Hiya! Mandi here! Have an old vinyl chair that needs a makeover? I had thrifted a pair of black ʼ70s bar stools that weren’t exactly uggos, but they were kind of boring and stood out a bit more than I’d like against the bright white office wall in our living room. I wondered if a little paint could do the trick, but my mind kept churning, and I got stuck on the idea of a patterned chair. A plaid chair! Kind of a bold idea, considering my original complaint about the chairs being too bold. Well, I think I settled on a nice, tasteful makeover for my vinyl chairs by combining some paint and gingham fabric. Check out all the details below!
-vinyl chair (duh)
-spray paint for plastic
-Mod Podge (preferably indoor/outdoor)
-varnish (only needed if you use regular Mod Podge)
-paint or foam brush
-material to cover chair legs (I used plastic grocery bags)
Step One: Thoroughly clean the chairs, then cover the legs with painter’s tape and plastic bags.
Step Two: Cover the chair with a few light coats of spray paint. Make sure you use the type that bonds to plastic. I did two coats and waited a week to do another two.
This project was pretty easy, but it required lots of patience right after I got started. That’s right—I waited an entire week for the paint to dry! The waiting period drew out the length of this project, though the individual steps themselves were accomplished fairly quickly. I’ll admit, during that week of tacky paint, I really wondered if the paint would ever cure. But I had read Jenny’s experience with painting vinyl at her blog Little Green Notebook, which gave me the confidence to see it through. So I waited. Then on the eighth day, the paint wasn’t tacky anymore! So I added two more coats of paint and then moved on to the next step.
Step Three: Cut out pieces of fabric to fit on the back and seat of the chair. If you’re working with a pattern, make sure the lines are straight with the lines of the chair.
Step Four: Coat the back and seat of the chair with a thick coat of Mod Podge. If you don’t already have a bottle of Mod Podge, buy the kind suitable for outdoors. If you have the regular kind, just get a small bottle of varnish to use in step nine.
Step Five: Press the fabric onto the Mod Podge-covered sections and smooth it out with your hand.
Step Six: Trim away the excess fabric along the piping or seam of the chair. Be very careful—you need to cut closely, not not too close. If there’s piping, make sure you have a little overlap for the next step.
Step Seven: Using the curved tip of scissors (do not use scissors with a sharp tip) or your fingernail, push the excess fabric under the piping.
Step Eight: Cover the fabric with Mod Podge to complete the adhering process.
Step Nine: If you used regular Mod Podge instead of the outdoor-safe variety to adhere the fabric, you will need to protect the surface from moisture by sealing it with a varnish. If you use an oil-based varnish, you probably shouldn’t use a foam brush. Or just throw the brush away when you’re finished.
I love how the new chairs turned out, and thanks to the sealant on top of the fabric, they can still be quickly wiped down with a wet cloth. You never know what a little paint and Mod Podge can do to transform something from trash to treasure. –Mandi
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Spring and Valentine of the Signature Collection.
Curious to know how this held up? Thinking of doing this to vintage vinyl rockers.
Hi Mandi! Hoping to use this wonderful guide to do 6x kitchen chairs (those 8days waiting for dry paint are gonna kill me!)
I noticed that there was some damage to the vinyl on the front seat of one of the chairs, and since I’m working with old vinyl dining chairs with a number of scratches and cracks in the fabric, and I was trying to figure out the best way to handle the same sort of problem! Did you just use more paint over that scratched area? I was thinking of using shoe glue to cover them crack and then a little sanding – but perhaps paint would do since the fabric isn’t split? I’ve never done this sort of thing before so I hoped I could ask for your input!
Thanks for any/all advice, and love love love your chairs!
Now I know how to cover the vinyl upholstery around my motorhome doors and ceiling. Thanks, I had no idea Modpodge would work!
I promise— It’s totally durable! You just have to make sure to seal it with varnish. And if the chair has piping and you push the fabric into the piping, it looks like a factory-finish. 🙂 -Mandi
I did not think you could mod lodge fabric to vinyl and have it weather a butt sitting on it! I am totally trying this on my cheapo black vinyl barstools!
Honestly, I think it probably depends on how fluffy your chair is. For a regular ol’ kitchen vinyl chair that isn’t overstuffed, it would probably last about as long as any old vinyl chair would— for lots of use until it just gives up and eventually cracks. -Mandi
Looks super cute! xx
Wow! they look really great! i love the idea
i want to try it with a chair in my room 🙂
soo cute! love the fabric you chose!
Great project! Do you think the “give” would be as flexible with the outdoor MP vs the way you did it with the varnish finish? Thank you!
Totally adorable! It looks so much more fresh with the makeover!
Very Nice Ladies, your creativity appears endless, can’t wait for more great DIY ideas.
Wow…I thought this was going to be an upholstery project!! Can’t believe how chic the finished product looks, all care of a little Mod Podge, fabric, paint…and patience!!
I love this idea! The chairs look great. 🙂
Loving this DIY! Brings brightness compared to the black!
Janine Maral from http://www.janinemaral.com/
Reupholstering is certainly a good idea if you love the chair but the fabric is in bad shape. My vinyl was in good shape other than me wanting it to be a different color, so I went the easier/less expensive route. It’s holding up really well and I love the way it looks! -Mandi
How lovely! I am so excite to try this on my next find.
So cute! Love how it can be tailored to whatever colour scheme that suits! // timidlioness
What about replacing the vinyl on old vinyl chairs?
I love retro vinyl chairs! The combination of white + a pattern looks great on them!