I was browsing Craigslist a week ago and found this gorgeous beauty. The previous owner passed away and left her estate to the children; the kids were frantically trying to auction off 6 acres worth of furniture all awhile trying to take care of their ailing father. When I saw this sofa it was still wrapped in plastic, hidden away in a storage unit at some dark lonely place in Long Beach.
I absolutely LOVE Victorian furniture, it brings back memories of my childhood; days where I would cuddle on the sofa with my mom watching Gone With the Wind. I am a girly girl at heart, and it never occurred to me that I would one day work with furniture. I still feel that anything can be feminine as long as you add your womanly touches to it. ♥
So I managed to strike a deal with the woman who sold me this piece, my husband had that Friday off so we rented a truck at the Home Depot. YES you can rent a truck there and for a much better price than U-Haul. I absolutely hate that U-Haul had a million different fees that they don’t tell you about until AFTER you’ve returned their truck. Sometimes those costs can reach triple digits if you’re not careful, and don’t even think to call their Headquarters to file a complaint…you will be ignored and ridiculed. I will never work with U-Haul again.
So the deal with Home Depot is that you pay them a deposit fee of $50, and they charge you $20 for the first 75 minutes and $5 every 15 minutes after that. This is all taken out of your initial deposit, and anything that isn’t charged will be refunded. It took me a little over an hour to relocate my sofa from the storage unit to my house and it only cost us $20!
My plan with this sofa is to paint the wood in ivory and the fabric in a dark blue or violet. I knew going into this project that it’ll be extremely intimidating, but I figured the challenge will be fun. I never once painted on fabric before, so I wanted to be real careful with my first attempt. There are so many fabric paint tutorials out there so the real challenge was to shop for colors. It was supremely difficult to imagine what a small swatch of paint would look like on a large 3 person sofa.
I didn’t want to use chalk paint on my fabric, I was too afraid that the chalky hardness would ruin the damask/embroidered surface. I decided on water based latex paint. My color? Knighthood by Behr.
I absolutely fell in love with this color, it goes on like a soft navy blue with purple and brown undertones. I used a satin finish and it really brought out the shine on my fabric!
The process is pretty straight forward, here’s what I used:
♥ 2 quarts of paint. You NEED at least 2 quarts, probably more.
♥ A good paint brush (don’t use a cheap brush, trust me)
♥ Painter’s tape
♥ Fabric medium or hair conditioner (more about this below)
♥ Spray bottle filled with water
I could only find a few bottles of medium in my area, so I painted the back of the sofa without it.
My method was 2 paint : 1 medium : 1 water. Mixed into a container.
I am not sure why, but the fabric medium I used created large lumps in my paint, sort of like corn starch when added to hot water (it won’t dissolve!). I didn’t notice at first but when I started to apply the paint, the lumps broke apart and created little white stains on my fabric! It was frustrating because I didn’t want to waste an entire quart of paint. I applied it anyway, and hoped that the second coat will make a nice cover up.
The paint actually saturated my sofa so well that I didn’t think I would need a second coat. Depending on the fabric of your project, it could take up to two or three layers of paint! Don’t be discouraged though, the end result is totally worth it.
Since my disaster with the fabric medium, I decided to substitute with regular hair conditioner. I bought something cheap and colorless at my grocery store and mixed it in with paint and water. I don’t know what to tell you, the result was amazing! It really softened up my sofa and didn’t leave a “crackle” effect.
I waited 24 hours after the initial coat. I didn’t think it needed a second layer but I applied one anyway just to cover up discolorations created by the lumpy fabric medium.
I then used soft wax over the entire thing to seal it up!
This took me approximately 3 days of drying and painting to complete. I did not like the Old White combination with this navy color so I repainted the trimmings in burnished gold by Ralph Lauren.
Overall, the chair is a huge improvement over the original. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, (such as not double taping along the edges to prevent bleeding) but overall the attempt was totally worth it! Would I ever do this again? Probably not on a project of this size, it was nothing short of exhausting. My arms felt like they were going to fall off haha. The MOST difficult part of this sofa were definitely the buttons/creasing and the edgings. I think it accounted for the majority of my time and frustration.
Either way, I taught myself a few things and learned from my mistakes; that’s the whole point right? I can’t wait for my next project!
Here is a list of mistakes and lessons learned along the way:
1. Use a good quality brush, I started off using a cheap brush and this was a mistake. I figured I didn’t want to ruin one of my best pieces but honestly it really helps the paint get into those pesky little areas. Apply with pressure in a circular motion.
2. Spray and spray some more. Water that is: the damper the fabric, the easier it is for the paint to spread and absorb. Don’t fall short on this step!
3. Use hair conditioner if you can’t find fabric medium, it softened up my cushions and made it feel like leather. I couldn’t tell the difference between the parts that were painted with medium and the parts with hair conditioner.
4. I used a satin sheen and I love it, the shimmer gave my cushions a nice luster comparable to its original form.
5. Use painter’s tape and lots of it. I wish i could have gone back and double taped my edgings because some of the paint DOES seep underneath. It’s a huge pain in the rear to take off your tape and find that the color has bled on to the fabric! This is a total problem because painting over painted fabric is a huge chore.
I think that’s it =]
Overall totally not a bad investment!