DIY Rocking Chair Makeover With Olympic Stain




About: My name is Michelle and I am founder of I am an avid crafter, DIYer, upcycler, amateur photographer and painter. I work as a freelance designer and brand strategist and have a passion for w...

My sister recently bought a house and they are in the process of making it their own. Week after week Jenny has sent me links to rocking chairs that were just too pricey or falling apart on Craigslist. I immediately knew this would be a fun project to surprise her with.

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Step 1: Step 1: Finding a Chair

After a few weekends of yard sales and estates sales I finally found the rocker suitable for my sisters outdoor porch. This chair although looks like she needs some love is solid wood and sturdy as can be! I bet she's at least 60+ years old. Now if this chair was for me I would just sand it down smooth and clear coat it, leaving the shabby weathered look, but that's not really my sisters style.

Step 2: Sanding With a Sander

I started out by using a palm sander and 100 grit sandpaper working up to a finer grit (220). With the chair being so detailed and rounded a lot of hand sanding was necessary.

Step 3: Hand Sanding

When hand sanding I like to use wrap sandpaper around a wooden block. This makes it easier to control and to keep sanding even.

When sanding rounded edges and details use the paper as is and make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. When sanding the chair the goal is not to sand away all of the original paint but to create a smooth and even surface to stain over.

Step 4: Cleaning the Chair

Now this is definitely my least favorite part. Before painting its important to get all of the dust that we have just created off of the chair. First I use a dry paper towel to get most of the dust off. After this initial dusting use windex to clean up the chair.

Let the chair fully dry before staining.

Step 5: Staining/Painting the Rocking Chair

Now when I think of stain I think of the wood stain that is typically brown and I would use on something I buy from the mill store or use on my patio flooring. So I was surprised when I asked the paint guy at Lowe's what to use on an outdoor rocking chair and he told me white stain. Regular latex paint would over time yellow and peel in the outdoor elements. Now the Olympic stain looked and brushed on just like paint.

Start with the under side of the rocking chair. I did this so I would not later have to flip the chair over when the other side had fresh paint. I did two coats of paint on the underside allowing it to completely dry before flipping it over.

Step 6: Finishing

Once I finished staining the chair I let it dry for a few hours. Even though the stain also had a sealant I finished the chair off with a finishing spray. This just gives it a little more of a sheen and a finished look.

Step 7: Enjoy!

You're done and your chair is ready to weather the covered (porch) elements!

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    13 Discussions


    Check out the full tutorial here


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Note: This instructable is not endorsed by

    Olympic Stain®:STAIN that never takes a day off.

    nope. Totally not a advertisement whatsoever.


    5 years ago on Step 7

    I admire your patience in manually sanding down all curves and edges.

    Nice instruction.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    looks great, and it is great that you were able to avoid using any harsh chemical strippers on the old paint. the white stain should be pretty durable too.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent, thank you - I have one I'm going to do this to. I would like to know how you kept your nails undamaged though, mine will be in shreds after this!

    1 reply