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How to "Tattoo" Your Sofa

Updated on August 31, 2013
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This is my sofa now.  Yay!Side viewOther side viewLeft armRight armLeft back cushionRight back cushionCenter back cushionCoco loves her new sofa!This was my sofa before.   Blah.
This is my sofa now.  Yay!
This is my sofa now. Yay!
Side view
Side view
Other side view
Other side view
Left arm
Left arm
Right arm
Right arm
Left back cushion
Left back cushion
Right back cushion
Right back cushion
Center back cushion
Center back cushion
Coco loves her new sofa!
Coco loves her new sofa!
This was my sofa before.   Blah.
This was my sofa before. Blah.

Awesome idea to paint your sofa like it's been tattooed!

I have had my sofa for over two years and those huge brown pillows it came with, although it looked nice in the pictures were not practical for me. People would sit on the sofa and move the pillows, so they always ended up on the floor and my sofa looked so plain.

For those who know me, I never leave anything plain. I knew I wanted to paint it but didn't have any ideas until I realized how much I love tattoos and how much that sofa looked like skin.

Tip: When deciding what to paint on your sofa, consider the shape of your sofa and the style. Softer lines work better with softer designs and harder, straighter lines work better with harder edges.

I know acrylic works on fabric because it works on canvas. They're cheap, dry fast and are odorless. And they won't crack because I've painted denim jackets, jeans, leather purses and even shoes. But my sofa was made of microfiber and I wasn't familiar with that, so I researched online and found that indoor/outdoor paint works on microfiber and that meant my acrylics would be safe.

The ideas came to me quickly. The sugar skull would be first and center stage on the piece. I never measure anything and freehand but you can trace out a design on paper and simply transfer it on the fabric or use a soft pencil to trace.

The first thing I did was grab a dry washcloth and swipe area clean of debris like hair, etc. Then I grabbed my fat permanent marker in black and drew my skull. If you use the thicker markers, remember they may bleed, so you don't want to press in one spot for too long, the quicker you work, the better it will come out. You can also use laundry markers, which won't bleed as much. Don't be afraid of making a mistake. You can always cover it up with color.

TIP: Try it out on a smaller piece like a chair or loveseat you want to get rid of if you're not sure. This way if you mess up, it won't be such a big deal. And you can always use indoor/outdoor spray paint to cover it all in one solid color,leave it or try again.

The acrylics were then painted on using a small and medium brush. Tee shirt paint comes in tubes you squeeze out like crazy glue and are great for the tinier pieces for decorations. I used those on the skull where you see dots.

I painted swallows on each side of the skull on sofa for balance and simply wrote "free spirit", which I thought matched the theme. On one of the Swallows, I made a mistake and couldn't fix it, so I sprayed gold metallic using indoor/outdoor paint, swishing over it gently, covering the bird with a cloth. I then did the same to the other one.

FACTOID: A lot of people confuse Swallows with Sparrows. Just remember Swallows are Blue. Sparrows are brown/red.

The lettering on the banners were the hardest part of this project because the positioning of my body had to contort to get it straight. It was only after I finished them, I realized I could have made a stencil. Next time I know.

The arms of the sofa were last and that took the longest. I drew what popped into my head and since I love paisley and hearts, that's what I drew.

When I was done, the seats looked bare so I decided to draw a lace pattern, which I think looks awesome.

When I was done, I used acrylic spray sealant, the same one I use for my canvas paintings and made sure it was matte, not gloss. Just make sure you're in a well ventilated area when using this spray. It gets stinky. I took the seat cushions outside to spray and was done in not time. The rest of the drawings were sprayed by opening windows and using fans. It was dry almost immediately but I let it air out a couple of hours.

Be creative. Don't allow the companies you buy your stuff from determine how to decorate your own personal living space.


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