Friday, August 21, 2015

Removing Make-up Stains from Upholstery Fabric

I've finished up a couple of furniture projects last week and will share those as soon as I get a chance to take photos. In the meantime, I was taking a short break to work on some projects around the house. I'm doing a major de-cluttering and also working on organizing tons of old photos which I will eventually store electronically.

I was trying to focus exclusively on my home projects, but I spotted this vanity stool at an auction and just had to have it. The fabric is so beautiful and rich and the seamstress did a fabulous job. The fabric is also is also lined which gives it added richness. And the pleats -- love! 

Sample of stain. It went all the way around.
So what's the problem you ask (as if the title didn't give it away)? The seat was covered in make-up stains. A few spots of mascara here and there and a lot of areas where liquid foundation was spilled over it. But other than the make-up stains it was in otherwise perfect condition. I wasn't sure if I could get the stains out or not, but I felt it was certainly worth a try. So I entered into the bidding war and won - woo-hoo!

I won't keep you in suspense, so I'll tell you now that I was able to remove the stains. But I'll share the process with you. (I will mention the brands I used in this post, but I wasn't compensated in any manner. These are just the products I had on hand.)

My weapons of choice:
Lint free towel, Dryel Stain Remover, Fels-Naptha soap,
water, and a laundry scrubbing brush.

I spritzed Dryel Stain Remover on the affected areas and then rubbed it with a lint-free cloth. I repeated this process at least 5 times and that took care of most of the smaller stains.

Small orange-ish stain in center of photo.
Spritzed on Dryel Stain Remover.
Sorry photo is blurry; I was taking it one-handed!
Scrubbed with a lint free towel. Repeated about 5 times.
Stain is gone!
Unfortunately some of the larger areas were stubborn, so I switched from the lint free cloth to a laundry scrubbing brush. A toothbrush might have worked just as well, but I like the flat brush on fabric.
Stains cover a larger area.
I used a laundry scrubbing brush. But a toothbrush might work, too.
Overall I was pleased with the results from using the laundry brush, but I could still detect some of the orange-ish colored stains. So for my final step, I rubbed the laundry brush on a bar of Fels-naptha soap and applied that to the stain. It took a little bit of patience, but that eventually did the trick. 

Fels-naptha soap removed the last stubborn bits.
The darkened area is just wet and still needs to dry.
Now it's as good as (almost) new! Well, to be honest, if you stop by with a magnifying glass you might be able to detect a shadow of a stain, but for the rest of us, it's undetectable.

Love it!
There is a vanity in the background which I just finished up.
Looking good!

I can see a shadow of a particularly stubborn stain,
but hopefully only because I know where to look. Can you see it?

Otherwise, it's looking in tip-top shape!
I can't wait to get back to painting, but I'll focus on my photo organizing/scanning project this weekend instead. Yes, my weekends are that exciting! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Painting Upholstered Furniture with Chalk Paint

I've painted on fabric before but haven't painted upholstered furniture. Until now that is! I've seen other blogs where it was done and was sort of curious about, but it wasn't on the top of my to-do list. Then my friend Camille recently posted a chair she painted with an acrylic paint (check out her project here!) and she inspired me to give it a try. But I decided to use chalk paint on my project. I'll share with you my step-by-step process to help you decide if you want to give it a try, too.


My aunt's neighbor was going to throw this chair away, but she snatched it up for me instead. I brought it home and was mulling over what to do with it. The fabric was worn and stained, so I considered trying my hand at re-upholstering it (not my forte) or more likely a slip cover. 

I put the project aside (a year ago!) for a later date but then noticed the chair was missing. My husband commandeered the chair to use in his game room. Apparently the chair was the perfect height for him to sit at and view his game board. Obviously he cares more about function than design!

So when I saw Camille's project, I thought about this chair and thought "why not?" I'm not going to sell it, so there's no pressure if it doesn't work out, so this is a good project to practice a new technique on. Plus I figured I could always slipcover the chair if all else fails. 


The fabric has a tight weave to it and the tea cup pattern is slightly raised. So I knew from the start that the tea cups wouldn't disappear altogether, but they should fade into the background. Also, as you can see in the photo below, there are areas on the fabric that are worn away. If it was wood a little sanding or wood filler would do the trick, but for this project I would just have to make do with what I have to work with. 

Worn fabric.
  I decided to paint the base first since I didn't want to tape off the painted fabric later.

I chose Emperor's Silk for the base color. I actually just bought this paint for another big project and it's a bold red for sure, so I wanted to test it out first.

Here's a totally random photo of my outdoor summer workshop. The beach towel is hanging up to block the afternoon sun. If I had known you'd be dropping by I would have tidied up first. :-)

And here's the red drying after two coats. The paint had good coverage, but reds usually (almost always) require at least 3 coats. I'll apply the 3rd coat after I paint the fabric.

I used Old Ochre as the color for the upholstered area. The key to using chalk paint over fabric is to make sure the paint isn't too thick. So before applying paint I dampened the fabric thoroughly with a wet wash cloth. Next, I thinned out the paint with water. For the first coat I used 1/2 cup paint mixed with 2 TBSP water. It was very thin, so I had to be very careful of spattering. I had just enough paint mixed to cover the fabric with the 1st coat. I let the paint dry overnight.

After 1 coat of paint.
For the 2nd coat I used another 1/2 cup paint but this time I mixed it with 1 TBSP water. I didn't wet the fabric beforehand for the 2nd coat, but I had a container of water on hand to dampen my brush when necessary.

Applying the 2nd coat of paint.
The photo below shows the 2nd coat as it is drying. I later touched up a few of the tea cups with undiluted paint. If I was going to sell the chair I would have applied a full 3rd coat, but since my husband is going to use this (and he honestly couldn't care less), I decided to save my paint for another project.

The paint at this point is un-waxed, and if you are familiar with Chalk Paint it has a chalky feel to it, but the fabric is still supple and doesn't crack. I pressed down on the fabric and took a photo to try and demonstrate this for you. 

Next I went ahead and gave the base the 3rd coat of red. I snapped a photo to show how much darker the paint looks after it dries.

Once all the paint was thoroughly dry I applied a coat of soft clear wax. First to the upholstered section and next to the base.


It's difficult to describe the final feel of the painted upholstery. It almost has a feel of leather, but it's not as smooth because it still has the woven texture of the fabric. It reminds me of an oilcloth which is like a vinyl but with a canvas type of texture. When I was a little girl in elementary school we used to use large scraps of oilcloth in art class to cover our work surfaces.

Here's a close up of the where the fabric was worn. Notice you can still see the texture of the tea cups and the worn area. Paint doesn't hide that, but the pattern and imperfections do fade into the background. 


Here's a final look of the before and after:

If I was going to offer a painted upholstery piece for sale, I think I would definitely try it but with one where the fabric is in better condition with little to no wear. But overall it was an easy project that made a dramatic change, so if you have a similar piece then go ahead and give it a try. My cost estimate for this project (not including labor) is $13.50 (paint, wax, and misc supplies). Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Early American Style Dresser

Today I am sharing with you an Early American style dresser and mirror that I bought at an auction. It's a large piece and not something that is practical to move constantly. So I put it in my living room until I had time to work on it. After it was finished I put it back in my living room since my booth was full. It's a balancing act to keep the booth stocked and have a supply of inventory ready to go, too.


As I mentioned, it is a large piece. And heavy, too! I cannot even begin to lift it with the drawers in. With the drawers out it is a little easier but it's not something I want to move on a daily basis. It's made of solid wood and the drawers are extra deep which allows for plenty of storage.

My guess is this dresser was manufactured mid-century (-ish). It's not an actual early American piece, but rather a nice reproduction.

The veneer on the original was very pretty, but there was minor wear and tear over the majority of the surface area, so it was ideal for a fresh new look. In addition to the removable mirror, it also has a tempered glass top which was custom made for the dresser. I took the glass off for the "after" photos, but will put it back on when I offer it for sale.


I considered doing something "wow" to really play up the details on the dresser, but in the end I went with an elegant white finish and let the details remain subtle. I think the overall effect is restful and calming which works well for bedroom furniture. I very lightly distressed some areas and gave the drawer fronts a worn heirloom finish to make it appear that it has naturally aged over the years. I'm still debating if I like the worn finish and might tone that down a little before I take it to the booth.

I actually finished the dresser over the 4th of July weekend, and yes it has been sitting in my living room since then. But I finally got the other furniture pieces cleared out so I could snap some photos of this one. But I need to get it out of the house before cooler weather sets in so we can enjoy the fireplace. Since then I've finished more projects and added a few more pieces back into the room!  Honestly sometimes it gets a little crazy around here. My husband takes it all in stride, but I'm secretly hoping he gets fed up one day and says, "Honey, this is crazy; I'm going to buy you a workshop!"

Dimensions: 51" wide x 24" deep x 35" high (height with mirror attached is 70 1/2" high) 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Desk Part 4: Adding Color

Previously on Part 3 of the Desk Series I painted the trim and added raised stencils to the panels. Finally it's time to add some color to the desk!  

I applied two coats of a custom mix of Louis Blue to the panels and drawer fronts. Then I took a damp washcloth and wiped the blue from the stenciled area to reveal the black underneath. 

Finally I sanded and waxed the painted finishes. Oh and in-between I painted the hardware and the interior of the drawers. Oftentimes it's not necessary to paint the drawers, in fact I avoid it if at all possible. But these drawers needed it for sure.

Here are photos of the after. "After" is used loosely; I'm undecided about the intensity of the blue and debating on adding a glaze to either darken it or tone it down. I like the blue but there might be too much contrast with the dark stain on the top. Or maybe I should paint the top to match the trim?  What do you think?

Project summary:

Base coat of shellac (x 2)
Java Gel stain on top
Old Ochre on trim, hardware, and drawer bottoms (x 2)
Raised stencil on panels
Custom mix Louis Blue & Old Ochre on panels and drawers (x 2)