Thursday, August 23, 2012

Classroom Couch Redo

I've had this little love seat for ages; at least 15 years. Originally I had it in my classroom, but when my teaching assignment changed to only math and science there just wasn't room for her in the room.  So for the last ten years or so she's lived out in the storage building. As you can see she wasn't much to look at; stained and ugly. Well, at least she use to be stained and ugly - now she looks fabulous!

It's hard to believe that it's the same couch. Thanks to this tutorial, she is now a beautiful bright turquoise and  I couldn't be happier with how she turned out. Believe it or not, I didn't recover her - she's painted. Yeah, you read that right - painted  - with latex wall paint. (Exotic Sea semi-gloss by Valspar.)

I won't redo Kristy's tutorial (because it's great) but I'll give you the basic lowdown. I started by giving the old girl a really good cleaning. Then I went right into the first coat because you want to fabric to be wet to help the paint soak in.

The first two coats of paint (mixed with fabric medium) are really watered down and just soaked right into the fabric. The love seat was kind of a canvasey fabric and really sucked up the paint. In fact, after the first coat the color wasn't all that different.

I was glad that in her tutorial Kristy warned readers about how awful her chair looked after the first coat. Here's my couch after the first two coats. Pretty blotchy, huh. But she looked better after each one.

Kristy used acrylic paint for her final coat of, but I just used the wall paint I bought. I had a custom color mixed at Lowe's rather than trying to mix my own out of small bottles of acrylic. You should have seen the face of The Paint Man at Lowe's when I was asking him about the differences between the cheap paint and the more expensive stuff.

"You're going to paint what? Really?"

To his credit, he never gave me "that look" and kindly suggested I get the higher-end paint because he said it had more pigment than the cheaper stuff. He thought since it covered walls in fewer coats there would be more color to soak into the fabric and I'd get a better result. It was about $10.00 more expensive for the gallon, but I think it was worth it. It was just a few dollars more to get a gallon than it was to get two quarts, so I have about 1/2 of the gallon leftover. Now, every time I walk by the ugly old metal filing cabinet in my classroom I keep getting ideas. Before next fall, it may be turquoise as well...

Kristy's chair only took three coats, but my love seat needed four, and the cushion took five coats  to achieve a nice even color. I think it was because of how warn the fabric was in some spots. Those spots soaked up more paint that the less-worn areas. The front edge of the cushion was the worst; it had a spot that was almost threadbare. I actually dabbed a few extra coats on that spot.

Now, you're probably wondering how the couch feels to sit in. It certainly isn't as soft as it originally was, but that's OK - it's in my classroom. The kids aren't going to mind that it feels more like outdoor canvas fabric than something soft and snuggly; they're just going to love having a comfortable spot to read.

I followed Kristy's tutorial (mostly) to the letter. However, I did make a few small changes: 
  • I accidentally bought semi-gloss. No problem, it worked fine, though the fabric does have a slight sheen to it now.
  • I didn't sand. My fabric was woven and I was concerned it would weaken it.
  • I only used latex paint.
If you decide you want to give this a try, check out Kristy's Chair's Page. She's linked to lots of people who have tried her tutorial and some of them have great suggestions. I especially enjoyed the Fails section at the end. Those were all mistakes I wanted to avoid! 

Now I just can't wait to see how the kids react to our new little reading corner. I hope they give it an A+.


Hyphen Interiors said...

I love the way it turned out. What a great sofa to just happen to have on hand - such great lines! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

That is awesome!

Allie said...

How incredibly cool is that - I've used acrylic paint on wall hangings, but NEVER thought to re-do upholstered furniture! I love it, Liz!

Kelaine Mish said...

It looks great in your reading corner. Your kids are so lucky to have you for their teacher?

stitching under oaks said...

how amazing is that! what a fabulous the bright color!

Hyphen Interiors said...

I'm uploading it to my chairs page now!

cmongood said...

Did you let it dry between coats? I'm too excited to wait.