I see a pastel couch and I want to paint it black
March 25, 2014 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Does upholstery paint really work? I have been offered a couch by a coworker. I really dig the shape of the couch, high back, lots of buttons, kinda swanky, retro looking. The color scheme looks like something from the Golden Girls though.

I have been eyeballing this stuff here. Has anyone used this or a similar product?

Some questions:

How did it look when finished?
Was it difficult to apply?
How many cans did you use?
How did the couch or chair feel after...was it groady feeling or still sittable?
Any advice on different products or methods?

posted by ian1977 to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't used paint like that but your question did remind me of a project someone did with RIT dye: Kara Paslay Designs
posted by brilliantine at 7:59 AM on March 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

Does it have matching pillows? Get some paint, test it. Or go to Goodwill or a fabric store, find similar fabric (at thrift shops - skirts, shirts or pillows may be similar enough) and test. I'll bet application requires precision and practice, in any case. The dye process brilliantine linked is impressive, and I suspect would come out better than paint, with softer fabric.
posted by theora55 at 8:07 AM on March 25, 2014

I've tried the textile medium-regular paint combo and it ends up a little too stiff. Even with heat setting (which helps). For something like a sofa, just not soft enough. (Though I might try rit dye, per brilliantine's link.)
posted by crankyrogalsky at 8:23 AM on March 25, 2014

I have used fabric paint, but not on upholstery. Softness is usually inversely proportional to coverage, so as the finish is more opaque, it is less soft. There is usually a point where cracking becomes a problem, too, and that would only increase on furniture.

Dye will work well on natural fibers, but you may be disappointed with how it performs on synthetics. Do you know what the fabric is?
posted by soelo at 8:46 AM on March 25, 2014

Any advice on different products or methods?

If the couch has good bones, and depending on how much you're paying for it, it might actually be a good candidate for a trip to a reupholster. Getting a couch done can be pretty reasonable if you like the shape, and plan on keeping it for several years. I'd call around for some quotes, just take some pictures of the couch and send those off with your request.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:07 AM on March 25, 2014 [5 favorites]

I looked into this idea for a headboard, it seems like the best information was found on DIY blogs. You might try searching in that vein for anecdotes.

The reviews on Amazon are not very encouraging for that specific upholstery paint.

This blogger had nice results but admits texture is now similar to burlap.
Similar method from another DIY'er.
posted by MuckWeh at 9:56 AM on March 25, 2014

If you are getting it free and willing to just take this as a chance to experiment:

You can try painting it. If you don't like it, you can then try slipcovering it. If you don't like it, you can try re-upholstering it yourself or paying an upholsterer.

I have done some DIY re-upholstering of free furniture and slipcovering of same (using old sheets or whatever, plus some banding and clips from a store). It isn't necessarily that hard and you get better over time.

If you dig the shape and it is free, say "yes" and figure out a solution after you get it home.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2014

My experience with upholstery paint was unsuccessful, and largely a waste of time. For a couch, I'd recommend Todd Oldham's cheezy couch cover up, at about 1:20 in this video. (Also some other great 90's awesomeness going on in that segment as a whole.) I did this to my couch with some patterned fabric I bought from Ikea and it turned out great, and has held up pretty well for the last four years of being pummeled daily by two adults and a large dog.
posted by pandalicious at 12:41 AM on March 26, 2014

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