Hand painted couch

I found this very comfortable IKEA couch for $160 at my local Thrift Store. It was in great shape so I snapped it up! Of course, nothing in my house can stay white! I dreamt of the sumptuous fabrics I would cover it with, and began to think of the cost and time involved… when I took a good look at the zip-off white cotton covers of the seat cushions and thought about dyeing and painting it instead. If it looked lousy, I could still cover it.


First application of procion dyes on cotton seat covers.
I washed the loose cushion covers then soaked them in soda ash. I laid plastic sheet out on my work table and floor of my studio and laid them out.

Procion dyes were mixed and brushed on, golden brown first then red and yellow until all the white was covered and the effect was saturated color areas flowing into each other.

The wet covers were “batched” by wrapping them in plastic and left for 48 hours then washing out until water ran clear.


I used dyes on the loose cushions so they would continue to have a soft hand. Here, I am starting to work on the solid covered base with fabric paints until the cushions and base are just about even in tone.


Now the 2 components are fairly matching, and painting is complete. The paint raised the grain of the fabric just like a 1st layer of paint and they needed a very light sanding to take off the raised fibres.


The final touch was working over the entire couch, front, back and sides with stencils and fabric paint in black, burgandy and pink. This needed a very light sanding again.

Cost of project:

$160 couch
$49 procion dyes, soda ash, etc.
$35 fabric paints (used)

I already had searched out these stencils. The fabric paints were the $1.50/bottle type available at local craft supply places. I did buy too many of them as I had NO idea how many I would need. I could have taken unopened ones back but just added them to my stash.

The project took 3 weekends to complete. Thanks, guys, for putting up with a bit of chaos and helping with the sanding and moving around of furniture!