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Epic Fail

Once upon a time... I got an AWESOME deal off KSL. A Vintage Ethan Allen Settee that was comfortable, had whimsical lines, still in excellent condition, and cost me just $5. The only thing wrong was the color. It was a peachy pink color with little flower sprigs dotted all over it like polka dots. Not my favorite. In every other respect it was exactly what I wanted for my girly office. I brought my prize home and quickly ordered yards of white cotton canvas with which to reupholster.

Then I procrastinated... for a long time. After about six months my daughter called and asked me to "style" a photo shoot for her blog The Style Gala (my daughter is wearing the plaid drindl skirt) She was doing a "Galentine's Day" photo shoot featuring Shabby Apple dresses and she flattered me by requesting that I decorate the set for her. That sounded like a really good time to me and I immediately agreed. What should I decorate the set with? Of course, my settee! Only I wanted it to be white within two weeks and I had no time and no experience with upholstery. What to do?

While browsing Pinterest I found lots of tutorials on how to paint upholstered furniture and have it still "feel like fabric" or "feel like leather." Perfect! I went with the tutorial that suggested using full strength latex paint straight out of the can and promised a "leather like" finish. I just started brushing the paint onto the upholstery full strength.

It required 4 coats of full strength paint to make it opaque (1st coat above). Well, for purposes of the photo shoot it was perfect but if you wanted to live with this piece long term it was a complete failure. It was stiff and scratchy and because I used flat paint it absorbed all the dye from new jeans by way of fabric transfer not to mention regular old daily dirt. Not recommended. To be fair many tutorials did suggest sealing it with wax which may have made a difference as to feel and filth haha.

I think I should have gone with the tutorials that call for diluting the paint with either fabric medium or water or sometimes both. Might have found success with those methods. Based on personal experience I would say definitely DO NOT paint your fabric furniture with full strength wall paint unless you really did spend only $5 for it and will just reupholster the piece if it doesn't work out for you.

Random Fact:

The pink tassels on the table are SO easy and even fun to make. I'll have to do a tutorial for them; I was really happy with how they turned out. Ok, I am convinced, tassel tutorial coming soon.

We only used the settee a few times in the shoot - most of the pictures were with the table not the settee. So what happened to my painted settee after the photo shoot was over? Ultimately I sold the settee in a furniture consignment store to someone who said they were going to recover it with new fabric. Then I went out and bought a new love seat from Wayfair for the office, pictured below (that's an advert pic not my office). I can't find this sofa on Wayfair anymore so I imagine it's no longer available.

I still have about 10 yards of white cotton canvas. Maybe I'll try again with another piece in the future; I would really like to have a go at reupholstering a love seat or sofa. I think I could find a small degree of success. Probably it's a better idea to start smaller for a first project though. Whatever I might attempt I know what color it will be: white; since I already have the fabric. If anyone reading this is a master upholsterer and wants to bring in an apprentice as a part time assistant (in Utah) I'm down for that. I'm sure I could find another bargain sofa for experimentation.