You guys have totally blown me away with your awesome feedback on our breakfast room chairs – thank you so much! I feel like I’ve had a perma-grin on my face for the last few days. :) (And a huge thanks to Centsational Girl for including my chairs in her “best of the blogosphere” feature!)
So now to the million dollar question – how the heck did I spiff up these slipcovers?
To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to tell you guys. I think some of you will be jumping for joy that it’s so darn easy, and others will be a little disappointed that it didn’t involve any sewing or new fabric.
Here’s all you need to try out this project for yourself:
- fabric that you want to make more awesome (in this case, I used the plain white slipcovers that came with my Ikea chairs)
- fabric paint in the color(s) of your choice (I mixed together 2 colors, and wound up using a total of 22 ounces of paint)
- 1 small artist brush
- 1 slightly larger brush
- a bowl for mixing/holding the paint
- a digital image of a pattern that appeals to you
- a few small pieces of cardboard (like the size of a matchbox)
- a washable fabric pen
Step 1: Create a paper stencil of your pattern. You may remember this fabric that I blogged about back in February when I was considering recovering the Ikea chairs:
Well, I’m kind of in love with it. And while I didn’t like that the pattern on the fabric ran horizontally, that was no problemo since I was making my own stencil. I just printed out a full-page photo of the fabric on typing paper and then cut out the pointed oval shapes with an exacto knife.
Now I had a stencil that I could use to create the pattern vertically on my chairs! (I made a few of these stencils since the process of tracing the stencil onto the fabric caused the edges of the stencil to get a little wonky over time.)
Step 2: Trace the stencil onto your fabric. Pick a starting point for your stencil that will act as a guide to keep the repeating pattern level – I chose the seam along the top of the chairs and it worked really well.
Tip: If your pattern will be wrapping around a corner, think about where you want the pattern to stop. As you can see in the photo below, I let the pattern wrap around the top of the chairs from the front to the back, and from the bottom seat cushion onto the lower sides of the chair – but I stopped the pattern at the vertical seam between the front and back of the chair (if that makes sense). Deciding where to break the pattern will help prevent the pattern from meeting up in an unattractive or weird way.
You don’t have to use a fabric pen to trace your pattern, but I highly recommend it – I’d never used a fabric pen before but now I’m a believer! All of the marks left behind on my slipcover from the great chevron incident came right out with a wet cloth, so it’s great for those “oops” moments.
By the way, this is also a good opportunity to entertain your cat.
Step 3: Mix your paints. Don’t fret if Michael’s doesn’t sell the exact color of fabric paint that you want – you can just mix it up yourself to create a custom color. I mixed 1 part Marine Blue with 2 parts Turquoise to create the deep teal color for my chairs. Tip: When storing my bowl full of paint between painting sessions, I like to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and press down the plastic wrap so that it is touching the paint and the sides of the bowl, and then stick it in the fridge. This helps keep the paint from hardening.
Step 4: Fill in the stencil with paint. This is the part that takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Like for reals. Tip: Here’s what worked best for me – I used the small artists brush to do the outline of 2-3 ovals, then filled them in with the larger brush. Do only a few of them at a time or else the outline will get kind of thick and crusty and you’ll be able to see it even after the paint dries (I learned this trick after I took the photo below). Using a small brush was great for the outline because it lets you get really crisp lines. Also, when you reach creases in the fabric (like where the back rest meets the seat cushion) those small pieces of cardboard come in handy – just stick them in the crease to keep the paint from smudging.
And that’s it! Easy, right? And since all of this was done using fabric paint the slipcovers are 100% washable. I’m incredibly happy with the results – most people assume that the slipcovers were made out of new fabric, so it’s really fun when you get to say that you just painted it on there!!
All in all, this was a super gratifying project – it would be perfect for sprucing up pillow covers, blankets, curtains or even duvets (I’m kind of itching to try that one). Let me know if you give this project a try, I’d love to see it!
Psst! Check out this other project I did with slipcovers and fabric paint.