A couple of years ago, by husband and I bought a new couch as a (VERY) belated wedding present. The old leather couch, love seat and chair (hand-me-downs from Justin’s parents) made their way to the spare room – a stopping point for most things headed to the dump. For months now I’ve been threatening to paint the old set with Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan and as a part of my Procrastinate Less initiative for 2016 I decided that the time has come.
Now, I won’t lie to you. The outcome was AMAZING but the whole thing was A LOT of work. However, it was well worth it since for around $100 I have a whole new set of seating perfect for our sun room.
Below is the first part of the project – the paint. The whole thing took an entire day from 9 am to 6 pm but to be fair that might have included lunch, dinner, and a couple loads of laundry. Below are the materials I used and a step by step tutorial. In part two (happening hopefully next weekend) I will talk about waxing our freshly painted furniture to protect it.
When we were buying our house there wasn’t a lot of money left for fancy furniture so we settled on a couple of pieces (some bought – others donated from Justin’s parents) which included a leather furniture set in a tolerable but not stunning shade of (patchy) cherry brown leather. Over the years, the cushions became scratched, discolored and dingy but the actual furniture was still functional. Since it was headed for the dump I decided to experiment by painting it with Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan in French Linen. I used a synthetic bristle brush in 2″ to minimize the brush marks.
On its own, the paint is thick which is great for creating interesting texture on furniture and accessories but wouldn’t work so well for this project. To keep the paint flexible, the trick is layer very thin coats, painting each coat in an opposite direction than the last.
I used two different thinning mixes on the furniture. For the parts that have the most give like the seat, back and armrests, I thinned the paint out 30%. This will make the paint pretty runny so don’t load up too much on the brush to avoid runs and drips. The key is to brush out a thin layer which will dry very fast (even on a rainy day the coats dried in 30 minutes) and avoid heavy coats since a thick layer of paint will crack. On parts that didn’t flex as much like the sides and back, I thinned the paint out only 10% which meant better coverage in less coats.
After the first coat DON’T PANIC. I promise your furniture will look better after every coat as the colour becomes more opaque and the coverage improves. The thin wash will keep the paint flexible and prevent it from cracking but it does look a mess for the first few layers.
You’ll know when it’s time for the second (and third and fourth) coat when the first is totally flat and no shiny spots are visible.
In total, I painted 6 thin coats on flexible parts like the cushions/arm rests and four coats on the back and sides. Since Chalk Paint™ By Annie Sloan has no smell, I didn’t have to move the furniture out of the room and only turned on the fans to help with drying time. For all the pieces – couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman, I used 2 quarts of paint and will probably need a large 500ml tin of clear wax (more on that next week). Since I am not a patient person, I couldn’t wait to sit on the chair which didn’t crack (YAY). However, in the classic manner of “do as I say – not as I do” I would strongly suggest waiting at least 48 hours before touching, flexing or waxing your painted leather (or fabric) pieces. This gives the paint a chance to cure.
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