Skip to content

Before & After: Vinyl Revamp

April 6, 2011

Much better

Prepping for last Saturday’s pre-tour, I had given our deck’s twin vinyl flea market sofas a much-needed scrubbing. They’d been left outside all winter and attracted an alarming layer of debris and gunk due to the rains and pepper trees overhead. But now cleaned up they seemed really dull and lacked presence. In the past I’d gussied ’em up with colorful draping, and I thought that would work again … but I was running out of time and a trip to JoAnn *shudder* did not appeal. I’d remembered that Terry, owner of Parrott boutique in downtown Riverside, had bolts of interestingly textured fabric in her atelier, so we dropped in to see what she might have on-hand. Sadly, she didn’t have much, but she offered an intriguing suggestion: why not paint the sofas? We went to her workroom and she brought out several containers of Createx paint. Createx is an acrylic-based paint that works on an amazing array of surfaces and is permanent; pretty exciting stuff. I chose an iridescent blue from Terry’s stash, and inspired, we went home so I could get started …


Studying the low, blocky sofas, I decided they needed something to counter their marshmallow nothingness … Then it came to me, I would paint circles and squares on them. I’d recently noticed that the garden was full of both geometric shapes, so why not continue this inadvertent graphic theme?  The plan: I’d paint one sofa with a pattern of circles, the other a patchwork of square shapes; I’d break up the Createx blue with acrylic colors from my own supplies. While I wanted geometry, I didn’t want rigid … so my plan was to trail the patterns over the sofas, front to back. That should counter their blockiness nicely … time to get started …

But, first...

I scooped a dollop of the thick Createx onto a recycled palette, and using a small all-purpose housepainting brush, swiftly painted the first circle … in quick succession I added all the others. I loved the almost-metallic turquoise of the paint, and the loose, quick application of the paint made for some energetic circles … but what about those squares? I started on the other sofa and was pleased to see that loosely painting the squares produced the same energy as the circles, if with more corners.

Circles upon circles

Circle and square base-coats complete, I moved on to phase two: defining the circles further — and breaking up the base color — with a lighter version. I mixed some titanium white into the turquoise to produce a somewhat paler shade and, using the same brush, selectively traced the circles. Looked good but I wanted more definition. So, I added more titanium white for an even paler version and added still more circles using a smaller art brush. I liked … but now I wanted something to break up the blues, so using two yellows, and an orange shade, I added strategic accent circles. Done!


Moving to the other sofa, and following the same steps, I soon was finished with that one, too. The circle sofa pattern had real movement and the design reminded me of audio speakers … conversely, the square sofa had a more geometric energy that made me think of a crazy quilt or maybe an afghan knitted by an ADHD-afflicted granny. I really liked the addition of blue into the Rancho color scheme and the deck now looked really festive, perfect for both the coming garden tour and a later spring garden party! Project cost: Zip … Thanks, Terry!

50 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2011 8:27 pm

    WOW…are you serious? You just whipped that out? I would have got the first bit of paint on there and been totally sure I had just ruined them both. Your artistic talents shine through again.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 6, 2011 8:29 pm

      Ha! Oh, I had that “oh, pooh, I just ruined ’em!” moment… but over time I’ve learned to ignore it, take a deep breath and keep going … I love ’em!

  2. Melissa permalink
    April 6, 2011 8:50 pm

    Wonderful~ I would have been afraid to ruin the sofas with some random mess. You did a fantastic job and it is Random in a stylizied mannerthat shows how talented you are!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 6, 2011 8:53 pm

      Thanks, Melissa … the best part is when I get tired of these designs (and I will, I know me) I can go back to draping them as before…

  3. Judy permalink
    April 6, 2011 10:09 pm

    I loooove what you did! The chairs were cool without the paint… but now they’re awesome!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 6, 2011 10:16 pm

      Thanks, Judith! … my vacation’s half over and all too soon I’ll be staring at you from the next cubicle again … *sniff*

    • Guida Quon permalink
      April 7, 2011 12:26 am

      Ditto, I love what you did.

      • reubix1 permalink*
        April 7, 2011 12:35 am

        Thanks, Guida!

  4. April 6, 2011 10:34 pm

    I am in awe, absolute AWE!!! First, that you were able to find such cool sofas. Second, that you’ve created unique, only you have them, furniture for your garden. You are brilliant and I love your garden!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 6, 2011 10:38 pm

      Thanks, Lauren … I appreciate your comment … Your blog and website look very interesting, as well!

  5. Guida Quon permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:27 am

    PS and I love how you showed us the process.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 12:37 am

      Showing how simple the process is is helpful, I think!

  6. Megan permalink
    April 7, 2011 1:33 am

    Beautiful transformation! You’re garden is looking super hot!!!!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 1:38 am

      Thanks, Megan! Since I’m on vacation I’ve had time to rework some things …

  7. rosenatti permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:32 am

    Late some night, when you find me attempting to steal these and stuff them into the back of a rented Ford Focus with San Francisco license plates, you will mix up some cocktails, get comfortable and laugh. I will ignore you. BECAUSE I WILL SUCCEED. Oh yes.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 2:35 am

      Haha… great story, the cocktail element totally added realism!

  8. April 7, 2011 4:58 am

    those are worth a loud gasp! you outdid yourself this time. i have nothing to add but sheer admiration!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 5:01 am

      Thanks, I thought they turned out well for about an hour’s work ; )

  9. Sheeba permalink
    April 7, 2011 5:21 am

    I love it I love it!!!!
    Can’t wait to see ur garden. U r a true inspiration!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 12:05 pm

      Thanks, Sheeba … but what does Coco think?

  10. April 7, 2011 7:21 am

    Reuben, c’est magnifique !!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 7, 2011 12:05 pm

      Thank you very much, Delphine!

  11. Mrs. Monstera permalink
    April 8, 2011 8:07 am

    You did a great job. I love that teal color!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 8, 2011 12:37 pm

      I wasn’t entirely sure at first… but I love it too, now.

  12. April 9, 2011 8:42 pm

    You are ferociously talented and fearless. I must be an ADHD-afflicted granny because the couch with the squares is my favorite, but the two together are inseparable. I hope you signed those couches!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 10, 2011 12:25 am

      Ha! Thanks, Denise… I’m that granny, too! I love the squares the most…

  13. Nicole permalink
    June 6, 2011 12:34 am

    How did you do this?!! Vinyl? What type of createx paint did you use? Anyways, please let me know. I really wanted to do this. Did the paint hold up on the sofas well? let me know! Wary Meyers does this kinda stuff. You would probably like their ideas. Look them up. they have a new book out too that i’m waiting to get.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      June 6, 2011 12:59 am

      Hi, Nicole, thanks for your comment. To answer your question: “How did you do this?”, please re-read the post; but essentially I loaded my brush and just did it. To find out what Createx paint I used, go back to the post and click the words Createx paint in the first paragraph. It’s a link to the Createx website. The paint has held up extremely well, especially since they stay outside at all times, have been rained on, I hose them down when they get dirty and I have two manic chihuahuas that’re all over them. There has been no cracking or peeling at all. I love the Wary Meyer’s book ‘Tossed and Found’ and will be doing a project from that book here soon… Watch for it!

  14. July 14, 2011 4:58 pm


  15. September 30, 2011 9:06 pm

    I saw this on Apartment Therapy and I think you did a fantastic job! I had a love seat featured there once and the comments were not so nice, but it was awesome. Anyway, very creative!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      September 30, 2011 9:29 pm

      Thanks, Kelli … my garden’s been featured there in that area and the reviews were much better!

  16. September 30, 2011 9:47 pm

    This is FREAKING AMAZING!! I love, love, love the design and color choices! You totally completed those sofas!!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      September 30, 2011 9:51 pm

      Rita, thanks! I appreciate the compliment …

  17. September 30, 2011 10:56 pm

    Fabulous! I loved the white, but the paint really makes the sofas pop!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      September 30, 2011 11:13 pm

      You’re wise, and gorgeous, to say so! Thanks

  18. Jofoto permalink
    April 4, 2012 12:49 pm

    How has the paint held up after a year!!??

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 4, 2012 1:17 pm

      Funny you should ask: the paint has held up fine … I’m just over my couches. So after around 10,000 views and attention from numerous blogs, they’re leaving. My friend Britney’s picking them up this weekend for use on her awesome new platform seating area … They’re going to a great new home, with a great view! Thanks for commenting…

      • April 7, 2012 3:36 pm

        Yes, they have gone to a good home with owners that absolutely adore them. Fortunately, they didn’t move too far away, so you can always come over and visit them. Of course, a glass of wine or a nice cold beer will be served during the visit. I can’t wait for you to come see how they look in person.

      • reubix1 permalink*
        April 7, 2012 4:09 pm

        I’m looking forward to it!

  19. Melissa Riethman permalink
    January 8, 2013 8:15 pm

    What did you top coat the paint with so it didn’t scratch or rub off? Looking to paint a 50’s dining booth we have in our kitchen

    • reubix1 permalink*
      January 8, 2013 8:21 pm

      Hi, Melissa, thanks for your question. If you’re asking whether I finished the painted areas with a kind of sealer, the answer’s no. I used Createx paint (with other regular acrylic paint added for color) only. I visited the couches recently at their new home and they still look fine. My only caution would be NOT to apply the paint super-thickly, that could cause something to catch on it and make it peel up. Hope this helps!

  20. reubix1 permalink*
    April 28, 2011 10:05 pm

    Thanks for the link-up!


  1. Studio G, Garden Design & Landscape Design Inspiration » Before & After: Rancho Reubidoux’s Garden Sofas
  2. Studio G, Garden Design & Landscape Inspiration » Garden Gallery: Rancho Reubidoux’s Sothern California Oasis
  3. Turning 50K « Rancho Reubidoux
  4. Before & After: Hot Seat « Rancho Reubidoux
  5. Mesa Fresca « Rancho Reubidoux
  6. The Hotness « Rancho Reubidoux
  7. Easy Ways To Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space For Entertaining!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: