How to Paint a Wooden Rocking Chair



I’m back with some of my favorite colors today on a vintage rocking chair makeover.  My mother tells me she and my father bought this rocker from JC Penney’s early in their marriage, so it was probably manufactured in the 1960’s.  It is in beautiful condition, and who doesn’t love a rocking chair?

rocking chair before

Since this piece doesn’t belong to a client, I was able to choose whatever colors I wanted.  If you’ve been a blog reader of mine for a while, you know the blues are my favorite. 

I wanted to do a little blending to highlight and shadow the pressed details on the back.  I did most of this project on a Facebook Live video here if you’d like to see the process.

Resource List:

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If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post, and you can download it free here by clicking the picture:

Blending the Blues

After a good cleaning, I painted a combination of 2 colors of blue.  I used the Dixie Belle small round brush which helped me get into the spindles and small areas. 

With chairs, it’s also important to turn it upside down to make sure you paint every surface and don’t miss any spots.

Using the same brush for both colors helps a little with blending.  It does cross contaminate a bit if you are painting from the original paint jars, but so little that I don’t worry about it.  If you prefer, you can pour the colors out into a paper bowl or plate to ensure they don’t mix in the jars.

rocking chair front

A spray bottle also helps, so you can mist with water as you blend.  Dixie Belle paint is quite thick, so water really helps you use it to the fullest. 

I used a small artist brush to get into the tiny little nooks.  The chair took 2 coats for good coverage, with a light sanding between coats and after.    

When it was all dry and lightly sanded for a smooth finish, I sealed the whole piece by spraying a small area with the Easy Peasy spray wax and then spreading it out using the applicator pad.  You don’t have to seal Dixie Belle paint, but I wanted to add a little more protection.

rocking chair detail side view

Darkening the Cane Seat

The cane seat was in great shape, so I definitely wanted to save it.  To give it a little more character, I wanted it to be a darker richer brown. 

I taped it off and brushed on Voodoo Gel Stain in Tobacco Road.  Since it is water-based, it dries quickly and still leaves a little color variation and transparency.

rocking chair top view

In hindsight, I would suggest staining the seat first.  I had some drips of stain onto the spindles and rockers below the seat.  While it was easy enough to touch up, it would make sense to paint after staining.

rocking chair right side

I thought I would distress and even use some waxes on this project, but once I was at this stage I didn’t want to go too far. 

It’s such a simple piece with its own beauty, and I wanted to let it shine.  This chair gives me all the nostalgic feels, and I hope it does the same for you! 

rocking chair top back

As always, if you learned anything or were inspired here, Please Pin!

Rocking Chair pin

If you liked this project, you may enjoy these as well:

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10 thoughts on “How to Paint a Wooden Rocking Chair”

  1. What a gorgeous chair and great color! Love the curvy arms, very unique. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xo Kathleen

  2. Kristin says:

    Love the color you chose! Thanks for sharing at Charming Homes & Gardens!

  3. That is such a beautiful shade of blue!

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Ilove it too!

  4. The bright blue is a modern upcycle! I’d love for you to share over at our weekly Wednesday Creative Crafts Linky Party https://creativelybeth.com/creative-crafts-linky-party-7-join-in-the-fun/
    Have a great week!
    Creatively, Beth

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Beth! xo Shannon

  5. Rebecca Payne says:

    So cute! I love the paint color you choose.

    1. Shannon says:

      Thank you sweet Rebecca!

  6. Julie says:

    It’s lovely, that effect you did on the detail on the back is just beautiful.

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Julie!

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