Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Facelift for the Bentwood Rocker Hiding in My Attic

Somehow through all my painting craze, the one in which I tried to get my blue and green paint-caked hands on anything and everything paintable, I managed to miss a large and hideous old bentwood rocker up in my attic. It has the classic swirly shape of this well-known rocker and that delectably ugly dark wood that just screams "paint me, paint me!!" So I called up my friend Claire, who has a great little place in East Nashville, and asked if she would have room for a rocker if I made it awesome. You see, I'm all about making sure my pieces have homes before I paint them, as a responsible painter and also because I'm apparently becoming the "crazy cat lady of tables" (psh I only have like 3). I'm also tiring of the jokes about how I should live in the basement studio because it is already fully furnished, minus a bed. Har har. Anyway, here's how the rocker turned out!

Here is the rocker in its original state (minus the caning on the seat which got a layer before I remembered to snap a shot)

I painted the caning a nice sage green wash and the body my favorite Duck Egg blue (both Annie Sloan). I also drank some wine throughout the project and wore my favorite shorts that my friends won't allow in public

After painting, which took a deceivingly loooong time, I decided that I really liked the colors together in theory but the effect in person was just so flat and frankly boring. It looked like it belonged in a nursery.

I clear/dark waxed the entire piece (which ohmygod took forever) and distressed it, but then the caning and body were too closely colored to contrast the way I needed them to

I went back over the caning lightly with a dark wood stain (idk if that is advisable or not, but it worked nicely for me!) and then wiped it off, bringing a lot of texture and visual interest to the piece. I also strategically wiped off dark wax. Feeling rather pleased with the current state!

I now declare it Finished (for now)!!


It took exponentially longer than I had anticipated to refashion this classic bentwood rocking chair, but it has turned out to be a neat piece and I think Claire really likes it. Job well done in my eyes!


  1. Looks great! I'm currently in the process of taking my bentwood rocker completely apart and sanding it down to get the dog bite marks out. I want to go two-tone, with painted caning and stained wood. I reserve the right to change my mind though...

    1. Did your rocker go back together again? I was told it has wood screws and once removed you can't put in New ones. I want to take mine apart to paint t it.

    2. Depends on the type of screws the manufacture used. I took mine completely apart, sanded it, painted it, and put it back together. I used Hide Glue at the screw holes to help seat and hold the screws. It's very strong and tight. Now I'm re-caning the seat and back.

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