Introduction: How to Refurbish a Rocking Chair With Left Over Fabric

About: I'm a physics and chemistry teacher at a public school in Maryland and active in my local science teacher's association. I love building things and am teaching myself how to use arduino in electronics projects…

My favorite reading chair is a rocking chair that is very stable and solid but which has a ten year old coat of primer, and I didn't have anywhere to rest my feet while rocking. I terrible situation that must be corrected.

Well, I decided that a coat of paint was in order, and I needed a foot rest, and the foot rest should have a removal cushion on top of it to match the new cushion I would make for the seat of the rocker. The foot rest cushion could than be removed if I wanted to use it as a table to rest my cup of tea without spilling it.

That's quite a project, so its off to the home improvement store for paint and paint brushes!

Step 1: Painting the Rocker

The rocker had already been primed several years before, but I thoroughly cleaned the whole rocker before beginning to make sure I had a clean surface to paint.

Before opening the paint, I gave it a good sturdy shake. Then pry open the lid and its time to paint!

There are a lot of different surfaces on a rocking chair, and I ended up doing three coats, and flipping the rocker over for one of the coats so that the whole chair was covered thoroughly. I choose a high gloss oil based paint to create a sturdy, hard wearing finish for the rocker since I use it quite a bit.

Step 2: Painting the Base of the Foot Rest

This was a piece of furniture that we called a "Cube" in the seventies. You could put several together to make a small bookcase, or arrange them in creative ways.

Well now it was going to be my foot rest. It also had a coat of primer on it. I made sure to carefully clean the surfaces of this before painting it as well. I used two coats on this piece.

Step 3: Selecting the Fabric for the Cushions

Okay, while the paint was drying I went to the fabric stash to see what I had to use for cushions.

I had a supply of foam for the inside, excellent!

But the large pieces of fabric I was considering using I realized would look terrible with the forest green paint I had selected. This seemed like the perfect project to try out crazy quilting! I have always wanted to give it a try, and I have two large tubs of faux fur from when I used to make teddy bears for friends. Even better, all of these scraps were neutral colors.

Step 4: Cutting the Foam

I measured the top of the cube, marked the foam, and snipped out my cushion with a pair of sewing scissors.

Step 5: Putting Together the Foot Rest Cushion

Next it was time to put together the cover for the cushion.

When selecting pieces for crazy quilting the placement of pieces is really up to the taste of the person doing the arrangement. I prefer straight edges so I tried to stick to rectangles and triangles. I used small clips to hold together with the right sides of the fabic facing each other.

I pefer to work one or two pieces at a time and lay out the whole piece to show how the different colors and patterns look. I used some quilting clips to stabilize the seam as I sewed it.

The scraps I had did not just happen to be cut into rectangles and triangles. I put the pieces down to a size that fit the cushion cover as I worked. Also make sure to securely know each seam so the seam won't unravel.

Once I had a top and a bottom, I laid the pieces down on top of each other rights sides together, turned under one of the edges and sewed this turn down down, and sewed a long seam around three edges. Next I turned the cover right side out, measured out and cut a length of velcro, and then sewed this velcro to the edge of the cover.

Then the important step of seeing if the foam will fit into the cover. It does! I velcroed it shut. I cut off a piece of self adhesive velcro and used that to stick the cushion to the top of the foot rest. This will keep it securely in place but allow me to easily remove the cushion for washing, or so that I can use the foot rest as a small table.

Step 6: Putting Together the Rocker Cushion

I already had a very flat, but correctly sized cushion for the base of the rocker and used that and a piece of foam as filling the seat cushion.

I used much the same approach for making this cushion, expect that this cushion will be thicker so I constructed a flat top and flat bottom, then cut a long strip out of faux fleece that was the side for the cushion to give it more depth. I added this piece to the top and bottom last. It is important to carefully clip this seam together and keep an eye on both the top and bottom fabric when sewing to make sure all layers are laying flat and being caught in the seam.

Just like with the previous cushion, sew three sides together and then turn the cover. In this case, once the foam is snuggly in the cover, I folder over the raw edge and hand stitiched the cover closed with a whip stitch.

Step 7: Final Product!

Now its time to relax on my new rocker with a nice cup of tea and a good book to celebrate a project well finished!

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