Rocking Chair Project Progress

September 8, 2009

Thing I learned this weekend. Rocking chairs have lots of nooks, crannies and curves. They are not easy to paint. : )

Here’s a sneak peek of my progress on the Rocking Chair Project. My goal is 7 chairs — one for each member of the family. So far I have 5. They were all found locally on Craigs list at prices from $10 to $40 each. (I found #6 on Craigs List this morning and will pick it up this evening. Yay!)

I had lots of green-tinted primer left over from the piano, so I used it on the rocking chairs. I’m such a brat about wasting things like perfectly good primer. It bugs me to no end. When I realized the colors I was using on the chairs were bright enough to cover the green primer, I was delighted to use it up instead of buy more.

At the paint store, I inquired about polyurethane and how I should handle painting these indoor chairs for outdoor use. They recommended using a high-quality exterior paint and skipping the poly. They also warned that the intense colors I was picking were sure to fade in the sunny Colorado sun. But I went for it anyway. I can always repaint if they get too faded. I bought quarts of exterior paint in red, orange, yellow, green and blue. (#6 and #7 will be turquoise and magenta. I think.)

Warning: the intense colors take several coats of paint. In fact, none of the chairs pictured here are finished. If you could look closely, you’d see they all need an additional coat (or two). In fact, the green one has only been primed. This project will take at least another weekend. Probably two. Plus, I’d really like to add bright cushions and pillows…

But what I’m loving about this project is: you kind of can’t go wrong.
- Almost any style of rocker would work in this eclectic mix so it’s easy to add more — for guests, or if your family grows. Wouldn’t a couple of child-size ones be cute in the mix?
- If a chair gets worn out (they are bound to, being left outdoors), it’s easy to replace. And you’ll have plenty of paint leftover to transform the new addition.
- When painting, if you don’t do the best job ever, it’s okay. They’re outdoor chairs and will be used pretty roughly. Mistakes won’t matter. These don’t have to be refined. I’d say only 1 of the 5 I have so far would be worthy of stripping the paint and refinishing — meaning, these aren’t heirloom chairs, you don’t have to treat them like they are.
-To save money, you could paint or stain them all the same color. I was tempted to go royal blue for my whole collection. Instead of buying 7 separate quarts of paint, I would only have needed one gallon. And I think they would have looked equally cool in all one color.

A note on budget. I planned on $50 per chair ($350), plus painting supplies. But I’ve been able to score on chairs, so it looks like the whole project (7 chairs plus paint) will come in at about $320. Not bad. You like?

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily September 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I am in love with this project. I am going to steal this idea for my own house…but I will only need 4 chairs. Thanks for the great, fun, new idea! You are the best mom ever!


2 Christine S. September 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm

I am so inspired to do this project for my patio. The colors are very much my style. Thanks for posting photos and getting me all pumped about a fun project!


3 Kaila September 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Love it!


4 Cara September 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm

I love it! The bright colors will be so fun out on a porch!


5 Katie @ goodLife {eats} September 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Like it? LOVE IT!


6 Aimee @ Smiling Mama September 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm

This is so fun! I absolutely love it!


7 Mychael-Ann September 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm

After reading your original post about the rocking chair project, I decided to copy cat you. We have an old farm house with a big porch that is in need of some cute furniture. I've collected 3 chairs (I need 6) and started thinking about colors. I love how yours look so far. I'm wondering about spraying vs brushing? Any input?


8 nicole September 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

love it!


9 Ashlee and Nathanael September 8, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Those chairs look incredible in those bright colors. Nice choices! I love this idea. I love that the chair are all different but still work together. I can't wait to see the last two painted.



10 amy smart September 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm

What a fantastic project!! The colors are wonderful.


11 ellen September 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Gabby Blair's rocking chairs!


12 Marie {Make and Takes} September 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Those are fabulous! But ugh, I hear ya on the nooks and crannies of painting those. We painted my sister's crib and it took forever!


13 Janet September 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I love the rainbow of rocking chairs. I painted some chairs this weekend also, but I took the easy way out: SPRAY PAINT!


14 Kimberly September 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Those look great. I'm painting all my kitchen chairs a different color. A tip I learned is to buy a little tester pot of paint for as little as $3.00 each. One pot will easily cover a chair and that way you're not wasting your $$ or paint. Lowe's, Home Depot, and even Sherwin Williams all sell the small sample sizes now.


15 Andrea September 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I love, love LOVE this! I am so glad you decided to go with all the different colors! Can't wait to see a picture of them finished and on your porch!


16 Ginna September 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I don't just like, I love!! :)


17 mrs boo radley September 8, 2009 at 7:21 pm

I like AND love!

Dear husband has a old glider from his Grandma Olive (love the name…) and I am really hoping to paint it and recover the taupe cushion. It would be an indoor chair, though. Should I prime and paint?


18 HollowSquirrel September 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm



19 jomama September 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm

they. look. AWESOME.


20 Jen R. September 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

What a great idea! Love the colors! jen


21 Sarah September 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

These look gorgeous! Great, great job!!!!


22 Mauri September 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

Love the chairs! I love all those bright colors. What a great visual statement your porch will make. :)


23 The Girl: September 9, 2009 at 11:13 am

I too love everything about this project. The colors are so much fun and the price can't be beat.

Thanks for sharing the details. I may have to try and piggy back on this idea.


24 Karen September 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Like? I LOVE! Super job… and it looks so neat. Can't wait to see them all lines up!


25 Sarah September 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I love them! I love that they are so different in style as well! Great job.


26 Rebecca Lynch Photography September 10, 2009 at 6:37 am

I like the chairs and the the bright colors you are painting them. I might have to steal the idea. This could make a great winter project.


27 Kelly September 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

These are so peppy and rad. They leave me longing for a porch.


28 Anonymous September 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I am beyond inspired! I'm off to thrift some rocking chairs!


29 Jessica Ochs September 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm

I adore this project! It makes me want to go run out right now and find four rocking chairs. The colors are fantastic! Thanks for sharing!


30 Rachel H September 11, 2009 at 8:54 am

I LOOOVE that you are doing this! Brightly colored painted furniture…especially when done in unexpected ways thrills me to no end! Yay for your happy outdoor rocker projects! "Rock on!" =)


31 Cathi September 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

I like…no…I love!!!


32 henzy September 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm

what a fabulous idea. good luck with the hunt.


33 Autumn September 13, 2009 at 10:54 pm

No I don't like. I LOVE. Fun idea!


34 jen September 14, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Love it – and I think they might just look cool all faded too!


35 mondo cherry September 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Brilliant! Did all your kids get to choose the colour they wanted? I can imagine a few disagreements otherwise (I have 5 and another on the way, so I know what it is like)!


36 Hannah September 17, 2009 at 6:42 am

What a gorgeous plan! I am so inspired to do the same thing with bentwood chairs.


37 Sarah September 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm

So So COOL! I'm going to steal your idea (but try to find returned paint at home depot to save money – our budget is SMALL). I also love the idea that the chairs can be used for seasonal decor, too. The red and green chairs can be used on the front porch at Christmastime and we just add a wreath. The orange and yellow chairs can hold the scarecrow and some pumpkins in the fall. Red, white, and blue for Independence Day, etc. I love it!!


38 made sweet September 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

yes yes yes!! i'm loving all that color!


39 Wendy May 7, 2010 at 7:53 am

I like! The colors are stunning, and the variety of chairs is absolutely breathtaking!


40 elizabeth June 4, 2010 at 8:04 am

These are so cool! The colors are awesome. Thanks for sharing.


41 allison June 10, 2010 at 8:22 am

this is an awesome project! here i am wishing and hoping a rocking chair will someday come my way when i should be out scouring yardsales and craigslist. thanks for the motivation. i love seeing all of your brightly painted chairs together.


42 Shandra Lenae July 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Iv’e GOT to know the names/brands of the colors you used for these chairs! Beautiful…my inner kid is just itching to have these on my porch!!!!!


43 cheryl September 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

brilliant – love the rainbow of colours! great idea.


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