How to Reupholster & Paint a Rocking Chair, Part 2

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Join in as we take a rocking chair from being only an oldie to a goodie.  If you’re just joining the 3-part series, be sure to check out part 1 here.

reupholster a rocking chair part 2 via Prodigal Pieces

Time to paint!  I decided to use CeCe Caldwell’s Vintage White chalk paint.  I’ve used it on this table with great success.  You can always make your own using this recipe:

  • 1 1/2 c. paint (you can use flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss)
  • 1/2 c. hot water
  • 1/2 c. plaster of paris
note: I use this recipe all the time and it works great, but plaster of paris will leave a grit in your paint that will need to be lightly sanded off.  You really do not want to use this recipe long term, as plaster of paris should not be inhaled.  I am looking into Websters Chalk Paint Powder, which allows you to mix your own, just like plaster of paris, but is not toxic.  Be sure if you use the plaster of paris, to wear a mask.

When putting the paint on there’s no need to worry about being neat, all the haphazard extra touches will be hidden by the upholstery.  So have some fun!

reupholster a rocking chair part 2 via Prodigal Pieces
After I began to apply my first coat, I noticed that the spots where I had sanded a little more aggressively were starting to bleed stain through.  This is typical for furniture that has had either a mahogany or cherry finish.
reupholster a rocking chair part 2 via Prodigal Pieces

Nothing that a little stain blocker, like Kilz, can’t handle.   (I love this stuff!)  I went ahead and coated the whole chair just to be safe, and then went back to the chalk paint.


After two coats of chalk paint, I used Minwax paste wax, using a little of natural and dark to give it a time-worn effect.  Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area and use gloves suited for chemical use.  I am in the process of finding a cost-effective (or at least less stinky) wax that will give me the finish I so love. I have my eye on a couple products, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear about them!

reupholster a rocking chair part 2 via Prodigal Pieces


Typically, I like to distress my pieces, and if you distress chalk paint in the raw it tends to come off a little too easily.  I like more control, so I distress after my first coat of wax has set for about 10 min. and I’ve buffed it with a soft cotton cloth to a wonderful lustre.
Last, I added a second coat of wax to more durability to the rocker.  You could even do a third, which I’ve done on some pieces.
Now comes the upholstery in the next post, Part 3, when you can see your chair is really coming together!  Don’t miss out, become a follower to get the last of this 3-part series.
reupholster a rocking chair part 2 via Prodigal Pieces
Any questions?  Please feel free to ask!

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  • kellyorr

    Looking good, Larissa! Can’t wait for the grand finale!

    July 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! Part 3 will be up by the end of the week. :o)

      July 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm Reply

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