DIY: applying fabric to furniture

September 20, 2011

As promised, I wanted to show you a lit­tle more about No. 20…here are some tips on apply­ing the fab­ric. BE WARNED. I decided to do this one NIGHT in my HOUSE instead of the work­shop because it was RAINING out­side. This makes for kind of crappy pho­tos. Oh well.

After the piece was painted, dis­tressed and cleaned thor­oughly, I applied a fur­ni­ture wax with color/stain in it (on all areas except the pan­els where the fab­ric goes). Usu­ally the pro­tec­tive top coat or wax is the last step, but I didn’t want to risk get­ting the fab­ric stained. You can see the dif­fer­ence the wax makes– beau­ti­ful aging instantly!

applying the wax

Next, I laid out the {ironed} fab­ric & marked with a pen­cil where I wanted to cut. I cut it a lit­tle big so I can trim it with an x-acto once it is attached.  I don’t really MEASURE because when you are work­ing with old pieces, they don’t always line up the way they should.

marking the fabric

These are the pan­els cut but not attached.…

fabric panels cut

I use Modge Podge Satin Fin­ish to attach the fab­ric. I think that is what most peo­ple use…but in case you haven’t used it, it looks like this and its at all craft stores:

modge podge satin fnish

I poured the modge podge in a plas­tic bowl and applied it to the panel with a foam brush. I guess you can use a china brush too but prob­a­bly not as smooth a finish.

Just apply a very even coat– not super thick– on the entire area. You have to do this step quickly and have the fab­ric ready.

modge podge application

I started in one cor­ner putting the fab­ric on top of the modge podge and smoothed it out with my hands until the entire thing was down. Then I took a credit card and did some seri­ous smooth­ing out. Next I trimmed with an x-acto.


final fabric

I took a fine sponge sander over the fab­ric after it dried. You can either do another coat of modge podge on top of that OR poly­crylic will work. Then you are done! Pretty easy once you have done it.

No. 20 after

Here is where I kind of messed up on this piece. I painted the pan­els GREEN before the fab­ric was put on– I just didn’t think about it. So, because I used a white fab­ric, you can see the vari­a­tions and some of the green show­ing through.  In hind sight I would have painted them white to pre­vent this. HOWEVER, after liv­ing with it a while, I actu­ally don’t mind it because it makes it look older.…but I wouldn’t take the risk next time.

That is all I got! Hope this helps someone!


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  • Loren

    I have wanted to use fab­ric on fur­ni­ture for a while and had heard to use Mod Podge.  NOW i know!  Thanks!!!!  I love this piece, BTW. I pretty much love all of your pieces though.

  • Sun­blewis

    I love it! the green is my favorite! 

  • Jenni Kupelian

    Love THIS! Going to use this idea on my work desk drawers.

  • Mr. Smith

    Did you use paste wax on top of the mod podged fab­ric after you were fin­ished, or have you ever tried paste wax over mod podge? My appli­ca­tion is a map on a desk, I just didn’t want to put wax on before I asked some folks.

    • I used modge podge again on top of the fab­ric. I have used stain on top of the modge podge before, but not wax. Let me know how it works!

    • We haven’t used paste wax before. On this piece we didn’t apply any­thing else to the fab­ric after the mod podge. We’ve actu­ally done a map on a table before and we mod podged it and the applied poly­crylic.

    • Anony­mous

      I used modge podge again on top of the fab­ric. I have used stain on top of the modge podge before, but not wax. Let me know how it works!

      • Kata­rina Longino

        I am using fab­ric on a dresser would you use more mod­podge or a clear var­nish for best results?

  • dearem­me­line

    I wanted to let you know I linked to this post in my Style File: Fab­ric Fur­ni­ture!  Love the color and choice of fab­ric!

    • fiveoeight

       Thanks again– good col­lec­tion of fab­ric uses!

  • Pingback: Applying fabric to furniture with Mod Podge. - Mod Podge Rocks()

  • Hi — I have been look­ing for posts on how to put fab­ric on a whole piece of fur­ni­ture — any ideas or links?
    Love what you did!!! Great job..

  • Very nice, thanks !

  • Mon­ica Munoz

    Is there a spe­cific fab­ric I should use when apply­ing mod podge or will any one do?

    • sarah

      Any fab­ric will do!

  • Claire

    Clever you , it’s fabulous .


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