My Projects

Fabulous Misadventure of a Thrift Store Chair


What happens when you find an arm-chair at a thrift store that is perfect in every way except the color and then spend several hours following Pinterest links that promise the perfect way to fix said color?

A mess.

A costly, time-consuming, frustrating mess.

Method 1: Rit Dye

Rit dye does not condone the use of their dye for this purpose; but there are several bloggers that said this method provided amazing results for their velvet furniture revivals.


I filled an old bowl with hot water, added dye and salt. This mixture was actually two packets of Tulip turquoise dye and one bottle of Rit Navy blue (I had these already so it was no addition cost). I used a wide paint brush and brushed it onto the chair. My initial response was excitement… and then… IMG_20160719_114033

It got blotchy when it dried. The dye rubbed off onto EVERYTHING. When my son splashed water on it from his pool it made huge spots of the original color. So I took a hose to the chair until the water ran clear and let the chair sit in the sun.

Method 2: Rit DyeMore

Wal-Mart had a dye that I had never seen before that is specifically formulated for polyester. I figured since the chair didn’t absorb any of the regular formula Rit, that the DyeMore might actually work. I got Graphite since it was dark enough to cover the green.


It was dark by this time, so I had to do this stage in my kitchen with lots and lots of old towels on the floor. I would boil one cup of water and added 6 capfuls of the dye and then brushed it onto the chair. When I went to bed that night, I loved the result!!! When I woke up and set the chair outside to dry in the sun… I wanted to cry. Blotchy again… but at least the dye didn’t keep coming off when I rubbed my hand over the fabric.

Method 3: Spray Paint

This was the method that I had originally planned to use until I heard too many negative comments about the fabric feeling stiff, crunchy, leatherish. It seemed many other bloggers had the best results using watered down paint and sanding in between layers. I felt lazy at this point a bought 3 cans of Valspar Project Perfect Paint + Primer Secluded Garden color in a Satin Finish and a 2-pack of fine grit sanding sponges.


The paint went on nicely and covered many of the tie-dye flaws that the dye caused. I put on several light coats and sanded well between each coat. The fabric was softest if I was careful to spray paint and sand with the nap of the velvet not against.


I carefully painted antiquing glaze onto the nailhead trim and onto the chair legs. The color suits the room much better now; but the fabric texture has changed drastically. It is not plush, soft, and silky anymore. It’s not horrible though and I can totally live with it for now.

If I knew the finished results before I started, I think I would have left the chair as it was. I’ll be saving my pennies to afford a trip to the upholstery shop sometime in the future because it is a wonderfully constructed chair. I think the dye method would work the best IF the fabric takes the dye. I would love to try different materials and different dye manufactures. I know there are better dyes on the market than RIT.

Please share with me if you have ever tried these methods (or if you have a different method) and the results that you achieved.



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