Give Old Furniture a New Life with Fabric and Mod Podge

So, you thrifted a piece of furniture that you love, but it needs a serious facelift. If the size, design, and functionality are perfect for your needs, but the unfinished or outdated surface could use a little work, here’s an idea for you: add fabric instead of paint! This is such a fun way to fix up wooden furniture and is easier than stenciling, but can be just as intricate. Further on down the road if you think it needs another update, the fabric should be easier to remove than paint!


First, if you need to remove old paint layers, start by looking at Evette’s post regarding stripping old paint. Once you’re down to the piece’s bare bones, it’s time to start adding your own bit of personality. (Of course, you could add this on top of paint, but you would be able to see the paint through light fabrics and it may not be as easy to adhere.) Grab the following supplies, and roll up those sleeves; it’s time to get started!

The first step is to measure the size of the surface(s) that you will be covering with fabric. Grab your fabric, iron it to remove wrinkles, and mark the sizing on the back of it. Cut outside of your markings so you have a little extra fabric to work with (you’ll trim it to the right size later).

With your fabric handy, start “painting” Mod Podge generously onto the surface you will be covering. It dries clear, so don’t be shy! Before it dries, lay the fabric over the sticky surface and press down with your hands. If you’re covering a lot of space you may want to do this in parts so the glue doesn’t dry before your fabric is ready to be put down.


When your fabric is applied and pressed into the right places, take something flat like a credit card (I just used a packaging scrap from our recycling bin) and use it to smooth out any wrinkles or glue gobs in the fabric.  After this first application of Mod Podge has dried, add another coat to the top to finish the surface.


When this second coat has dried, use an exacto knife to carefully trim the edges of the fabric, et voila! Your beautiful thrifted piece of furniture is ready for its new home!


This project was so much fun that I’ve found myself eyeing the rest of our furniture and my thrifted fabric stash, imagining what different combinations would yield. We would love to see how your projects turn out if you decide to give this method a try! Supplies can be found at your local Goodwill where you can join this community-centered organization to give back to your own neighbors. Don’t forget to check out our DIY Pinboard for more Mod Podge and fabric inspiration!

xx, Julia