Geode Painted UpCycled Chairs

After many years of choosing fabrics for upholstery and sewing projects I am so tired of the usual ‘prints’; enough of that already! I want to see something fresh and something unique! So that inner control ‘freak’ made her own. Nature gives me the inspiration and this 100% painted chair was an easy project. These Geode Painted UpCycled chairs are like a piece of modern art…


Sometimes I just sit back and wonder how I got to this point? I suppose it’s just about what catches our interest… All those years of painting perfect landscapes and commercial work now has me even more fascinated with the designs that nature just produces by chance. ‘So came about my adoration of the designs in stone. And then finding a canvas to paint it on – priceless!

Getting them ready:

I don’t take on a project like these unless they are sturdy enough, and not damaged. Check √, I gave them a good washing a cleaning of all surfaces and crevices. I even tore off the bottom cover, just in case someone stashed their life’s savings in there… nope, darn.

As a good precaution for paint adherence I like to scuff-sand the edges as those would be the first to chip if bumped. No need to completely sand off the old finish. Do clean all dust off.

For the Wood:

It was a toss up; black or white? I sometimes still think I may switch. But the ‘colour gods’ have stated that ‘black is back’! But I don’t like a drab dusty-looking matt black, I like some sheen. As I make my own chalk paint, I combined about 1 part of calcium carbonate (from the wine making store) to 4 parts Gloss Acrylic Enamel. It’s much like when I painted the Shibori chair.

It covers quickly and once cured has a pretty hard finish. Even though acrylic paint may seem dry to the touch, it is said that it takes quite a while to properly cure to full hardness. The chalk additive will take the sheen down a bit from gloss, perfect. Any places where fabric and wood meet, I press the fabric back a bit to get the brush into the crevice.

Looking good in such a classic design; another reason I wanted a modern take on a antique piece.

Mixing some warm grey with black and white and a bit of orange… I just can’t help but admire the designs found in swirling paint. There is currently a huge art movement that involves the pouring paints of various densities and creating some amazing ‘Fluid Art’. I have tried it but it’s one of those things that does not always just work out right. And, it goes against my grain to just pour so much paint in the garbage.

My contolled method allows me to take some inspiration from fluid art and enhance the size and design.

The fabric paint:

After the tests in the earlier post I decided to use the matt medium as my medium of choice at about 20% or less with the artist quality of acrylic paints.

I am trying to get a good coverage on this very smooth tight woven fabric. Thankfully it is not a fuzzy velvet so it finishes quite smooth, somewhat like a vinyl. I always default to my soft artist brushes as well.

I will address the edging later…

The Pattern:

I just winged this part…

  • But do think of it like a bunch of ‘squiggly rivers’.
  • They get wider and thinner but they still run similar directions to the one next to it.
  • Some bends and bumps add character
  • Use a brush dipped in a different shade on one side to get it done faster
  • Wiggle the brush
  • Don’t worry of you don’t think it looks ‘good’, more can be added…
  • Bands/rivers of various shades (colours with black added)/tints (colours with white added)

I find it almost like a doodling therapy. ‘Follow along… in and out… It always looks a bit worse before better…

There are plenty of images of agates and geodes all over the net. Keep the colour choices simple and close, as it should not look like a crazy rainbow.

The details:

Ya, I know… I tend to be a fussy detail artist! ALWAYS need to bring out the fine brushes. To make some of the edges more precise, a fine brush can help. Also still be very random with the thicknesses of line and curve.

The edging was a simple double roll which also made for some easy painting, tedious but easy.

The Metallics:

Another obsession of mine is just add a bit of metallics. I little vein of gold or copper against the gery is wonderful. Random, remember! Less is more, as they say.

The back did get a similar treatment but with a slightly darker palette of colours.

All around:

Turn the chairs to make sure to get the pattern on all the sides continuous. Another reason a chair is great; you can lift it to put it on a table.

Now, Isn’t that much more interesting than a floral… blech!

They are still in the mode of moving from one spot to another… But I can imagine them with modern or traditional furniture. It does not take much to pull pieces together. A bit of gold on a  table and now they feel like ‘family’.

And of course you should make some Giant Geodes or a Geode Lamp just because… But really, if there’s a piece that can be rescued, painting is a good option.

The Feel:

Generally speaking, painting upholstery has it’s problems. Choose the piece wisely. In my opinion I would look for pieces that are mainly wood, have good ‘bones’, are sturdy and not expected to be soft and comfy like a couch. Sitting on these is like a vinyl, smooth and slightly sheened. They will not be hard to dust, that’s for sure. Or wipe any spill off of. They are an art piece; a canvas to sit on…

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    1. I’m glad to see someone mixed acrylics with calcium carbonate, thank you. Questions: Why didn’t you use a Matt acrylic without the calcium carb? And how does not spraying water nor sanding the material compare to doing both?
      Thanks so much

      1. The calcium carbonate gives the paint a strength and ability to cover quite well. I would not put it on the fabric though, as that should have some flexibility. Spraying wth water may help when the fabric is really absorbent so that the paint does not get so ‘sucked in’. I’m not sure of the sanding as my fabric was really quite a fine thin weave. When I made the cushions I noticed how nice a dense weave worked; less need to re-coat. For the fabric just use a medium with the paint. Much will depend on your individual piece… Good luck!

  1. These are amazing! You are so talented & I’m always inspired looking through your site! A thrift store trip may be in my future…

  2. I think your idea and it’s execution are BRILLIANT!!! Love the chairs and I would love to own them. If only I had more room. Very inspiring.

    1. Oh aren’t you kind!! Sometimes I wonder how these ideas pop in my head; now if only I could get it to stop ‘thinking’ up ideas all night long! I’ll admit I’m a bit geode obsessed and was just working on more versions…

  3. Love these chairs, would never think of doing this. But wouldn’t the paint kind of “crack” after sitting on them a lot?

    1. They turned out to be quite flexible. I liken it to almost like a vinyl. It was a very thin fabric so it did not soak up so much paint. They aren’t the kind you lounge in anyways…