So, I decided to take the plunge and paint the leather.
Now think for a second about natural leather and it’s color. Is leather ever a SOLID color? No, not exactly…
So here are some tips about about maintaining a natural looking leather with chalk paint:
1). Use two colors! Using two colors achieves a more natural effect. Make sure they are two colors that blend well. In my case I applied one as a base coat, then layered on the second color of paint in a cross-hatch pattern. If more color variation was needed I would repeat by adding the two colors again in a cross-hatch pattern. (Meaning, apply paint in an “X” pattern).
2) Keep a wet edge. This means you should have water and spray your piece, or dip your brush to to thin the paint and eliminate brush strokes (Tip: remember using water color paint kits as a kid? Treat the paint like that).
2). Apply many, thin layers. Apply thin, but many layers. (don’t try to achieve 100% coverage on the first coat). I used a cross-hatch pattern throughout the entire process (see below).
4). Use a foam roller. Use a clean foam roller before your cross-hatch application (above) dries for additional blending.
To share some thoughts on the process
After each coat I would decide if it looked natural. If not, I’d add some variation of color by layering or “dotting” additional paint onto the chair, and work it in the cross-hatch pattern again. (Basically repeating all the steps above several times). I always had water on hand and use the dry foam roller to eliminate brush strokes. I used water to keep a wet edge to help with blending.
One you like the look and feel the leather looks natural, WALK AWAY and let it dry.
After the cushion dried, I decided to add a ticking stripe down the center. I used a third color, for this–Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Violet. (I had not yet waxed the cushion, that was the last step).
Below is the progress update. I had not yet touched the wood…and was deciding what to do…
Then I turned to my faithful friends on my Facebook page, and they all unanimously said “paint the wood!!” So I did. (In Annie Sloan Chalk Paint “Cocoa”).
Step 5: Apply Wax. Which reminds me to tell you….I used clear wax on the leather, and a combination of clear + dark wax on the wood.
So now this misfit has become pretty popular. It’s even started to develop a bit of an ego. It was “retweeted” by the This Old House team, and even James Young II from DIY Network’s “I Hate My Kitchen”. That was a pretty exciting 15 seconds of fame there on Twitter.
…you’ll even start seeing it photobomb most every room picture in my house. :)