Dyeing fabric and painting upholstery with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan
DYEING FABRIC AND PAINTING UPHOLSTERY
One of the most exciting and interesting ways to use Chalk Paint® decorative paint these days is on fabric. One method is to use it as a dye by washing fabric in heavily diluted paint and the effect is wonderful — Annie Sloan has rewashed one dyed linen sheet several times now and the color has remained the same. The other method is to
paint upholstered chairs, and even sofas, with Chalk Paint®, which creates a stunning effect.
If you can’t find the right shade of fabric, you could dye it with Chalk Paint®. Colors that work particularly
well are Aubusson Blue, Emperor’s Silk, Emile, French Linen, Florence, Duck Egg Blue, and Scandinavian Pink. Some colors are stronger than others, such as Emperor’s Silk, which will take to the fabric very easily. The intensity of the final color depends on the ratio of paint to water, the shade of paint, the type of fabric, and the amount of it being dyed. Any material that is coated or containing polyester will not take the color so well. As a general ratio, mix 1 part Chalk Paint® into 20 parts water, but you can adjust this ratio depending on how light or dark you wish the dye to be. The amount of time the fabric is left soaking in the dye can range from about 5 minutes to 30 minutes; the longer the time the more intense the color. Painting upholstery Any fabric, including leather, can be painted with Chalk Paint®, although the more natural fiber there is in the fabric the better as it absorbs paint so well. Fabric with a texture or a raised pattern can be made to look very interesting indeed when painted.
Painted fabric, even if it has a pile, is perfectly comfortable and does not leave you covered in paint, as you might think!
Begin by diluting the paint with water so that it is liquid enough to be absorbed by the fibers. Adding the right amount of water to the paint is crucial — the paint needs to soak into the top of your upholstered piece, rather than all the way through — as you are trying to avoid thick paint that clogs up the pile and feels hard and crusty on drying. To make certain of the consistency of the paint is a question of trial and error. Test a small patch on the back of your upholstered piece or the underside of a cushion first before painting the entire thing. If you think the paint might still be too thick, add some more water and use a scrubbing motion with the paintbrush to spread the paint around. After applying the paint, let it dry completely; this might take a day or two depending on the fabric. Once it is dry, and depending upon the weave, you may want to apply Clear Annie Sloan Soft Wax. Use a brush or cloth to apply a thin but even coat of wax, spreading and pushing it into the fabric. Blending the wax with a small amount of mineral spirits may make this task easier. Use a dry clean cloth to remove the excess wax.
For more information on dyeing and painting fabrics with Chalk Paint®, please refer to Annie Sloan’s
book, Color Recipes for Painted Furniture and More, pp. 36-39, 66-67, 152-153.