Furniture Rehab · Painted Projects

No Upholstery Needed Bench Make-Over


You may remember this adorable vanity bench in a previous Tuesday’s Treasures post.  I just loved the bird’s eye maple wood and couldn’t bring myself to paint it.  There were specks of paint all over it, so I lightly sanded it with a fine 220 sanding sponge and then put a coat of clear Briwax on it to brighten the finish.  I just love Briwax.  It makes wood finishes feel as smooth as silk.


As you can see by the before picture above, the upholstery was a pretty green, but it had issues.  I’m not sure if it was a stain or fading in the fabric, on the right hand side, but it needed to be dealt with. I didn’t really have any good fabric to recover this bench with and I didn’t have the time to look for fabric, nor did I want to spend money on new fabric.

I took the seat off the frame and inspected the fabric.  It was completely intact and did not show any signs of wear or dry rotting.  I rubbed the fabric with a damp cloth and it was fairly clean, so I decided to chalk paint the fabric.

I’ve been wanting to chalk paint fabric for a while, but wanted to try it on a small project first, and this was the perfect project.  I never did take step-by-step photos, but it is actually pretty easy.  I used Dixie Belle Mineral Chalk Paint in Vintage Duck Egg.  Here is what I did.


  1.  Make sure fabric is clean, with no loose dirt or dust.  Wiping with a damp micro fiber cloth gets off most of the dust.
  2. Starting in small sections, spritz the fabric with plain water until it feels damp to the touch (not soaking wet).
  3. If you are using Dixie Belle Mineral Chalk Paint, you can just begin painting the damp fabric with a damp chip brush or chalk painting brush (no thinning of the paint is necessary).  Use a thin layer of paint.  If you are using a different brand of paint that is thicker, you should thin the paint first with water so that it goes on like regular craft paint or a latex paint consistency.
  4. Continue spritzing sections of the fabric with water and continue painting until one coat is complete.
  5. Allow the fabric to dry for 24 hours, then lightly sand the fabric with 220 grit sand paper.  If the weather is humid, point a fan at the piece while it is drying.
  6. If needed, you can put a second coat of chalk paint on the fabric.  This particular project required two coats.  Allow paint to dry another 24 hours after the second coat.  Once try, lightly sand the fabric again.
  7. You will want to finish the piece with a soft wax designed to protect chalk paint.  I would suggest using the same brand of wax as the chalk paint you are using just to make sure there are no compatibility issues, but it may not be necessary.  I did not use the same brand as I am trying to use up existing stock before switching to the Dixie Belle brand (which I absolutely love).


Doesn’t it look great?  I just love this color too.  All the Dixie Belle mineral chalk paint colors are fabulous.  This one is called Vintage Duck Egg and goes perfectly with the bird’s eye maple.  This bench sold the first day it was for sale.


I hope you enjoyed reading about this project and that it inspired you to take the plunge and chalk paint some fabric.  Below are some affiliate links for some of the products I used to complete this project.

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No Upholstery Needed Bench Make-Over



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