Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rocking Chair Tutorial Part 2: Painting and Stenciling

I've gotten a lot of comments on my grain sack rocking chair, so I've put together a couple of tutorials on how I did it.

You can read the original post if you want to know the story behind this rocker.   If you missed the first post about recovering the seat, you can read about that here.

I knew I didn't want to paint the whole rocker because I wanted the wood grain to show through, and I also wanted an aged gray look.  Here's what it looked like after my mom stripped it.  I couldn't find any pictures of it before.  That was long before I started blogging.  But trust me, it was in sad shape.

From my stash of paints, I found this light gray paint.  It didn't matter what kind it was.  This happened to be a semi-gloss interior paint.  I just mixed a very small amount with an equal amount of water.  By the way, these little plastic boxes that mushrooms come in make the best little disposable paint pots.

Using a sponge brush with a very small amount of the paint mixture, and working in small sections, I brushed it on and let it set for less than a minute before wiping the excess off with paper towels.

It goes on more like a stain, letting the wood grain show through.  The longer you leave it on before wiping, the more opaque it is.  I recommend wiping it off rather quickly.  You can always add another coat if it is too light.

Here she is all stained.  I love the color, but wanted a little something special for the back of it.  I left it to dry and thought about it for a couple of days.  Then I had a brain storm.

I lost some photos on a corrupted thumb drive so I don't have a good picture of the back before stenciling. But as you can see in the photo below, I painted the curved back piece solid white and lightly sanded the edges.

To accomplish the stenciling, I turned to my Silhouette.  Seriously, it has to be my favorite tool I own. With my silhouette and a roll of contact paper I can conquer the world!  I created a stencil of the first verse of  "Hush Little Baby."  You can read about the story of why I chose that verse here.

Because the back was curved, I had to snip my stencil in various places to make it fit the chair.  Then I cut small slivers of contact paper to cover any exposed areas where I slit it.  I found the easiest way to work on it was to sit on the floor and lay the back of the rocker in my lap.

Here I'm using tweezers to put the middle of the letters back in place.  It was a little painstaking, but I'd rather do that than try to freehand it.  That would have been a disaster!

After the stencil was all in place, I used black acrylic craft paint and a wedge shaped make-up sponge to dab the paint on with.

I just kept pouncing (never use a dragging or "painting" motion) until it was dark enough.

Once it's all done it looks horrible...I kid.  This is before peeling the contact paper off :)

After the main piece of contact paper came off, it looked like this.  Yup...had to use those tweezers again to remove the middle of the letters.

Finally the verse is done!  

One last look at the completed rocker.  

Now Tux thinks I did it just for him.  Silly cat!

This post is linked to these awesome parties:

Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Boutique


  1. OMGOSH, Deborah! That turned out fantastic! I love it from stenciled back to grain covered seat cushion. GREAT job! xo Diana

  2. I just love this chair! Although, I don't think I could use mushroom packaging for paint...that would mean I'd have to buy mushrooms! Gah! :)


  3. Love your beautiful rocker, just perfect for rocking the babies!
    Perfect verse, too.

  4. Hi Deborah, I love your rocker and this tutorial is fantastic. Looks like Tux loves it too. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed Sunday.

  5. The rocker is beautiful and the lettering turned out so well! I love it!

  6. This rocker turned out great! I love it!!

  7. I love how you "stained" the rocker! It's really awesome!

  8. Darling, darling, darling! Love It Deborah!

  9. Tux is a perfect name for you kitty!! :)
    I truly love how this rocker was transformed!!

  10. Wow, Deborah! That was a heck of a lot of work.....but it looks so beautiful! GREAT job!!!! ♥

    xoxo laurie

  11. So inspiring! I just love it. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques with us.

  12. Painting the old furniture like rocking chair is not easy. Your article makes me to understand how to paint well. Than you.

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