Refinished Vintage Rocking Chair with a Modern Twist

When I started envisioning my little girl’s vintage schoolroom nursery, I had ten thousand and one different ideas on what type of rocking chair I wanted to use in the room.  Of course, I would have loved to have a new, uber-comfy and stylish rocking chair, but that just wasn’t in the budget.  I looked for a second hand option, but had no luck finding a decent one for the price I wanted to spend.  I thought about taking an vintage chair and retrofitting it with rockers, but that option would still cost a couple hundred bucks.  Then, I stumbled upon this beauty at the thrift store.

It was marked $60, but it had a tag that was half off, so I snagged her up for $30 and got to work making her beautiful again.

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An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

I stripped the old finish off with the only furniture stripped I ever use.  It works so well, and smells a lot less awful than the others I have used.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

After applying the stripper, allowing it to do its magic, and cleaning it off, I sanded it down to remove any excess finish.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

I used Aged Oak Gel Stain from Minwax to give it a consistent color.  I would highly recommend using a gel stain on a piece like this.  The thick texture makes it much easier to wipe on and not drip around on all the curved and vertical surfaces.

Once it was thoroughly dried (you can find the time needed to dry on the label), I gave it two coats of clear acrylic sealer in a flat finish.  I used my Home Right paint sprayer to spray on my favorite clear coat – General Finishes Flat Finish.  However, there are also acrylic sealers that come right in a can, like this one, that will work just as well.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

The back panel was actually just hot glued onto the frame.  At one point, I think it had caning on the back, but I think the previous owner came up with a pretty great idea to just add a different panel.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

I kept the old fabric on the panel (it was really stuck on there good!) and just used a glue gun to glue the fabric to the panel.  (The staple gun was not used for this part.) To give it a finished look on the back, I cut out another piece of fabric the same size of the panel and just folded the edge under slightly as I hot glued it into place.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

The bottom seat actually just rests in the frame, so I was able to pop it out and staple the fabric right over the old seat.  I removed the old fabric on this one before applying the new one, and added a little extra cushion too with a sheet of foam.

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

The contrast of the modern fabric from Minted and the natural wood is just perfect.  Minted has an awesome collection of fabrics designed by independent artists; there is sure to be one you fall in love with like I did with this one!

An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

I love how the chair turned out, and although I’m sure it’s not as comfortable as some of those $1,000 nursery chairs, I’ve sat in it for who knows how many hours already, and it’s plenty comfy.

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An old vintage rocking chair gets a new look with stripped wood and a modern black and white fabric.

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6 thoughts on “Refinished Vintage Rocking Chair with a Modern Twist

  1. I love this makeover. You took this chair from drab to fab. I appreciate the tips too. I have several curvy pieces that I need to refinish, so the gel wax tips is appreciated.

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