Monday, September 10, 2012

Painted leather dining chairs

When we remodeled our home several years ago I had a little bit of money set aside for a new dining table and chairs.  I wanted white or cream colored chairs, but everything I found was way out of my budget.  I finally settled on some boring brown ones that I found on Overstock.

They've been good chairs, but I haven't liked how dark they are against the black table, dark floor, and dark furniture in the family room next to it.  (See picture below).  I've been wanting to brighten up the room a bit, so I made a table cloth out of curtains I bought at Target (since I couldn't find a tablecloth to fit the size of table I had), which helped.

Then, during my hours of research on DIY things I've done this summer, I came across a wonderful product for painting leather/man-made leather.  It's called Angelus paint, and the professionals use it for painting shoes.  I bought some and have painted several pairs of shoes with them.  It is fabulous stuff, and doesn't even come off the shoe when I scratch it with my fingernail.

I figured that if it worked this well on shoes, it just may work on my chairs!  My husband thought I was crazy for risking it, but I am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying things out, so I went for it.  I ordered several large bottles of the white Angelus paint, and I also ordered pearlescent white Lumiere paint, which gives it a nice shimmery sheen (which I've used on shoes as well with great results).

I prepped them with acetone since the chairs are man-made leather (which is pretty nasty stuff!  I went through so many pairs of plastic gloves and it kept eating through them - yuck).  Then I used a little foam roller and dipped the paint onto a paper plate that I had poured the paint onto.  I did 2 coats of the white on each chair.  I could still see a little bit of brown through the paint and I wish I had done a third coat because when I went to paint the white pearl Lumiere paint on the chairs you could still see streaks of brown through the white paint.  I didn't realize how thin and opaque the Lumiere would be, but I ended up doing 2 coats of that with the foam roller over the white to cover it and get it looking good.  It was still a little streaky, so I used a sponge and sponged another 2 coats all over the chair.  After that I thought they looked pretty good, so I left it at that.  I wish I had taken pictures of the process, but once I start something I get totally into it and I completely forgot since I didn't have anyone to remind me.  :(  It took about an hour for each chair (since I painted 8) from start to finish.

Anyway, I am super happy with how they turned out and they've been really durable.  We've sat in them a lot since then and had guests over and they always ask if we got new chairs.  I love it when my projects actually turn out well!!

(After seeing the picture above and noticing how white the parts of the chairs were where the padding curves around and meets the flat part in back, I went back with a little foam brush and added more Lumiere paint in between those and it doesn't stand out anymore).

Painted leather/faux leather dining chairs

Here are my favorite products to make this transformation complete:

If you want to buy the Angelus paints directly click here:  Angelus Direct (this is an awesome website that sells the Angelus paints, along with some really great tutorial videos).


Update:  It's been almost 7 years now and the chairs are still going strong!!  Not a scratch or crack to be found and we sit in them almost daily.  Here is a picture of them now (2018)...


Mom2Eight said...

When I saw the finished chair I involuntarily said "WOW". They look so amazing!!

Heather Flanagan said...

Michelle, these are amazing! After using them for a while, how are they holding up?

Mama McKinley said...

They are holding up GREAT! I'm super happy with them. The only thing I would have done differently is to take them apart before I painted them so I could get the space where the top and seat of the chair meet. It's not really noticeable, but to make it more professional I should have done that.

(Bee) said...

The chairs look amazing! I have six brown leather chairs that I would like to paint in black because I can't afford to buy new ones to suit my new decor. Now that I have seen how great your chairs turned out I am definitely going to give the diy painting a try.

Anonymous said...

How much paint did u buy for 8 chairs?

Michelle McKinley said...

I think I used 4 of the 4 oz. bottles of the Angelus white. They are only $6 each, so it's a total bargain. I probably could have done another coat on them since I was going lighter, but once I sponged on the Lumiere it was perfect.

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What an amazing job you did, it's just beautiful!
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Ameslynn Oakes said...

Thank you SO MUCH for the 2018 update. I have a brown couch that needs to not be brown :)

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