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How I Painted a Chair Blue with Upholstery Paint

2 March 2012 66,605 views 126 Comments

by heather

A few weeks ago, I asked you how I should make over an off-white wingback chair I got from my local thrift store. You told me to remake the chair with a typography stripe. I used Simply Spray Upholstery Spray and some Helvetica vinyl letters I had on hand to give my boring old chair a fun makeover. Read on for my instructions on how to paint a chair, and a giveaway [update: this giveaway is now over] for 6 cans of Simply Spray Upholstery Spray.

dsc sponsored post

typography chair redo

Project Materials:

Total to re-create project: $57.98

I spent: $25 total. (I just bought the chair. I had everything else on hand, and was provided the spray paint to review.)

Painting the Chair

I did several mock-ups of different ways I could paint the chair, and the mock-up with the most votes was this one, that featured a stripe of letters off-center on the chair:

wingback typography chair

So I started by sticking the vinyl letter stickers to the chair. Once I started playing with the stickers, I decided to do a more free-flowing line that meandered across the chair instead of being completely straight. I really like how that part turned out.

typography chair step 1

I knew that using the stickers with the spray would be a gamble because they don't stick that well to the fabric.

After I painted the chair, Simply Spray told me that they have a trick for thin stencils. "We usually use adhesive spray on the backs on stencils and even stickers to make sure they stay straight and to keep the paint from soaking through. Sometimes the force of the air coming out of the can actually moves the stencils too so it's a huge help." So, if you want to go the stencil route, you will have best results if you use spray adhesive along with the stickers or stencils.

The Simply Spray Upholstery Paint instructions indicated that you MIGHT get up to 17 square feet of coverage. I had two cans of upholstery spray paint, and I was really hoping I had enough to complete the job.

blue painted chair

Once you paint , you need to go in after spraying and sop up the paint that is beading up on the stickers so it doesn't drip. Also, don't forget to mask off parts of the chair that you don't want painted (like the feet!). Apparently, this is my first rodeo because I got so excited about painting the chair that I forgot to cover the feet. It's okay, though! I was able to (mostly) wipe the paint off the legs while it was still wet.

After I finished the first bottle of paint, I let it dry for about an hour before I went in with my second can of paint for another coat of color.

While it was wet, the coverage looked pretty good, but I wished I had a third can of paint. Once it dried, the spots that needed more paint become more obvious (near seams). I would recommend rubbing the paint into the fabric, but in this case, I couldn't rub the paint because of the letter stickers.

blue typography chair

I sopped up the 2nd coat of paint from the stickers, and then immediately removed the stickers so they wouldn't drip. You can tell that the paint leaked under the stickers in a few spots. I wasn't sure if this effect would work or look bad once the chair was dry.

blue chair painted

Turns out, the overspray on the letters looked a little too rough once the chair was dry, so I decided to outline the letters with a paint marker to define a line along the edges of the letters. I then filled in the areas that bled with the paint marker.

blue chair

The paint marker worked fairly well on the chair, but it still looks hand-drawn, which isn't exactly what I envisioned when I started the project. But like I said, I knew I was taking a risk by painting over the stickers. And two cans of spray paint are definitely not enough. I didn't know this until after I finished the project, but Simply Spray recommends six cans of spray for a chair or recliner. So, I only used 1/3 the amount that they recommend.

So, the verdict on Simply Spray Upholstery Paint?


  • Comes in a variety of colors, and I like this one: Caribbean Blue
  • Super easy to use
  • Makes it possible to refresh furniture that might otherwise be discarded
  • Cheaper and easier than re-upholstering
  • Non-toxic paint and propellant
  • Eco-friendly
  • Paint dries soft to the touch, and permanent
  • No heat-setting required
  • Made in America


  • Spray can trigger is uncomfortable to use
  • You will need multiple cans for most projects
  • If you use six cans on a chair, the paint cost is $60 for 6 cans on Amazon

Overall, the process was quick and easy. It didn't turn out as vivid as I wanted, but I did not use the correct amount of paint. If you are looking for a quick and easy makeover, Simply Spray is a good option.

Simply Spray tips:

  • Upholstery Paint colors here. (Black, Brite Red, Burgundy, Burnt Orange, Hunter Green, Navy Blue, Periwinkle, Plum, Saddle Brown, Camel, Caribbean Blue, Charcoal Gray, Lavender, and Sage Green.)
  • The paint works best on lighter fabrics i.e. turning a beige pillow brown. It's not really possible to turn a black lampshade plum.
  • Upholstery Paint is perfect for sofas, chairs, curtains, carpets, lampshades, and even place mats. It is also a great way to bring life back to a stained or older item.

 Where to get Simply Spray?

JoAnns Fabric and Craft Stores and Hobby Lobby carry the Simply Spray Upholstery Paint, and online at SprayPaint4Fabric.com.
like simply spray

Become a Fan of Simply Spray:

Simply Spray awarded one Dollar Store Crafts reader a 6-pack of Upholstery Spray:

Congrats to our winner:

winner simply spray

simply spray 6pk

Prize details:
6 cans of Simply Upholstery Fabric Spray Paint
winner can choose his/her paint color
(US residents 18 years old and above only.)

To Enter:

1) Comment here to tell us what you would paint with Simply Spray Upholstery Spray.

Quick Rules: Residents of USA, 18 and older. Ends on Thursday 3/8/2012 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced here in this post on 3/9/2012.

Full sweepstakes rules here.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Simply Spray. I was compensated for my time, and provided with free product. Affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

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Disclosure: this article may contain affiliate links or other forms of sponsored content. Opinions are 100% the author's. Full disclosure policy.


  • Cheryl Quinn said:

    My daughter will be going off to college in the fall. There is an 1980’s recliner that could use a dorm-room friendly update to go with her.

  • Nancy Hoover said:

    Oooh, I have an UGLY wingback recliner that a friend gave to me but I have been too intimadated to reupholster it. I would think twice about painting it though.

  • Courtney Edwards said:

    I have an old chair very similar to the one in the post that I would love to spray paint!!

  • Micki @addhousewife said:

    I’ve been wanting to add a chair to our foyer. This would make the job so much easier!

  • Judi said:

    Love this stuff! but I didnt buy enough cans for refreshing my grandmother’s chair so that projects been on hold for over 6 months now.

  • Sherry said:

    Wow, your chair is BEAUTIFUL now! (I kind of like the “hand drawn” paint pen effect — more hand crafted and less “commercial” looking…”) One thought — to seal the stencils before using them, maybe you could use a paint brush with some acrylic sealer (artist medium) before spraying. I don’t know if the Simply Spray would bead up on it, though. (Like painting over the edge of painter’s tape with the base color to keep the contrasting color from seeping under later…)

  • Em said:

    I would love to win this giveaway, great idea and product! I would paint a chair I have.

  • Kate said:

    I’m from Australia so I can’t enter. BUT, I think the chair looks great and I just wondered what you thought about how the paint covered the stains? Would the third, fourth, fifth or six can make a difference do you think?

  • Random Creativity said:

    We have a very comfortable, but quite hideous couch that someone gave us – I would love to repaint it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lindse said:

    i have a wonderful thrift store chair that i am dying to repurpose, this would be perfect!

  • Steph said:

    FABULOUS!!! I have a wing-back chair I got for free from my sister that is currently green with little polka-dots all over it. Not exactly my design choice so to be able to repaint it would be awesome!!!

  • Jill Kordsmeier said:

    My father passed away 4 years ago unexpectedly and I was given his beloved chair. I love this old thing but it doesn’t match my decor. I would love to paint it use it in my room.

  • Lennie said:

    I want to paint my reproduction Victorian loveseat and if I like it I’ll paint my parlor chairs. New upholstery is too expensive when you don’t have a job yet.

  • Donna, Life Coach said:

    Simply perfect!

    I think I’ll get that green paint that I bought simply because it “looked pretty”.

  • Cassandra H. said:

    I would use it to paint the roman shades in my son’s room to match it now that he is getting his forest room, I can’t find shades in the exact color I want so this would be great.

  • Lisa T said:

    Love your chair! It turned out really darling. I have an off-white, well, it used to be off-white, couch. Now, it’s sort of dingy and dirty. I would LOVE to change the color of this couch. This would be fabulous to have.

  • tanya pollak said:

    oh my goodness I can’t wait to see if I can find this paint locally! If not I guess I can order from Amazon. I am not sure if you can paint seat cushions for outdoor furniture, but this would be my number one makeover project! If not suitable for outdoors, this is surely going to work on the comfy sofa in the new family room that still has lots of life left in it, but it totally the wrong color! great product!

  • Rachel O'B said:

    I would love to use this paint on my husbands recliner. It doesn’t match our house and my hubby is clinging onto it. He uses the excuse that “he brought it into the relationship.” So I have accepted that it is here to stay. If it was a fresh color and all the same color at that, I would like it a lot better.

  • Dawnya Fairbetter said:

    I have a chair similar to the sample but it is faded and needs a lift!

  • Jane said:

    I have a bench that could badly use a new cushion colour.

  • Geeks on a Budget: Around the Web | Geek Life said:

    […] under $5 that can look like they cost five times that amount. My favorites as of late have been a Typography-based Chair Decoration tutorial, Mouse trap magnet clips, and a tutorial on this super cute owl lantern. You’ll be […]

  • Liz J said:

    on my old chair.. so comfy but dated.

  • Aurelas said:

    I would paint our thrift-shop rocking chair. It works great but the upholstery is very faded in spots, so it could really use a pick-me-up!

  • Janice said:

    I recently bought what was supposed to be, a Tullsta chair, from Craigslist.
    My hubby and I got it home, only to realize it’s a stained Solsta.
    It wouldn’t have been too bad, but we found out that they don’t sell covers
    for it.
    I thought about using Sharpie markers, but that would take forever! I even
    thought about throwing a scarf over it, but this spray looks like it would
    get the job done!

  • 65 Craft Blogs We Love « Craft Crater said:

    […] have also learned via dollarstorecrafts.com that there is such a thing as upholstery paint. I have no idea if / how well it works but – what an amazing […]

  • Geeks on a Budget: Around the Web | Pop Cults said:

    […] under $5 that can look like they cost five times that amount. My favorites as of late have been a Typography-based Chair Decoration tutorial, Mouse trap magnet clips, and a tutorial on this super cute owl lantern. You’ll be […]