An Epic Paint Fail

I didn’t want to write this post.  I wanted to skip right over it, deal with this epic fail in silence and never mention it again. Ever.  It started several years ago when I got a decorating bee in my bonnet and decided that I could no longer stand these chairs.  It’s not the style of the chair I struggled with it was the fabric.  Over the years almost every time I looked at these chairs, I decided that I actually hated them.  I know.  Dramatic much?


What I wanted was custom slipcovers for the chairs but with a laundry list of things the house still needs, it just didn’t make sense to spend the money.  So I hatched a “fail proof plan.”  I thought it through, weighed all the options, called all the friends I knew would agree with me and begged for a green light to paint.


When I finally got it, I woke up so excited to get started.  I had complete confidence in my abilities.  I was up on my high horse shouting, “If anyone can make this work, it is going to be me.”  I mean it’s not like this was my first time painting the fabric on a chair.  I had painted other chairs that I loved .

040214-10I saturated the fabric.


I watered down the paint and got to work.


After the first coat of paint had dried, I knew I was in trouble but I tried to stay calm.

091714-5What I was sure it needed was… a second coat. Yep, a second coat is going to make a big difference.


But after the second coat dried, my heart sank.  I cried my way through most of the third coat.


After the fourth coat dried, I stepped back to see what it needed.  I decided what it really needed was custom slipcovers but by then it was too late.  I had already ruined the chairs.  I grabbed a bag of chips and the phone and called “The Voice of Reason.” She was gracious with her words and her kindness made me feel better, mostly. We decided I was exhausted from painting almost 7 hours straight and I went to sleep with knots in my stomach.


The next morning, did not bring me much comfort.  With coffee in hand, I sat starring at a set of chairs, I still hated.  I felt utter discouragement.  Cue even more tears.  Utter discouragement and more tears.  And for good measure another bag of chips.  The biggest bag of chips we had.


In the grand scheme of things this is totally minor.  But it shook my confidence.  It made me question my ability to paint and “make things happen.”  Since then there has not been one mention of the chairs.  Not one.  And that makes it even worse.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to make them better but painted chairs are no match for custom slipcovers. I guess the long and short of it is this, be very careful about the fabric you choose to paint.  Be wise with your budget and the items you deem a necessity.  Give yourself lots of grace if a project doesn’t work out like you envision.  Lastly, for the love of your waistline, hide the chips.


Many blessings,



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  1. Renee @ The Refined Relic says:

    Oh Coco, I am so sorry that this project didn’t work. However, I wouldn’t consider it an epic fail. You have learned through the process that not all fabric can be painted and that chips can be comforting. I think what you have learned and shared is valuable to us all. We need to learn from one another and that only comes from sharing our failures. Hopefully, your chairs can be saved. Love and prayers my friend.

    1. Renee, they are definitely daily reminders of grace! Love and prayers to you too 🙂 CoCo

  2. Liz Bonin says:

    Oh CoCo! Is it wrong for me to say your post made me laugh?! Not at your “failure” but at your using chips for comfort – twice

    1. I know right, Liz, because nothing says emotionally healthy like eating 2 bags of chips after an epic fail ha ha!

  3. Dearest CoCo…your vulnerability is endearing and heartfelt. I know your disappointment wasn’t just for yourself. You are a kind, caring woman…and an expert painter. Your supposed fail is a teaching moment for us all. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for being my voice of reason…you’re the best!

  4. Oh Coco! I know you ARE an expert painter and you CAN make things happen, girl. You have amazing talent and a big, caring heart. Thank you for sharing them both with us!!!! {{HUGS}}

    1. Aww thanks for the encouragement, Angie, I really appreciate it!

  5. So are you saying don’t paint my awful yellow chairs??? 🙂

    1. I think it all depends on the type of fabric the chairs have Shannon. I’ve painted other chairs before and have LOVED them but these yikes, not so much!

  6. Kim Clair says:

    Dear CoCo… are such an amazingly talented woman and so many people admire you! You are a gifted artist and just an all around wonderful person. In the grand scheme of life, this is just a small bump and they don’t look as bad as you think. Don’t loose your desire to try new things as you inspire us all with your always endearing blog. Now, step away from the chips and go turn out another masterpiece! Hugs sweetie! Kim 🙂

    1. Kim thank you so much for this sweet comment. You’re making me teary in the best possible way. I really appreciate the support!

  7. Donna - Faded Velvet says:

    Ah, my dear! We have ALL been there (chips and all)..staring at a finished project that we knew right away was all wrong, yet doggedly finished. It’s because we are eternal optimists! ” I can fix that!” “Here, let me just do this…!”. Ignoring the persistent voice of reason saying in your head, “Man you really screwed THIS one up!”
    Just laugh it off (as you cry), pour yourself a glass of wine and pray for a great estate sale to buy the next set of PERFECT chairs….hopefully for $5 each.
    It could happen,…..
    Loved this post! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing REALITY – which is where we all live anyway!!!!

    Donna~Faded Velvet

    1. Thank you for your sweet words Donna! Painting and refinishing furniture has taught me well that there is beauty in the imperfect. I definitely need to come across an estate sale for new chairs 🙂

  8. Oh gosh, CoCo, I feel for ya! The fact that you can admit what the rest of us are hiding (in our garage and basement) makes us love you even more. Oh, and chips are totally part of the process. I would have downed two containers of dip with mine!

    1. Oh man Jenn, I didn’t even slow down long enough to think about dip! It’s hard to fail but a necessary part of learning. Thanks for being so sweet.

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