Repurposing Old furniture for Themed Shoots
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Thursday, January 12, 2017
By BHD Collective
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One day a couple of months ago, I was taking my children to school and I see this awful green couch in the yard of someone in my neighborhood.  This is generally what people do when they are wanting to get rid of bulk furniture and have the trash company pick it up. Well, this couch caught my eye because of the structure and I thought I could possible experiment with it.  So I drove past it a few times on errands, in and out of the neighborhood.  Each time, I was having mental brainstorms on how I could do something with this little ugly couch.  I had a shoot coming up and it could be perfect for the theme that I was shooting.  

So I decided to just go for it.  What did I have to lose?  It was free and if I messed it up, it could go right back out to the curb.  The first thing I did after I got it home, was spray it with THIEVES (Young Living Essential oils to kill whatever fumes or germs it could possible have).  Next, I decided to look up on You Tube on How to refurbish a couch, quickly.  I started seeing videos tutorials on how to paint couches. I like upholstery fabric but I didn't have time to teach myself how to do that within the time frame that I had. So I grew more interested in the Chalk Paint on furniture concept.

I watched about 3 hours of different tutorials and then decided on a combination of quick fixes between the videos. I am semi-homemade gal. I like to study multiple sources, pull out their mistakes, refine them and then create my own quick version of a little bit of this and that to work out my method; smarter not harder.   So in my research, I discovered that Chalk paint was a really semi-quick DIY solution to painting furniture as opposed to dying furniture. Well, that's what the tutorial said. It really ended up being a 3 day process because of the drying of the paint. Chalk paint is good on furniture because its breathable on the fabric and not as stiff.  After sanding and waxing, the furniture will be smooth.  One of my favorite videos was by Rachel Piererra:


Here were my steps:

1. I went to Home Depot and bought 2 pints of Chalk Paint, painters tape and 2 cans of Wax finish.  I also bought some dark stain so that I could repaint the legs of the chairs.  

2. I decided to paint a couch and an old chair that I had laying around the house as well. So I taped off the chairs first. 

3. Then I used a water bottle to dampen the fabric. It helps the paint to adhere to the fabric. 

4.  I was supposed to dilute the paint first, heavily with water but forgot that step and painted the whole couch and wondered why I ran out of paint.    Duh!!!

5. After a quick trip to the store for another can of paint-Rustic Dark Red (different color because I didn't like the original color), I proceeded to paint, not allowing the first coat to full dry giving me this weird light burgundy color...another result of rushing through this DIY job.  Haha!

6. After letting it sit for a day, I went back over the couch and chair with the now diluted paint. (it was extremely cold outside, so I started at 8am and came back 4pm to apply the 3rd coat). I was aware that I was supposed to wait in between days, but I was in a rush and needed it for an upcoming shoot.

7. On the third day, I sanded the couch and chair. It was really surprisingly smooth compared to its previous raw paint stiff feeling. 

8. I added a layer of wax. It looked great and I was supposed to be finished; however, it still wasn't quite finished. Something was missing.


After sending a phone pic over to my very good friend, Adria, she suggested adding a little more depth.  Hmmm..."How about using the stain?"  Then, shortly afterward, I receive a text from my artist hubby, who also saw the phone pic.  "How about creating some contrast?"  So, I pulled out the stain and contrasted away like I would create contrast on one of my clients via makeup or photoshop. I was imagining that the couch was a face. Haha!  (I know, crazy right?!)

Well, here is the result, of my first couch & chair baby!  Would I do this project again, probably not, but it was fun to say that I created this look. It worked out great for the Portrait session. I was very pleased with the results and can use that furniture again on other projects and sessions.

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