How I Gave a Rocking Chair a Rustic Finish

In this post I’ll be sharing How I Gave a Rocking Chair a Rustic Finish.

There, do you see it?!! My favorite rocking chair in the whole wide world is sitting there. 

No not that one

The one, on the left. 

I saw this little rocking chair at Junkapalooza. 

It looked like it was just being used for a display piece because it had piles of products for sale stacked on it, and no price tag. 

Something about it caught my eye and I just had to ask, “Is this chair for sale?”

The answer I got was just what I wanted to hear, but wait how much was it?

The price that was shot at me was one I could handle, “$5.”  SOLD!! 

How I Gave a Rocking Chair a Rustic Finish

This chair went through a lot of changes before I finally figured out what I wanted it to look like. 

The first refinish went something like this: I sanded the rest of the finish off (most of the top portion was already sanded when we bought it.)

Then I cleaned it, stained it and put 1 1/2 coats of polyurethane on it. Yep I was almost finished when I decided I didn’t like where this chair was headed. 

I meant for it to match the other rocking chair, but it just wasn’t doing it for me.

Painting the chair was always in the back of my mind, so I decided I would try that. 

Now this is where things got crazy. 

So you know how you know better, but you do something anyway despite your common sense. 

Maybe it was because I had already spent a lot of time on this chair, that I just half heartedly did this next step. 

I lightly sanded over the polyurethane that I had applied to the chair, and exasperatingly told myself, “That’s good enough.” 

Well I went forward in the painting process putting 2 coats of latex semi gloss paint on it. 

I used the same paint I painted my kitchen chairs with (that project is coming up). 

After the paint was dry, I went to distress it with sandpaper and it just peeled off.

UGH!!! I didn’t sand it well enough before applying paint, which would have been fine if I were using chalky finish paint. :/  

I kept thinking, “What in the world were you thinking? You know better!!”

This was frustrating at the time, but ended up being a happy mistake.

Well the next step was a mixture of just peeling the paint and sanding the parts where it actually adhered, but as I did this the chair transformed into perfection in my sight. 

I loved the rustic look I was getting!!

There was still stain left in some places and even paint left in the cracks, but it was a beautiful sight. 

After all the sanding was done, and the chair was cleaned up, I sealed it with finishing wax.

The chair didn’t come with a seat, so I cut some plywood we had lying around to fit perfectly on the chair. 

I then took some lining in an old coat and stapled it to the plywood to create a cushion.

I then decided this need a little quilted look added to it. 

The wood already reminded me of a chair you might find in an old barn that had been sitting there for years, worn and rustic, so a quilted look fit the wood finish perfectly. 

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve kept fabric pieces for years and haven’t used them yet, well I pulled out some of those quilt blocks and sewed them together to create a cover.

I used my heavy duty stapler to staple the quilted piece onto the seat. 

My lines aren’t perfect by any means, but I think it lends to the rustic look, so I’m pleased with the “not so perfect” look of my quilt cover. 

Whew! I think I prefaced this chair makeover enough, onto the pictures. I’m in love with this chair so I took lots of pictures. 

I hope you enjoy looking at How I Gave a Rocking Chair a Rustic Finish.

Thank you for sharing  How I Gave a Rocking Chair a Rustic Finish!


  • Corey (AKA

    Corey is a lifelong DIYer, crafter, and writer. He's combined those passions into many creations here on Repurposing Junkie and other websites like and

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright 2015-2018 Repurposing Junkie. All Rights Reserved.
Scroll to Top