Rocking Chair Covering Ideas

Are you looking for some rocking chair covering ideas? Here’s an easy one you are going to love and will want to do yourself!

Let’s dive in!

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Pinterest graphic showing before and after of rocking chair covering ideas

DIY upholstered rocking chair

Do you like to go to yard sales? We love it! Especially after the year we have had over the last year and a half of restrictions due to COVID.

Both hubby and I have been avid yard salers over the years of our marriage. There’s something about getting a deal. And the social aspect of it too.

Listening to other people’s stories and connecting with people in the community is a huge plus when shopping at yard sales.

rocking chair with old fabric, springs, batting removed for rocking chair covering ideas blog pot\st

This happened just a couple of weeks ago. We decided to use the Yard Sale Treasure Map iPhone app to help us find some local yard sales.

Our last stop of the day was an estate sale of sorts. I say that because the owners of the home had passed away and the children were holding yard sales weekly at their parent’s home until they could sell the home itself.

They weren’t crazy about getting rid of all the treasures their parents had accumulated but realistically, they couldn’t keep it all. The family had already gotten the items they wanted and there was still a bunch of items left.

pile of old upholstery on rocking chair covering ideas blog post

Including this rocking chair. It was broken, the velvet upholstery had disintegrated into dust, the springs were broken and the wood frame was in sad shape.

Well, you know by now that we love the old and broken, the downtrodden, the forgotten, the leftovers. They have a special place in our hearts 🙂

rocking chair with upholstered seat removed

rocking chair covering ideas

Before I even started thinking about chair covering ideas for this rocking chair, I started the basics by restoring this rocker.

Ripping off the old upholstery, making repairs, and prepping the wood for a new finish is usually my starting point with pieces we are going to reinvent and upcycle.

lady sanding a rocking chair using a DeWalt Orbital Sander

While I am working on these tasks, I start to envision what I want to do to the piece. Like this wood frame on this rocker.

The wood was solid maple and really beautiful once it was sanded down to bare wood and cleaned. The natural state of the wood was too pretty for stain but needed a little oomph.

Restor-A-Finish by Howard Products is an amazing wood restoration tool. It is super easy to use – wipe on, wipe off and wa-la, brand new finish!

I did use a small artist’s brush to get the Restor-A-Finish into the nooks and crannies of the rocker.

close up of Restor-a-Finish container in dark walnut

After I applied the Dark Walnut, I realized I had gone a bit darker than I wanted to. So I pulled out another one of my favorite products – Miss Mustard Seed White Wax.

close-up of wood frame on rocking chair after being sanded and then Restore-A-Finish applied

This wax is soft and so easy to use. I applied it with a chip brush and then wiped/buffed it with #0000 steel wool. The process created a soft white-washed look and also creates a nice soft finish on the wood.

The wax also knocks off some of the orangy colors in the wood.

miss mustard seed white wax being applied to wood frame on rocking chair

easy upholstered rocking chair

Next up was the fabric for the upholstery. Again, I hadn’t decided exactly what I was going to use for the fabric. Since it was such a small upholstery project, I knew I would use something on hand.

But first, the upholstery webbing had to be replaced.

The rocking chair originally had springs but they were broken so I tossed them in the trash. The springs were zig-zag style and were attached from front to back.

I had to create a new support area with upholstery webbing so I cut a board and attached it to the inside of the rocker with wood glue and screws to hold it securely.

This creates an area to attach the webbing from side to side as well as from front to back.

After attaching one side, I used an upholstery webbing stretcher to pull the webbing snug to the other side.

BTW, be careful with this tool! Those spike thingies are super sharp! Keep them out of reach with children at all times!

close up of gooseneck webbing stretcher

There are lots of YouTube videos about using this tool but basically, you stick the prongs into the webbing a couple of inches away from the area where the webbing will be attached and then pull down to tighten the webbing.

Continue to hold the stretcher in place while you use the pneumatic staple gun to attach the webbing to the underside of the wood frame.

Maybe I should do a more in-depth tutorial and video on this technique. Let me know if you are interested in the comments below!

At this point, I didn’t have any rocking chair covering ideas – what fabric was I going to use? I had no idea!

faux grain sack

So I went through my stash and came across a piece of #12 natural cotton duck canvas that was large enough for the seat of this rocking chair. (check out my shopping links for a reproduction grain sack fabric as another option!)

And then I remembered another project I had used this gorgeous piece of fabric on! Pop over here to see what the project was.

So I got out my fabric paint!

fabric paint, paper plate, paint brush and fabric taped of to paint grainsack style stripe

Does that sound crazy? Let me explain.

The other project turned out to look like I had used a piece of vintage grain sack. Maybe not exactly, but close! Grainsack can be expensive and besides I didn’t have any in my stash.

So I created my own using FrogTape and fabric paint! This is an easy technique and I will most definitely share a tutorial on this in the coming weeks.

fabric with frog tape marking off area to paint a grainsack style stripe

how to recover an old rocking chair

Back to my rocking chair upholstered seat. This is a pretty straightforward and easy reupholstery project. I ran a line of staples down the front edge starting in the center and working out towards the outside edges.

Keep this line of staples straight – it will be covered with trim later and you don’t want any staples peaking out!

upholstery nail gun laying on floor next to rocking chair that is being recovered

Next, I pulled the fabric towards the back and notched out around the back support and leg section of the wood frame.

The area on the left in the image below will be attached to the piece of wood we added for the webbing earlier.

The area on the right will be the fabric folding inwards and then pulled to the back. You’ll see that in the next image.

rocking chair with fabric and scissors laying on the seat of the chair

After folding the fabric to create a clean finish, I pulled the fabric all the way to the underside of the rocker and stapled it securely. As with the front edge, start in the center and work out towards the sides. Pull the fabric snugly but not so much that you create puckers and pull on the topside.

detail of fabric stapled down on underside of recovered rocking chair

Next, I stapled along the side edges where I had attached the extra piece of wood. The steps are the same – begin in the center and work outwards while keeping the fabric taut.

You can see below that I had some excess fabric at the two front corners. That’s easy to fix. Create a pleat and it will look like you planned it!

Your friends and family will be so impressed with your skills!

lady pointing to pleat on rocking chair covering ideas tutorial

Once all the sides are securely stapled, it’s time to cut off the extra fabric. Cut close to the staple line being careful to not get too close so that the staples won’t pull out.

top side of seat area on rocking chair that has been recovered with scissors on top, cutting away excess fabric

Add the cambric dust cover to the underside of the rocker for a professional look. I wouldn’t say this is a necessity but it sure makes everything look professional!

view of dust cover on the underside of rocking chair cover ideas blog post

you can upholster a rocking chair!

Wasnt’ that an easy upholstery project?? If you are intimidated by upholstery work, this type of project is the one you want to begin with. You’ve got this!!

Let me tell ya, you’re not going to find a good-looking rocker like this one in a new furniture store! There is something about taking the old and making it new again that you cannot replicate in China.

Sorry, not sorry! It’s so true!

recovered rocking chair with quilt on side, small side table with plant and pitcher, wall art on wall

Agh! I totally forgot to mention the jute braided trim I love to add to upholstery projects! Anyway, it’s easy to add it and you can see how in my tutorial on this Reupholstered Antique Settee.

That post is a 3-part series that you have got to read! You won’t believe the before and after on the over 100-year-old victorian settee!

Omgoodness, be still my upholstery-fabric-loving heart!! Anyway, didn’t this rocker turn out so adorable??

Someone local is going to love rocking a baby in this sweet rocking chair. Oh, the memories and sweet moments that will be spent right here 🙂

full view of reupholstered rocking chair with quilt and plant on side table

I’m so glad you stopped by today! And I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Can you let me know in the comments? Do you have any rocking chair-covering ideas that you can share with me? I would love to hear your creative ideas!

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Pinterest graphic showing before and after of rocking chair covering ideas

Until next time…

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  1. Cindy, this is an amazing piece. The lines of the chair is so pretty. Such a fantastic tutorial!

    No one would know it’s not real grain sack

  2. What an amazing transformation, you never disappoint! I adore rocking chairs and want many when we get our farm. In love with your DIY!!!

  3. Oh my goodness, Cindy! What a fabulous makeover and a fabulous tutorial to boot! I’m looking forward to seeing how you made the faux ticking – I never would have thought of doing that!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Isn’t is the cutest?? Thanks for stopping by Janet!

  4. So neat how you made the grain sack stripe! The wood finish turned out really well; toning down the orange was a great move.

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      The orange was a bit much – it was even worse in person! Thanks Marie!

  5. What a great transformation! This rocking chair is so pretty. I love the shape of it. Another beautiful job, Cindy!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Kim! Hopefully, someone will snatch it up in my shop!

  6. Oh Cindy, this rocker is so beautiful. I just love it. You did an amazing job on this piece.

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Tammy! It was a fun project!

  7. I love everything about this rocking chair makeover. White wax on wood is one of my favorite finishes and then you painted the fabric. LOVE ❤️

    Wonderful job with the upholstery. 🙂

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Do! Upholstery is my love language! And the painted faux grain sack stripe is fun!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thank you for reading and for your kind words!

  8. Cindy, this is amazing! I just picked up a chair that is going to be my first attempt at reupholstery. Thank you for sharing such a great tutorial. Pinned!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Lynne! Reach out if you need any help with the upholstery! I have several other posts about the topic as well!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Kristin – it was an easy and fun project! Thanks also for stopping by 🙂

  9. Just gorgeous! I am absolutely in love with the finished rocking chair. Great tutorial too 🤗

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thank you Allison! White wax works wonders, doesn’t it??

  10. Karins Kottage says:

    Cindy! WOW what a transformation and I love your faux French grain sack chair cover that you painted! So much work but sooo worth it! Beautiful job!


    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Isn’t the painted grain sack stripe fun?? And it’s so easy! Thanks for stopping by Karin!