Sunday, January 27, 2013

Painting Fabric {A sun-faded stroller}: The Busy Momma's Guide

I've been writing and working on this post for some time...apparently being a mom to 4, with 2 of those being under 2, is a full time job. Who knew? I'm excited to get back to regular blogging and projects, but it may be a slow process!

Since I was going to have 2 littles that needed to be in a stroller, I decided a double stroller would be handy for those trips to the zoo, walks, etc.

For several months I've been stalking Craigslist looking for this:

Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Stroller

And I found it several times, but it was always  in super great shape and kind of expensive ($125-$150). Not that I didn't want one in great shape, but I am sort of a stroller hoarder, and I didn't want to pay a lot for a stroller I would only need for another year or so.

Then it happened - you know if you are a Craigslist stalker what I mean - If you hunt long enough, what you are looking for will find you. It's the best feeling ever!

I should of taken a before. What was I thinking? Geeeez.  It was in sorry shape. It was left outside for summer and winter for a couple of years and looked like it. It was filthy and the fabric was really faded. Did I mention how much I paid? $40! 

When I got it home, I cleaned it all up, put WD40 on all of the mechanisms and polished the metal frame. It looked pretty good.  But that faded fabric really was bugging me.

Ok, so the picture is horrible. It was 20 degrees outside and I wasn't about to open the garage door. But that color isn't washed out by the flash. Nope. It was faded to a weird orangey peach color, with red spots where the sun didn't reach - see the back of the seat. 

I found out I can get replacement parts from the manufacturer, and the seats and canopies weren't a bad price, but then it's not a $40 stroller anymore. I started looking on the internet for options...what do other people do when their stroller is faded and they don't want to get a new one? 
Apparently they post questions all over the internet.

I did find this one and only real post about another mom using a fabric spray paint on the fabric - The Mom Buzz . I love a good spray paint project!

I tracked down the paint she used Simply Spray Upholstery Paint at my local Hobby Lobby. I used a coupon so it was around $6. I figured that was an ok price if it failed. 

I used red because my stroller was red - they make a ton of different colors though.


I was excited to try it out. I did learn a few tricks along the way. Here is the first seat I sprayed.

I'm sorry for the terrible pictures - it really was FREEZING outside. But you can see the difference, can't you?? 

I had to rub the paint in with a napkin or my fingers (use gloves). It sometimes sprays globs and it was easiest to just rub those in the areas that needed more paint. I used newspaper to cover the areas I didn't want sprayed because it does have a decent overspray. 

Here is a good comparison photo - the seat on the right hasn't been painted yet.

It is supposed to dry for 72 hours and then is ready to use. 1 bottle pretty much covered both seats and canopies, but I need to get another so the second seat is as dark red as the first one I painted. So a total $12 investment with a big giant improvement!!

I haven't been able to take it out yet since our newest girl is only 3 weeks and it's just so cold. I don't know how it will hold up to the sun, but everything fades after being in the sun, so I'm not concerned with that. 

It's been a few months since this post and we take the stroller out every evening for a spin. I don't think the colors have faded one bit, BUT, since actually bringing it out into the daylight, I can see I need another coat on all of the surfaces. I used 90% of my can on the hood, so the seats are still needing some work. But where I did use the majority of the can, it looks GREAT!

This isn't limited to no no! I've seen all over people all over blogland use it on real furniture! How fun would that be? 

The Happier Homemaker

Have you got anything lying around that you don't mind experimenting with upholstery spray paint on? I'd love to hear what you think!


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  1. Oh my goodness...this is the first time that I have seen this paint...looks GREAT!!!


  2. I will help the stroller I have (it survived two boys) turn into a girly stroller. Thank you for the tip.

  3. Thank you for this post! I am also a CL stalker and just scored a Joovy Caboose for $20! It's terribly sun faded and ordering new fabric will cost almost as much as a new stroller. I'm really thinking of spraying it once this baby is out of me (I'm 38 weeks). How is the stroller holding up? Do you have any recent photos?

    1. Heather - just updated the post for you. It really looks great after getting it out and going on daily walks, but it needs a couple more coats to really look saturated. Because this has 2 seats/umbrellas I am going to need 1 or 2 more cans, but for now, it looks a gazillion times better than it did. YAY for cheap craigslist makeovers!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Question... How did you just do the red and not the black stripe on the hood or the top or bottom of the seats? My new Graco Jogger that I scored off CL for $25 is in great condition except for the faded red/black fabric. I took it all apart and washed it, looks better but not perfect. Wanna try this fabric paint. Your pics look great.

    1. I wish I could say I took the time to tape it off - but I was super lazy and just used paper to put across the black section on the bottom, and the brown suedish head rest. The black part on the bottom is plastic-y though, so it wiped off, and for some reason, it wiped off the suede head rest too. On the hood, there is a black strip along the edge, but I sprayed it with the red and it stayed black. With yours, you could try using the black paint on everything? or doing the red first, since it's lighter than the black, without taping off your black area and allow over spray, then tape off the red really well and do the black. It really did work well and looks completely normal compared to the wreck it was before! Good job on your CL find momma! Doesn't that make you feel great!?!
      Thanks for the comment! Hope you'll follow.

  5. this is exactly what I am looking for to make-over my "lime-green" peg perego skate system. my only concern is that all the write-ups I'm finding on the paint state for "absorbent" materials. Aren't strollers water resistant (so the babies do not get wet)? But this really took?! Also, what store did you find it in? I can only find it online and all with S&H. Thank you so much!!!!

    1. I had read the same thing - but it did ok - maybe that's why it took a few bottles to get it saturated, or maybe because red paint is ALWAYS hard to get good coverage. Either way, I think the best thing is to put your paint on, then use a sprayable/brushable sealer for fabric so that it seals it again. I found the paint at Hobby Lobby - I think you can order from them online now if you don't have one near you!

  6. omg... I LOVE you right now! Thanks Thanks Thanks for this blog!! My stroller is from a friend, this is my last baby so I didn't want anything pricey either. It's grey but sunfaded to light purple. It just looks horrible. I must find this paint! lol

  7. I came here in search of a way to fix up my hand me down jogging stroller which is tearing at the seams (seems well made right???? Come on!!). But after reading this I am ready to get my spray on with my bike trailer stroller! It has been left outside for years and looks terrible! This will be so fun, thanks!

  8. I like your blog, search a amazing Bed Sheets, You definitely inspired me.

  9. Thanks for this post! I just bought a triple stroller for my twin boys that are 3 and my daughter who is 4. We are going on a missions trip that will require lots of walking and so I had to break down and buy a new stroller (because there are like NO used triple strollers out there)! But then it came in the mail and it was bright pink and I ordered red so it would be more neutral since I have boys and a girl! The company won't take let me exchange! I am a little nervous to do it on a brand new stroller because the company will let me return it but I don't think I have any other options. My only question is did it rub off on the kids if they were sweaty or anything? Sorry if that is a silly question, I just am not crafty and am worried I am going to ruin my brand new stroller. Thanks for your advice!

    1. that stroller would be expensive I think Id go with an exchange then try ur hand at this on something else if it were me.