Rocking Chair Reupholster and Refinish

About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down!

You’ve probably heard me mention once or twice now that I lost both of my Grandmas within just a few months of each other. The majority of the furniture and the old farmhouse and the whole renovation journey started with the passing of my mom’s mom (Grandma Charlotte) whose farm house Joe and I renovated and is now ours. My dad’s mom (Grandma Eleonora) was not what I would have called a hoarder (she just knew how to keep a lot of things) so my dad and his siblings told all of their kids to head over there and pick what they wanted. This rocking chair was one of the pieces I chose and got to keep!

Step 1: Rip Off the Old Fabric

This is an old piece that I’ve run into time and time again on pinterest so it is not an uncommon rocker. However, I have not yet seen one with the same wood design as mine, but the shape and general idea is the same. I had never reupholstered anything before so this was a real learning curve for me because there was no way I was going to keep that ancient pinkish fabric, eeeww. I also wanted to sand it down and stain it darker but this old rocker did not take stain very well nor did it sand well, nor was it worth it. I should have just added another coat of poly to the wood and called it a day but, ya live, ya learn, ya know.

Step 2: Refinish the Main Frame

All I can say is that this turned into a much nastier and messier project then I had ever anticipated. The seat was full of some kind of straw and stuff that became like dust and the amount of staples and nails used on all of it was absolutely mind boggling. After two hours of pulling staples and an entire garbage bag full of the incredible amount of stuff that it had been stuffed with, it was ready to be remade and I was ready to never see it again. At some point in this rocker’s life it lost the support that had been in the seat. This chair is bigger then it looks and it really needed something besides fabric for that big seat so I picked up a bunch of 1x2s and cut them down to size and covered the seat with a bit of a gap between them, I did the same with the back of the chair too. From there I covered it in batting and chose the coolest fabric that I could find….

Step 3: Fabric Choices

Admittedly I wasn't very fond of the fabric initially but I will say that it is growing on me!

Step 4: Using Trim to Hide the Seems

Taking a cue from LiveLoveDIY (who redid a rocker almost identical to this one) I used trim to cover up all of my seams (hot glue guns are AWESOME, never mind the burns) and basically I just stretched the fabric and stapled it down.

Step 5: Happy Out Come

What I would do different now that I’ve done this. I would spend more time picking out fabric. I would NOT stretch my fabric so tightly. I don’t know why I thought it had to be as tight as possible but no, it doesn’t need to be stranglehold tight, I figured this out after I had already screwed up the seat. Oh well. I will fix it someday but, for right now, I like it fine And I think Grandma Eleonora would be happy with it.



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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I really like that fabric and you can always change it when you want something fresh. :>)