DIY: Painted Vinyl Chair

For the last year, I’ve been wanting to add a comfy chair to my greenhouse. The only challenge being that the greenhouse while lovely for plants is torturous for furniture. After all, it’s a wet and sun drenched environment. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune having a wing-back reupholstered in outdoor-rated fabric.

So I came up with a solution. I’d use a vinyl chair, but paint it to look like fabric and use a variety of patterns and colors to give it a whimsical look. I think it is a perfect companion to the recently painted concrete floor.

After scouring the web for the best paint to use on a vinyl chair, I decided on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. These chalk paints are most often used on wood furniture, however I found a few articles were other do-it-yourselfers applied the paint to vinyl with fantastic success…. so I took a leap of faith and invested in three small tins of paint. This paint is a bit expensive compared to what is available at a typical big-box retailer and it’s also a little more difficult to find. Although, there are a number of online retailers willing to ship it.

The chair itself is from a junk auction and cost less than the paint. It started out as a rather drab tan color, but I could see the potential. It was the right size and look for my space and to my delight and surprise it is a recliner. So I can truly prop my feet up and read a book.

Here’s the steps taken to transform this old vinyl chair into my new favorite piece:

1.) Clean the chair well and allow to dry.

2.) Choose your favorite paint color and paint the base coats. Here I painted base coats in both white and pink. The welt is painted in graphite, as well as most of the patterns.

3.) After the base coat has dried, use fine grit (like 400) sand paper to smooth the painted surface.

4.) Apply a second coat, if needed and once dry use the sand paper again to make a nice smooth surface.

5.) I chose to use a template, stamp and free-hand paint to create patterns to add greater interest to the chair and give it more of an upholstered look.

The seat bottom’s fabric look was achieved by using a template to paint the white pattern onto the base pink color. I applied just enough paint to achieve the pattern, but subtle enough to give it a more blended fabric look.

The checkerboard pattern was hand-painted using a ruler and small detail brush. It is not without flaws, but the imperfect can sometimes be exactly the look you want.





The butterflies are actually stamped on the white chair arms. I used the grid from wrapping paper to create a perfect grid for the placement of each stamp. I simply used a pencil to break through the wrapping paper and place a small mark for the butterfly stamp. I used a sponge brush to delicately apply paint to the stamp. I tested a few different stamps on extra paper and decided on the smallest butterfly stamp.


The flower on the “wing” of the chair was drawn freehand. It was inspired by a flower on a small metal chair that also resides in the greenhouse. 

After the last coat and pattern of paint was dried, I applied a translucent Annie Sloan wax with a dry, lint-free cloth. Then I went searching for the perfect accent pillow. 

  I hope you feel inspired to repurpose an old vinyl chair. If you do, let me know. Many thanks for visiting. For other articles on painting, check out how I painted the concrete greenhouse floor by clicking here.

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