I found this sweet little rocker and I usually don’t buy rockers for they don’t sell at the shop, but this rocker was smaller, had some issues, and I thought that someone might want to put it in their garden with a pot of lovelies on the seat and wouldn’t really care too much about the condition. The rocker was stained in dark walnut, but had some paint marks on it here and there. The seat was originally cane, but it was all broken through and had a nailed masonite board over the hole in the seat. I brought it to the shop as is to use as display to set items on the seat, and it worked great! I had thought about painting it a lighter color and fixing it up a bit, but I thought I would wait and offer that to a buyer so I could get their color preference.
A buyer did come in and loved the chair just as it was but wanted to know about a cushion. So I packed up the rocker, brought it home and started to look it over a bit closer since it was not going out in a garden, but will be going into a bedroom. I decided to give the chair a facelift….a fresh look, retaining as much of the original surface as possible. The paint marks were not coming off with paint remover, so my only other option was to sand them and then re-stain. I was grateful to have a dark walnut stain on-hand, and started to sand off the paint; gave a light sanding over the whole chair; wiped off all the sanding dust and then I re-stained the whole chair with the walnut stain.
The chair seat was brown, but it had water marks and didn’t match the stain color. I turned the chair over and with an x-acto knife, I cut around the seat opening to remove all of the broken cane hanging down from the busted seat. I first thought to paint the seat dark brown which I did with acrylics in brown and black mixed together. It went on fine, but when it dried, I could still see the outline of the watermark. So, I decided to stain it with the same walnut stain I used for the chair. After the stain dried, it was perfect, no stains and the color matched the chair perfectly! Whew!
For the cushion, the buyer wanted blues, and I had just the right fabric in my stash which she loved. The ikat pattern had several shades of blue which will blend with the blues in her room. I made a pattern of the seat by tracing the shape with paper. I wanted to have some sort of piping, and to save time and labor costs, I decided to use some cotton laundry line I had from a previous project and whip stitched it around the outside edge in the seam of the sewn cushion with blue embroidery thread. I wanted the ties to be out of a nice wide ribbon for bows, and found some wired ribbon at JoAnn Fabrics that not only matched the color, it had the same texture as the fabric on the cushion…awesome! I used a small section of ribbon and folded it over where the piping ends came together and sewed it on by machine. The ties were also sewn on by machine as close to the seam as possible at the top. I added small buttons that I sewed in each corner for more detail.
I always like adding a bit of unexpected surprise to items I work on when the inspiration hits me, and I decided to add the word, “Rockin” to the masonite seat top. Not that it will be seen on a daily basis, or maybe ever….but when it is, I can just envision the smiles it will bring and that makes it all worth it. I don’t have fancy printers and special paper, and I didn’t want to make stencils, so I decided to make the words on the computer in the size and font I liked, printed it off, then I thought, now what? I used to take a pencil and rub the back of the paper with the words and then trace the top with a pencil so the words would carbon off on the surface, but this wood seat was dark so that wouldn’t work. Then the inspiration hit me to use dressmaker transfer paper! The transfer paper worked like a charm, I just placed a sheet under my word sheet, and traced the words with a pencil and lifted up the paper and voila! The word was all traced out. I then painted inside the letters with white acrylic paint and then outlined the letters with a black marker. I lightly sanded it with 320 grid so it would look a little worn, and then I wiped on a coat of poly over the whole seat and let dry.
It was fun to bring a worn, sad little chair to a “rockin” fresher version of herself….plus knowing that it will be loved in a new home makes it all the more special!
**Update on rocker, client backed out of sale unfortunately, so chair is still available and I may be painting some blue accents to break up some of the stained wood. This happens sometimes, when clients back out of a custom order and gratefully it doesn’t happen too often…all lessons learned.
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