Published on July 13th, 2006 | by Jules Yap


hate the fabric colour? just paint it!

nothing like new colour to bring an old piece of furniture back to life. but when you have non-removable fabric covers … bummer? maybe not.

greg of ecoroofs everywhere shows us on his ikea skruvsta how you can paint the fabric and even make it look like vinyl.

this is greg’s skruvsta. in its previous life, it had prints and a pedestal with castors. 
he painted it honey yellow and added in a retro looking pedestal he scavenged.

“i used acrylic paint and added fabric medium, sometimes called textile medium. that turns the paint into fabric paint.

tip! most people use ‘art store paint’ you buy in expensive little bottles, but a little known fact is that you can use regular old house paint, as long as it’s acrylic. I think it might have to be latex too but I’m not sure.

i then did a test patch on the bottom of the cushions.

but the old print/colour showed through the yellow paint. i got kilz primer and had it tinted yellow at home depot. you’ll have to make sure that the primer is water based latex as the oil based version has chemicals in it that would eat the foam that the chairs are made out of.

next, i washed the fabric to remove any sizing stain blocker that interferes with paint adhesion. i didn’t wait for it to dry, just painted on the kilz with a brush after adding a little (few ounces) of fabric medium.

tip! i bought the biocolor brand from earlychildhood as it was by far the cheapest and easiest to use, as no heat set is required and costs around $10 for a 16 oz bottle, (with shipping).

i sunned the chairs for a couple of hours till they were dry, then painted two additional coats. i bought a gallon of paint for two chairs, but could have gotten away with just one quart, i think.

i’d say you can probably paint any fabric this way. acrylic paint is by nature extremely flexible and there’s no cracking at all. the texture is more like vinyl than the original cotton. the colour doesn’t seem to fade in the sun. so far no problems at all after 4 months.”

sounds complicated to me. but i’m sure you diy pros out there dig this.

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

3 Responses to hate the fabric colour? just paint it!

  1. Unknown says:

    I was wondering how much fabric medium you used to a gallon of paint? Is it half and half?

  2. Anonymous says:

    AWESOME! Thanks…gonna get started tomorrow on an oldie but goodie chair =) Thanks again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    perfect, exactly wat im looking for. planning to do my car roof liner thanx

  4. Anonymous says:

    d'oh. You know, I read up to “had the Kiz tinted yellow,” jumped right into “must tell them it comes in colors!” mode, and didn't actually note that fabric medium was added to it. Good show!

  5. Jules says:

    thanks for the tip.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kilz actually now comes tinted, in spray cans. I've seen it at several hardware and department stores.

    It really wouldn't hurt to add fabric medium to your regular acrylic paint, though. Keeps it flexible. It's likely to chip in the future if you don't.

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