Chalk painted armchair – DIY –



Maybe you are one of those who asked how I´ve painted my upholstered armchair on Instagram or maybe you found this some other way. Anyway you should know that this is not a guide on how to learn to paint with Annie Sloans chalk paint and that I am a amateur!

If you haven´t painted with chalk paint before I recommend you to visit the creator of this awesome chalk paint: Annie Sloan to read more about this paint and various tips and techniques.


Testing underneat the cushion with the colours I thought I wanted to use (undiluted and diluted primer red and duck egg blue)

You can also read Lauren´s blogpost  “The Beginner’s Guide to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint” from The Thinking Closet that is her “corner of D.I.Y. heaven”. You should check her page out even if your not a chalk paint beginner! Thank you Lauren for letting me link to your post.

What ever you choose make sure to read about how to use chalk paint before you start this way you will have much better results!

This description is based on how I painted “the peacock” armchair and probably it can be done in more ways, this is mine. Please note that my armchairs aren´t very heavy used and that it´s not recommended to use this technique on furnitures used everyday.  Always do a test piece first, either on a place where it dosen´t show that well or on a piece of fabric. 


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    Annie Sloan chalk paint, I´ve used Antibes green and Napoleonic blue for the “Peacock”

  • Clear soft wax, a full tin! You will use a lot more then usual (of course you can use coloured wax depending on what look you want).
  • Brush for painting
  • Brush or rag for waxing
  • Rag for buffing
  • Paper towels or toilet paper in case you spill
  • Something to cover your floors with, painter tarp, old news papers and plastic bags or something like that.
  • Jars for water and to mix colour in
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves (5-6 pairs if you use disposable ones)


Make sure you have everything you’re going to use before start painting. Begin with covering your floors, I use a painter tarp that have plastic on one side and I really like it since nothing goes through it.

Some people spray the fabric with water first so it get´s soaked and then paint with a mixture of 80 % chalk paint and 20% water. I don´t! Instead I use a various amount of water and chalk paint. How ever you need to mix some colour with water. The technique of painting with water and chalk paint-mix is called a “wash”.

Mixing the various consistance
Please note that this is approximately how I mix since I don´t measure when I do this myself. When using two various colours you can get many shades depending on how much colour you use of each kind. I like to have many colour shades and therefore I do small mixture since that let´s me vary the shades from blue to turquoise to green.

Here are three examples of mixtures;
1. Thin mix, 25% colour 75% water (for a small amount use ½ dl of colour and mix with 1½ dl water)
2. Medium mix 40% colour 60% water (small amount use 1 dl of colour mixed with 1½ dl water)
3. Thick mix 70-80% colour 20-30% water (small amount 3,5 dl of colour mixed with 1½ dl water)

I use the thin and medium most since I like when the original colour of the fabric “shines through” a bit, but not to much. If it shines through to much I just paint twice since it´s much easier to add colour then removing it!

Time to start painting


Painting process

As you might see my armchair have some parts that is more green, if you want this you start to paint with undiluted chalk paint on some small parts. Do not overload your brush with paint. Using undiluted colour will make the fabric stiff so don´t use it on the whole item! After adding the undiluted parts you take a medium mixed color and paint around this parts and blend the edges out.

Then you go on and paint the rest of the fabric using various mixtures depending on how transparent you want the paint to look. Remember that it´s easier to add more colour! You can however remove a lot of the pigments by using clear water and paper towels to scrub of some colour but it´s hard to remove all of it.


You can see on the backrest where the colour has dried and where it haven´t since the darker parts are still wet.

When all fabric is painted it´s time to paint all other parts. Use undiluted chalk paint and paint as you use to do with chalk paint. If you get undiluted paint on the fabric  when doing this try to blend it out with a finger or paper towel. When the painting is done the armchair must dry. This can take some time depending on your indoor temperature. Mine took about 48 hours to dry.



Here you can clearly see the difference between waxed an not waxed fabric

When dried it´s time to wax. Now forget what you know about the amount of wax you usually use! You will be using a lot more! I never use a brush or a cloth to apply wax with on fabric. Instead I find it better to just put on rubber gloves and use my hands. The gloves will break so make sure you have atleast 4-5 pairs! I take a lump of the wax and squeeze it as bit in my hands. This makes the wax a bit softer and it get´s easier to put on an even layer on the fabric.


Buffed and non buffed wax

Apply wax a small area at time and work your way through all of the fabric. Do not be stingy! If you are the pigment will rub of on your clothes when you start to use your up cycled item! You can always add more wax later if you notice that this is happening. The wax will make the colour to look deeper and darker and the fabric will feel and look a bit leather like after the wax dried. The wax can crack but I think this just give the chair more patina.


Time to rub the fabric

After waxing the fabric you take your wax brush or a cloth and add wax to the rest of your item. When the wax have dried (might take 24-48 hours depending on the fabric) it´s time to buff. Take a clean rag and rub it against the waxed wooden parts and it will soon be shiny. Then take paper towels or rags and do the same to the fabric.

DSC_01304You will probably get some pigments on your rags, that´s ok and means that the excess pigments will end up on your rag and not your clothes. If it´s a lot of pigment you need to wax again and repeat the procedure. Then finish with a vacuum clean of the fabric.

Now to the best part, time to enjoy your work and hopefully a fab piece of upcycled furniture!

I recommend to use clothes your not affraid to ruin the first time you use it just in case something will go wrong. Good luck and thank you for reading!




4 thoughts on “Chalk painted armchair – DIY –

  1. Nancy Newman says:

    I have painted many fabric chairs (in my IG)
    I usually spray the fabric and dilute the paint because i do many thin coats in between drying so that the paint won’t crack. As the paint gets more opaque i add less water to the paint. You definitely have to wait for the paint to completely dry before waxing. I do use the wax brush however to really dig the wax into the painted fabric and also do many coats. I love your color combination and might try that on my next piece. It is so rewarding to see these magnificent old chairs with such beautiful wooden detailing come alive. I usually paint the wood a separate color and distress that paint and depending on the detail use a bit of black Annie Sloan wax. I’ve never tried any other brand of chalk paint or wax because Annie’s paint are so pure and her colors are the best. !!


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