Many of you have been asking about the infamous paint project – or otherwise known as “that damn couch” – which I have finally completed during my blogging hiatus (see my February post before the blog strike here). I had first shared about our crappy-looking but conveniently-free couch when I wrote about being uprooted and about replanting – Our Story: Uprooted to Grounded – after our daughter passed away. But today THIS post is dedicated to the story of: The Painted Couch. Beware, readers, of the deep dark pit of paint, the scary blue monster, the tiny sharp nails, and the twisted sense of creativity. Yes, it still has a happy ending 😉
PREFACE: I really love house projects. Not washing-dishes-by-hand, constant-loads-of-laundry, or grocery-shopping-in-costco projects (as afore mentioned in my post about having a daily routine). Those are boring
necessary projects! I really love creative house projects – improving what I have or building something better or redesigning a functional space. So, sometimes I bite off more-than-I-can-chew projects…
I’ll be honest with you, painting my couch was mammoth. It was a larger than life project. It’s been one of the most challenging I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a few before. Here are some of the highlights – I did quite a lot of online research before creating a plan and design, I used way more paint than I had anticipated, I doubled my budget for the project, I got a full-body workout every time I worked on it, the entire project took me two months, the couch is fully usable and still just as comfortable and much more appealing.
So, without further ado, this is the story of the The Painted Couch…
When I heard that someone 5 minutes from my house was giving away a free couch, I was intrigued but not sold. I wanted to know if it would be worth hauling and using. I went to visit the couch – to test its couchiness qualities – softness, cushiness, longness, depthness, all those nessesesesssss. A week went by and I considered whether or not it was worth it. My standard of worthiness? Whether or not I could transform it. I decided it was worth a shot, so my husband and buddy muscled the steel frame beast into our tiny farmhouse living room. The challenge was on.
Pinterest had enlightened me on the wonders of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and I dreamed of someday having my own Annie Sloan Chalk Paint euphoria. [Seriously? No, I’m not a Pinterest addict or a Martha Stewart worshipper. Get back to the story!] I’d seen Annie Sloan Paint on wood, metal, antiques, beat up furniture. But I wondered how truly magical chalk paint could be. Was it magical enough to transform fabric? As I investigated further I discovered that Annie Sloan herself had painted chair cushions! So it could be done with fabric and other dare-devils had done it on their sofas (example from Reloved Rubbish). Why not me? Why not paint my own pathetic couch?
I gathered up my materials: a plastic bucket (could’ve been smaller), a wooden stirrer, a plastic spray bottle, an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint brush (absolutely necessary), and a few cans of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint cans.
My original plan was to mix two colors in order to achieve a blueish green, old velvet looking couch. Here are a few examples of how that went:
As strange as it looks, it actually was not alarming at this stage of the process. I expected it to be pea-soup green with the first couple coats and I expected the paint to be a thin wash over the original dingy-white. However, I had not anticipated how much muscle power was going to be required to spray down the entire couch, which became more and more of a mammoth as time went on; I also had not anticipated the amount of elbow grease that I would have to muster every time I picked up the paint brush and scrubbed the paint into the nap of the fabric. It was a.lot.of.intense.labor; AND I had not anticipated the amount of paint I was going to need to finish the entire couch – all sides and cushions.
I decided to change course but stick with my original vision. I still wanted a velvety like, old library looking couch, but I needed to vamp up the color in order to use less paint and to cover the original shade of seaside pea green. Unfortunately, it was making my husband seasick just looking at it, so I collected more cans of blue paint and pounded the fabric for another week.
Now, here the plot thickens. I had begun to use less water in my paint mix in order to achieve a higher pigment for staining the fabric. But it seemed no matter how little water I used, the paint soaked right through and into the cushions. It was very very frustrating. At this point I had been working for about 6 weeks, and I was exhausted. I had a mammoth blue monster hanging out in my living room. I had invested too many of my precious pennies into transforming him that I couldn’t abandon him. When I wasn’t with him, he would growl from across the house and when I was with him he would give me the evil eye. I was becoming afraid of his Houdini-like soaking skills! Where was all that paint going? How many more layers of stain would be needed? What kind of blue monster was I creating? Could I tame it?
Well, somehow somewhere along the way – either too close to midnight or during my nap time (for real) – the couch began to become more blue and less washed out, the paint was sticking more to the nap and soaking less into the batting. All at once, it was time to wax.
Say wha???? Yes, not wax my eyebrows or my bikini line. Wax the COUCH. Annie Sloan has created a wax product to accompany any decorative chalk paint project. The paint is sufficient in and of itself, but the wax allows more wear and tear and lends to a distressed effect on other types of furniture. In this case, the wax sets the paint and protects the stained fabric. Without the wax the paint would NOT rub off; the wax simply coats and protects. Waxing the couch was actually the easiest and most pleasant part of the entire ordeal.
For this stage of the process, the materials I needed were: cotton paint cloths, super fine sandpaper, the Annie Sloan wax brush, a can of Annie Sloan Clear Wax.
Like I said, I’d intended for the couch to look vintage, velvety, and textured. The look reminded me of an early 1900s tufted leather study room sofa. So, in order to achieve that style, I sanded the fabric so that it would soften, I waxed the fabric to set the stain, and I nailed upholstery tacks to the face of the sofa arms.
Hallelujah! The mammoth blue monster has been tamed and transformed into an elegant blue treasure, and it suits our farmhouse quite well! The fabric of the couch is still soft and comfortable to lounge on; my husband and I are still married after all those buckets of paint and sexless nights; and our living room is complete with the perfect free yet upscaled, crafty yet unique BlueBird Haven couch.
**Come again for more crazy BleuBird Mama endeavors & stories, and please feel free to shoot me any questions in the comment section or at the top under “Contact.” Thanks for reading my story of The Painted Couch!**
Till next time,
In the hands of the potter,