

But if you look closer you’ll notice that the original fabric, besides being dingy and dirty, also has a subtle striping of blue and peach. That’s not really what I have in mind for this room so to the drawing board I went.

A custom re-upholstery job would be perfect for this piece because it’s got great bones. However, that could run around $500 which was not in my budget. My next thought was that I could reupholster it myself because there are a lot of thorough tutorials available and I’ve done a similar love seat before. But knowing the time it would take, along with the still too-high price for 10 yards of good upholstery fabric, it didn’t take me long to scratch that off my list as well. Then, I did a quick little search on Pinterest for painted (yes, you read that right) sofas. No joke, it’s been done like 100 times!

Now, I should let you know that this isn’t my first rodeo. I actually painted a sofa recently (for resale purposes) using this paint. And while the results were as I expected, the price for as many cans as I would need would be expensive and they don’t carry a color along the lines of what I wanted for this sofa.

After meticulously taping off the wood frame, I gathered my supplies:
- paint brush (cheap chip brushes are my go-to for this type of project, I don’t feel guilty about throwing them out after a project… no cleaning required!)
- quart of custom tinted off-white, regular ol’ latex paint in a satin finish
- textile medium found at Hobby Lobby
- spray bottle filled with water

There are many good tutorials out there, some specific to the type of fabric and others based on usage of the sofa (family vs. photo prop, etc.) so this is just what I found most useful. Ask me in a few months and I may be changing my tune!

I began by lightly spraying the entire sofa down with a mist of water. This is supposed to help the paint be more supple once dry. I figured this was also a good chance to use one of my handy helpers because I wasn’t letting her help for the next steps. (Meet Lyla.) In retrospect, I didn’t need to spray the entire sofa before beginning because it took quite a while to paint so the water mostly dried before I could get to it. I had to continue spraying each section lightly before painting it to moisten things up a bit.

Then I mixed together 1 part of textile medium to 2 parts of paint and got to work. Starting on the backside, because I figured it could be easily hidden if I completely hated it after one brush stroke, I continued to paint the entire sofa. I knew right away that it would take at least two coats so I let the first dry for 24 hours and then started on the next. For the second coat, there was no reason to spray with water, but I did add a dash of water to my paint mixture to thin it out a bit.  After the second coat it was completely covered except for a couple random spots that needed a bit more coverage. I let it dry 24 more hours and then removed the tape… which to me is the most gratifying part of every paint project!

Because of all the detail around the edges of the upholstery, it was hard to get a real tight tapeline so there were spots like this where the paint leaked through. A little elbow grease and some dish soap and everything came off in a breeze. But it was still an annoying step.

For some reason, I didn’t paint the seat cushions at the same time as the sofa… maybe from fear or perhaps just because it took up a lot of floor space around the house. But I ended up in the dining room for the cushions, which just took two coats of paint on each side so after a few days they were complete as well! You can really tell in the picture above how different the new color versus the old are.

I gave everything a light sanding with a fine sanding sponge and it really helped to break down the paint so that the fabric felt really smooth and more malleable, similar to a stiff leather.

My husband and I both really love the way it looks in the room now. Not going to lie, it’s not somewhere we’d want to curl up with a book and spend our afternoon. But then again, we don’t really have the time for that luxury either! It’s perfect for looking pretty and it’s perfect for sitting down to put on our shoes.

And most importantly, it’s perfect for the impromptu dance party. Which means it’s pretty perfect for us!

Now I just need the perfect piece of art for above it. And I have a colorful DIY in mind!