From Fussy Frame to Rockin' Rocking Chair!

One Saturday before I hurt my back, my Son's friend invited him over to play for the day.  For the first time in a long time we had several hours to ourselves on a Saturday.  That never happens!  How did we spend out time?  Looking for junk of course!  :-)  We went to a new antique store and when we walked in I knew it was the wrong place for me!  The man who owned the store had lovingly restored all the furniture and the prices reflected the work.  When he asked me if he could help us with anything I told him his stuff was way too nice for me and what I like to do to it.  He laughed when I said I needed his junk, the stuff he hadn't gotten to yet.  He took us into an outdoor storage space he had and that's when I saw my newest project....a rocking chair with no seat :-)  The store owner gave me a great deal $25.  He said his Wife wanted him to retire so some of this stuff had to go.  He gave me a great deal on something else as well, but that's  another blog post! 

This is what the rocker looked like when I brought it home.   It's basically a frame.  I had no idea how I was going to make a seat for it so it sat for a bit while my back recovered and I researched what to do.

Here you can see where the seat should be.  As I researched I learned this is called a ladder back rocker. Most of these chairs have a canvas web woven seat.  Once I realized what the seat 'used' to be, I had a vision of what it 'could' be and that made me so excited!!!  

Here you can see the tacks they used to keep the woven seat in place.   There were a ton of these that I had to remove before I could do what I needed to the chair.

These are just a few of the rusty tacks I pulled our of the frame.  It was kinda cool to think about who put them there and how long ago they did it.  Yes, I'm a nerd..I know!

After doing my research I went to Joann Fabrics and got my supplies.  I didn't need too much really.  I remembered when I was there looking at stuff with a friend that Joann's had this woven stuff they use for upholstery.  Then I realized it's called upholstery webbing.  I figured I could make a seat out of this by putting strips of this webbing vertically then weaving it through and putting strips horizontally.  

In this picture you can see the webbing.

I stapled it to the front first then pulled it around to the back and stapled it there as well.  I used a TON of staples!  I didn't want this thing falling apart on me.

This is how it looked when I had all my vertical pieces stapled on.

This is the view from the bottom (notice I'm not showing you the staples....there were so many I was embarrassed!).  You can see how I wove it through to make a 'seat'

This is the view from the top  There were parts I couldn't weave through properly because the seat angles in a bit.

Next thing I did was cut my foam.  Did that catch you by surprise?  Did you think I was going to have that ugly webbing be my seat?!  If you did them you don't know me very well!  :-)  Back to the foam....I cut the foam down then realized again, the sides angle in a bit.  So I took the scraps and cut smaller pieces for the sides.  

Then I covered it all with 2 layers of batting.  This was tricky because the 'legs' of the chair come up over the seat of the chair.  Which meant I had to cut around and do some fancy tucking to get the seat just right so it didn't pucker.

OH yeah!  More stapling!!!!  Love my electric staple gun!!!

This is how the chair looked after I finished with the batting....Oh yeah and I painted it too :-)  I should explain I painted it after doing part of the upholstery because I wasn't completely sure the seat would work.  I had to make sure it was sturdy and felt OK before I painted it.  The frame was a nice brownish black and the condition wasn't too bad or so I thought.  When I put one coat of paint on the chair I started to see little cracks and that's when I figured I was doing the right thing by painting it.  I painted a light coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint, in Old White,  because I wanted the chair to show it's age and wear.

Here you can see the distressing.  I put one coat of paint and a coat of wax, then I sanded down the high spots and a bit more where I wanted then finished with another final coat of clear wax.  

I like how the ladder back shows up a bit more now.  Hard to see with the rough, white garage floor though!

The one thing I haven't brought up is fabric!  I couldn't leave the chair seat covered in batting with no fabric could I?  This is where I threw a monkey wrench into the whole process for myself.  I had envisioned putting this rocking chair in our family room.  However, when I went looking for fabric I couldn't find a thing I liked in my color scheme.  I did find a fabric I fell in love with though!  So I bought a yard of it and decided I would make it work in the living room instead.  

Here it is....the finished project!  Don't you just love that fabric???  

So, you might read my blog and think I have everything all figured out ahead of time with each project....NO, not the case at all.  This project was probably the first one in a long time that I honestly felt perplexed when I was done.  I had NO idea where to put this thing!!  I brought it in and put it in front of the window in the family room and Hubby laughed and said how ridiculous it looked.  I was NOT happy about that because all it did as make me really second guess myself!  I had planned all along to put this rocker in the family room...why hadn't I picked a different fabric!   I started to panic.....and considered just putting it on Craigslist for sale.

I ended up putting it in the corner of the living room, which has a black, red and cream color scheme.  I love, love, love the chair, but don't love it's new home.  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it!  I have a lot of side tables sitting in storage from our last house so I tried all 3 different types of side tables and they all looked ridiculous next to this chair.  It almost needs a basket full of yarn next to it or something!  :-)

Here you can see where I put the rocker.  It's fine there, but I'm not wowed.  It might end up on Craigslist afterall!

I took the red pillow off so I could show off the fabric again.  It's all the cute fabric's fault that I don't know where to put the chair.  Yeah I'm going with that :-)

So, next time you start a project and think you have everything figured out, just remember this....sometimes things don't work out the way we think they're going to work out! Go with the flow! I'm fine going with the flow sometimes, but the control freak in me doesn't enjoy it much.  I really do love the look of the new and improved rocker.  It has the fun and updated look I was going for.  If only that fabric came in brown or grayish blue!!  Keep an eye out because you might just see this chair on Craigslist......


  1. Love it.... Great idea for this type of chair.

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