Don’t you wish your couch was AWESOME like me ?
Alright, this is a semi-tutorial, Morgan Culture style.
SimplySpray, the fabric spray paint company I often rave about, recently stopped hiding from me its line of fabric upholstery paint. Or I just can’t believe I didn’t already know about it. Naturally, I had to give it a try.
My couch was bought quickly and cheaply on Craigslist. Whoever designed it should have all his/her design credentials completely stripped. The couch structure is fine, and it’s got a good little hide-a-bed inside: perfect for Couch Surfers, and for that time the ceiling in the bedroom randomly collapsed. But the aesthetics… eesh. When we got it, the couch came with a red slipcover for obvious reasons.
The beige main part of the couch had stains all over it, and the CUSHIONS. Oh, the cushions. The cushions are, for some unfathomable reason, a red-green flowery pattern on the top and bottom AND a yellow-green plaid on the sides. What’s that, you say? I get both floral AND plaid in one? Yes, indeed.
The back of the couch was originally large horrid pillows that matched those I-hope-they’re-fabric-remnant cushions. We threw those away after politely bringing them home from the seller, and replaced those pillows with backing pillows from another beige couch. We at least had SOME continuity. We got a new slipcover, then another, as our dogs* tore through them with their sharp chew-bones… and we thought we’d continue surviving on slipcover after slipcover until we finally had the cash to buy grown-up furniture.
Well, grown-up furniture came sooner than expected. I used a fancy paper cutout from the scrapbooking section of the craft store as my stencil (no offense, scrapbookers). I used both a forest green and an olive color on the beige part of the couch, leaving some of the beige showing through, and layering the two colors over each other. I started with the olive, added the forest, and went back with a bit more olive. I just sprayed one or two touches of my pattern over the back pillows.
The CUSHIONS. Should I leave them in all their glory, I thought to myself? No- then we’d have three mismatched patterns and the couch would become a Magic Eye. I initially tried to use the gray upholstery paint, but it would have taken several more cans than I had to cover that contrast with the flowers. Then I tried the dark green. Same story- lost over the gray, just turned all the flowers green. The two layers together DID fade out the flowers and contrast enough that they were subtle and looked way more intentional. The plaid, since it entered the world a lighter color, was more easily covered up. After racking my brain for ideas on how to pull the design together, I decided on another SimplySpray product- the Stencil Spray. I used the white texture paint very VERY lightly and from far away with the same stencil to bring some lightness back into the cushions. The cushions, still wet with the most recent layer of upholstery paint, absorbed some of the white instead of leaving it all on top, which is exactly what I wanted. The white-ish layer now brings the beige in, and because it was done over a wet layer, feels soft and not “crunchy”.
Success! Oh- and did I mention, these upholstery paints don’t smell bad?
Stains covered. Cushion crisis averted. Not a bad day’s work. And we’re not trying to get rid of it for “grown-up” furniture anymore.
Notes for those considering this project:
-Do one color at a time, and let each dry before you start the next.
-Spread your tarps/dropcloths WAY further than you think the spray will reach. These cans are much larger than the smaller apparel paint ones, and it’s awfully hard to get the couch outside and then back inside, so if you’re working inside remember THESE ARE AEROSOL and you WILL get paint on your floor, walls, self, dogs…. everything, unless you are incredibly careful.
-Buy several stencils. While the stencil paint for apparel will actually preserve your stencils by reinforcing them, the upholstery paint does more soaking. Remember that if you’re using the same kind I used, the stencils are PAPER-based and will fall apart when wet. I went through about 4 stencils for this couch.
-If you’re not painting your entire couch, and leaving some of the original color showing through like I did, you don’t need many cans. Two cans of olive were enough, and less than one can of forest (I used the rest, plus a second can, for the cushions).
*Note: adorable puppies are not included with the upholstery paint. We already had them. Thank you to them and Relentless Cinematography for the photos!
Am I making more fabulous Morgan Culture wedding gowns in the midst of all this couch madness, you ask? Why of course! Stay tuned….