DIY Painting Project: Painting Upholstery and Dyeing Fabric with Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan

“Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan provides users with endless possibilities – as people are just discovering – it’s not just for painting furniture,” says Annie.  “In my latest book, Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More , I show how painting upholstery with Chalk Paint™ is a brilliant way to rescue a chair with old fashioned or stained fabric that you don’t want to reupholster.  It’s also a fast way to change the furniture’s colour scheme.  And it’s so easy.”

Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More by Annie Sloan_ _3. painting upholstery with Chalk Paint™_1

LEFT: The whole chair is painted in Paloma Chalk Paint, with just a little Old White added to the arms and around the back.

For the best results, Annie recommends the following steps, preferably on a natural fiber fabric such as cotton or linen:

•Spray the fabric with a water bottle to dampen the fabric first, but make sure you don’t get it overly wet.

•Thin your chosen Chalk Paint™ colour with a small amount of water to make sure it goes on easily. Keep water on hand to re-dip your brush as needed.  The paint needs to absorb into the fabric on the chair seat or chair back, without going all the way through to the upholstery padding underneath.

•Use a scrubbing motion with the paintbrush as you apply to spread the paint around.

•Then let the paint dry thoroughly in a warm, dry place.

•Chalk Paint™ can also be applied in this way to any type of fabric, including leather, but natural fibers have better absorption properties.  Fabric with a texture or raised pattern can take on an exciting new look.

•Leave the fabric untreated, or wax and buff to create a leather look.  Either way, the results are transformative, easy, and the new colour won’t rub off.

Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More by Annie Sloan_ _2 painting upholstery with Chalk   Paint™_3

•For information on choosing colours see the Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan Colour Card available from Annie Sloan stockists throughout Canada: 

Annie Sloan demonstrated the painting upholstery technique on Hallmark’s ‘Home & Family’ TV show:

DYEING FABRIC WITH CHALK PAINT™ is also simple and inexpensive, as it takes only a very small amount of paint to create impressive results.  In Colour Recipes Annie explains how fortunate she was to be given a ‘huge pile of gorgeous linen’ by her elderly French neighbour.  Dyeing the fabric emphasized its texture. The intensity of the final colour depends on the ratio of paint to water, the paint shade, and the fabric type – with natural fabrics working best.

Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More by Annie Sloan_ 2. Dyeing Fabric  with Chalk Paint™_2

For cotton or linen sheets you will need:

•Chalk Paint™ – deep pigmented colours work best, e.g. Aubusson Blue, Scandinavian Pink, Antibes, etc.


• Fabric

•Large (galvanized) metal tub

•Stick for stirring

•Optional rubber gloves

Pour a quantity of paint into tub, mix in 20 parts water to one part paint, but adjust according to the final colour desired.  Mix thoroughly and soak the fabric for approximately 30 minutes, turning occasionally for even coverage.  Rinse and drain well of any excess water. Hang outside to drip dry or use your dryer.  Then use fabric to make drapes, blinds, or anything you wish.


Look out for more Advanced Furniture Painting Projects from Annie Sloan soon.  Further inspiration for all levels of painting projects can be found on the Annie Sloan website:  See also the Annie Sloan step-by-step Tutorial Series at: 



Websites: and






Chalk Paint™ comes in quart cans (946ml), priced at approximately $45.00 and in 4 oz. (100ml) sample pots, priced at approximately $13.99 (regional price variations and shipping charges apply) and can be purchased from 30 nationwide hand-picked stockists for Chalk Paint™ and other Annie Sloan products.

Photos courtesy of
Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and more
by Annie Sloan
CICO Books, $28.95 CAD
Photo credit: Photography by Christopher Drake

Leave a Reply