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Free Ultimate Furniture Painting Guide

How to Decoupage on Fabric: Bold Whimsical Tattoo Chair

Have you ever wondered if you could decoupage on fabric? Have you ever wished you could create art on a fabric chair but you aren't quite ready to tackle painting a scene by hand?

What if I told you you can do both!

The ability to decoupage onto a fabric chair allows you to create a feature piece of art.....making you look like a PRO!!

So go grab an ugly chair......your favorite decoupage paper.....and lets do this!

You're going to LOVE this project!

tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

If you are a new reader, hello and welcome to the Fancy Fam! With over a decade of furniture painting experience, I can honestly say that sharing my projects through this blog is still my favorite way to inspire! I've got years worth of fun and creative ways to update your home decor and furniture through paint! If this sounds like something you'd like to have delivered to you every Sunday be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter here!

Finding the Right Chair

Finding the right chair for this project is probably the most difficult part. Even though we are using decoupage, I still prefer to avoid velvet or any fabric with a really raised texuture (pile). Anything else works really matter what color it is.....and this includes leather and pleather! It is also important to choose a chair with fabric that is in tact....without holes and tears.

fabric chair before photo

I found this chair at my local Goodwill. It was well built, sturdy and I LOVED the wide and roomy seat. So many chairs in this style are small and dainty and I just felt this chair gave off a power-vibe that was perfect for the paper I was planning to use.

Supplies Used

Saran wrap

Exacto knife


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Prep the Decoupage Fabric Chair - It's so Important!

After a quick vacuuming and light wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth, the chair is ready to be prepped for paint.

I use BOSS in gray on every fabric chair that I paint. This product blocks all stains, odors and serves as a great color blocker. It is easy to apply and usually only requires one coat to do a good job.

dixie belle BOSS as primer for fabric chair

I use a synthetic brush....usually the MINI by Dixie Belle....and apply in full strength in a thin coat.

applying dixie belle BOSS as primer for fabric chair

This sets ups the perfect blank canvas for you to begin painting in whatever style you have planned.

Decoupage on Fabric Chair: Step-by-Step Instructions

Paint & Metal Leaf the Chair Frame

This particular chair I did in the following order PRIOR to beginning the decoupage process:

1. Painted all fabric areas of chair with two coats of Silk in Saltwater.

2. Painted all wood areas of the chair with a single coat of Caviar Chalk Mineral Paint.

3. Applied both Pink and Red metal leaf OVER the black painted areas....fully covering the wood frame with the metallic shimmer.

See more on this process on my gold leafing blog HERE. Or for even more detailed leafing instruction, visit my metal leafing tutorial...

There really are no rules regarding the order you work in. I usually work intuitively - following my ideas as they come to me. So it may not always be the best order to follow but it worked for me here!

Applying Decoupage on Fabric

Gathering your tools

To prepare for the decoupage process you will need the following tools in reach:

1. decoupage paper of your choice (the vintage tattoo rice paper I used can be found HERE)

2. your application medium ( I used DB Satin Top Coat)

3. scissors

4. exacto knife

5. paint brush of choice

6. saran wrap

Just get you and your project in a good position with your tools within reach.

To Trim or Not to Trim

You can pre-trim your paper to fit your area if you prefer. Or you can trim or tear the pieces that you plan to adhere to your fabric.

If you plan to cover the entire fabric area you will want to leave your large sheet intact and trim after its placed.

laying tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

How to Apply the Decoupage Paper

1. Apply your medium to the painted fabric surface.

I usually start at the top of the chair back and apply the medium in a small section. Then, I lay my paper down over just the damp area.

laying tattoo decoupage paper on fabric by Traceys Fancy

It is ok if you don't lay it down straight the first time. You can lift and reset easily while your medium is wet.

Once its where you want it, smooth down that area working from the center out to the sides.

tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

PRO TIP: Use a wadded up ball of the saran wrap to smoothing it out. The saran wrap glides easily over the paper avoiding tears that will sometimes happen if you are just using your fingers.

Continue this process (adding another row of medium and pressing paper into it) working your way down until your paper is fully adhered.

applying adhesive for decoupage fabric chair by Traceys Fancy


More Inspiration: Decoupage Furniture

I have blogged about decoupaging a variety of pieces and surfaces over the years! Here are more of my unique styles for your inspiration:


Sealing your Decoupage Project

I then immediately apply more medium over the top of the paper from top to bottom and begin working out any wrinkles using the ball of saran wrap.

How to Trim the Decoupage Paper after Applying

There will now be excess paper around the edge of the cushion.

removing excess decoupage paper on fabric chair by Traceys Fancy

I used my Exacto knife to press the paper into the crevice between the fabric and the wood trim and gently pulled away any excess. Because the paper is damp, it pulls away very easily.

removing excess decoupage paper with exacto knife from fabric chair by Traceys Fancy

Continue this all the way around your decoupaged cushion.

Finished Decoupage on Fabric!

Now just allow to dry. And that is it!

Its fully top coated and protected! It feels feels like fabric!

tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

PRO TIP: If for some reason it feels stiff, you can always use a fine grit sanding pad and lightly scuff sand and it will soften up considerably.

PRO TIP: If you are looking for an aged look, you can now accent or shade the edges with dark wax or even a paint wash to give it that worn look.

The options to play around from here are endless!

As for this project, I left it just as it was once dry!

Adding the Whimsy

I did choose to stripe the seat which I am sure you're not surprised!

I used Silk in Anchor and painted stripes in big bold bands!

whimsical stripes on decoupaged fabric chair by Traceys Fancy

The seat does not need to be sealed as SILK paint has a built in top coat.

The Finished Whimsical Tattoo Decoupage Chair

The final step was sealing the pink and red metal leafing with a metal leaf sealer.

I am so in love with this chair, and to be honest, it might be my favorite chair to date!

tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

I hope I've lit a fire in you to give this process a try! I have no doubt you will LOVE it!

More Inspiration: Decoupage Furniture

I have blogged about decoupaging a variety of pieces and surfaces over the years! Here are more of my unique styles for your inspiration:

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tattoo decoupage on fabric by Traceys Fancy

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