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Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover

Have you ever been to a garage sale and had a piece follow you home? It was back in October, on a rather warm day for the season when I stumbled upon a sale. Loads of vintage goodies were sitting in the yard beckoning me to come and visit. Grab a cup and I’ll share the story of this Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover and how I flipped it into the beauty it is today!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

To be completely honest, when I first saw this chair, I quickly passed it by.  

I had just completed my DIY Dropcloth Recovered Deconstructed Chair and Ottoman and wasn’t feeling another upholstery project.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

So I ooh’ed and aah’ed over all the other goodies and started my pile for check out, ready to barter a bargain… until I met my match.

There sat this beautiful lady with a twinkle in her eye – you know, the kind of lady you just wanna hug! In closing our deal, she said she’d reduce my price if I took that chair.

What? I’d get a better deal on everything if that came home with me?

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

I kindly said no thank you, but soon learned it was a deal that I couldn’t pass up.

She would only give me the price I wanted if I took that chair as part of the bargain. Before I knew it, they loaded it into the back of my van along with my other treasures.  

I don’t know who was smiling more – me or her!

The chair was in excellent shape for it’s age. I started to see the beauty in all the blemishes and gave this Vintage Rocking Chair makeover a try!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover

(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

The only part that needed repairing were the arms. The wooden dowels that held many elements of the arms broke in various places from years of use.

So that was an interesting repair which involved drilling out the broken dowels and replacing them with new ones using wood glue.

First, after stripping the old fabric away, I was amazed to find the old coconut fiber used for stuffing.

It was quite a mess and had to be disposed of immediately, so capturing a picture was difficult.

I bet there’s coconut fiber still in the seat. Since the springs were intact and there wasn’t any sagging to the seat, I decided to leave it as is.

I sanded the exposed wood to achieve a unfinished look.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

Wanting to mimic my Deconstructed Chair and Ottoman, I stapled upholstery ribbon to the back for support.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

Next I stapled muslin fabric and I love how they look together. After that, it was a flurry of stuffing and batting and wrestling the fabric to maintain shape. Alas, in that process, my pictures were blurry.

I used the original batting from the back (minus the coconut fiber!) along with filler from a few old pillows I had. I covered that with a second layer of batting before I added the drop cloth fabric.

It was the same as my other chair tutorials, like my Wingback Chair or my Deconstructed Chair. Pulling the dropcloth fabric taut, I stapled each piece in place.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

I covered the exposed staples with upholstery trim. I chose a lacy type of trim along the bottom in off white.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

For the back I used a smaller ribbon in burlap, which matched nicely with the upholstery straps.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!
Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

The arms reassembled beautifully with the new dowel rods.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

In keeping with the original build, I chose to keep the dowels exposed instead of trimming them off.

I think it adds to the rustic element of the chair.

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

And most of all, I love how the two chairs play nicely together – as if it’s meant to be!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

So this little chair that followed me home now has a soft spot to sit and a soft spot in my heart!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

Pin this project for later!

Vintage Rocking Chair Makeover: I took this old spring rocker I found at a garage sale an flipped it into an updated beauty! Read the full tutorial here!

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33 Comments

  1. Hey Tammy!

    Thanks for reaching out and that’s a great question. I had a huge bolt of bleached drop cloth that I used for this chair, so I didn’t take an exact measurement.

    I would say 3 – 4 yards of upholstery fabric would be more than enough.

    Hope that helps!

  2. So glad this inspired you, Cathy!

    And I get the same way every time I try a new DIY. But as you can see, I eventually overcome those nerves and get into beast mode! LOL

    Good luck with your project – you can do it!

  3. I have my grandmothers rocking chair just like this one. I am so excited to redo the chair. I am not crafy at all, so I am nervous to start

  4. I’m curious as to how much fabric it took to reupholster this chair, please. I need to recover a similar one. I’m thinking 4 yards, but want to make sure before purchasing.

  5. Pingback: Friday Favorites: Amazing Kids Spaces, Gardening Ideas, and Secret Christmas Tree Storage – Chandra Lockey – Blog
  6. Love how your chair turned out. Thanks for sharing this at the Inspiration Spotlight party Pinned & Sharing. See you again soon

  7. I love this chair! You did such a great job making it over!! The lace trim is the perfect finishing touch!
    ~Emily @ LeCultivateur.com

  8. Thanks Teresa – I love linking up to your party each week! So many awesome bloggers out there to get inspiration from! Thanks for hosting!

  9. it’s lovely, you did a wonderful job. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party this week. Pinned.

  10. Thank you Trudy! Reupholstery projects are so daunting to me, yet I keep finding myself with pieces to update! Thanks for taking the time to comment – I hope this inspired you to tackle a project of your own!

  11. Wow! You really made this beautiful! I love the design on the arms of the chair. I’ve always wanted to try upholstering but never got around to it! I’ll have to check out your other tutorials!

  12. Seriously crushing on this piece. Inspired to make a sanded finished piece.

  13. Jennifer,thanks for this post.Really thank you! Great.

  14. Hi Mary! I have been digging the natural wood look too! We had a rare warm week here in Tennessee back in January and I was immediately outside sanding away! I’m right there with ya! Have a blessed day and thank you for taking a moment to comment!

  15. Jen I really love the natural look of the wood. It complements the drop cloth perfectly and looks so earthy. I think this natural look is quickly becoming my favorite in decorating. Only problem is I hate to sand in the winter. But come spring when I can go outside …

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