Vintage Rocking Chair Re-Do Before and After Kid's Rocking Chair Redo

Ever consider reupholstering something, but intimidated by that process? Here’s a great way to get your feet wet… start on a small upholstery project, like this child’s vintage rocking chair re-do project I’m about to show you.

Our youngest grandson turned 1 this fall, and his daddy, (our son) loved his little rocking chair when he was a wee lad, so when I spotted this child’s vintage rocking chair at a yard sale this last Spring, I immediately thought of our grandson. vintage rocking chair before

Even though the vintage rocking chair was currently a bit, er… ugly… it was sturdy and I had faith it could be re-done and look very cute. Even cute enough for me to feel good about giving it to our grandson and him hopefully, eventually loving it as much as his daddy loved his own little rocking chair.

Here’s the thing, I am not by any means a professional re-upholsterer. So if you’re reading this, and you are one, don’t laugh too hard at how I approached my little project. I just did it the way it made sense for me, with my limited tools, and basic knowledge of reupholstering. I’m sure there are tricks up a professional’s sleeve to re-do this vintage rocking chair. But this post, and this blog for that matter, is all about encouraging you non-professional upholsters and decorators with a desire to make your surroundings functional and beautiful and to show you that even with limited knowledge and tools I, and you can do it! vintage rocking chair after old fabric removed

So, I started by ripping the old fabric and padding off the seat.

Then I sprayed primer and several coats of paint on the vintage chair.

Next came the padding… vintage rocking chair padding before attached

I basically cut the piece of padding as I was fitting it on the chair, taking out the corners for the front and back corners, but leaving enough to wrap down to the very bottom edge of the front, back and sides. This wasn’t the most efficient way to do this, I’m sure, but since I was just doing 1 chair and not a bunch, I could take the time and fiddle around with it just so. vintage rocking chair padding around sides too

The padding is secured to the chair by using a hot-melt glue gun. The reason I glued the padding first, before the fabric goes on, was to help prevent the padding from moving around under the fabric and bunching up.

Then, moving on to the fabric. For that, unlike the padding where I cut out the square corner, vintage rocking chair fold and clip corners

I instead cut a diagonal cut from the corner into just where the fabric of the seat hit the arm support, then folded back that fabric, creating a right angle with no raw edges.

Also, for the fabric, I made sure to leave enough length around the bottom, to allow the extra needed to wrap around and attach on the bottom inside. vintage rocking chair bottom of chair

Here you can see what I mean… the fabric comes around and is glue-gunned all along the inside edge, securing it well. (my electric staple gun doesn’t work anymore… it sends out a bunch of staples at the same time and makes a mess! I need to get a new electric or manual one for projects like this, but I’m not sure what to look for… any tips would be greatly appreciated!!!)

Next, to finish off the bottom and add a little bit of pizzazz, I made some welting in a contrasting blue-ish polka dot fabric. vintage rocking chair zipper foot for sewing trim

I didn’t have any normal welt cording, so I used some jute cording that worked great. Then with a zipper foot, and my sewing machine needle position all the way to the right, I could get a nice tight fit for it. vintage rocking chair trim made

Here’s a close up of the welt. I folded and tucked the ends, so that when I placed and glued it on the bottom edges, it wouldn’t have any raw edges exposed.

Then one more little detail… vintage rocking chair brads

Along the side little edge of the fabric on the corners, I wanted to add a little handsome detail for our little fella that notices and will gently touch with the tiny tip of his finger all the minute details… vintage rocking chair brads done

There, just 2 brads on the short sides to give it a finished detail. You can also see the welting edge glued along the bottom. vintage rocking chair chair done

Ta-da! All done. Isn’t it cute? The fabric I selected looked to me like a vintage fabric from the 1930’s, which is probably about when this child’s vintage rocking chair was made.

The rocking chair has since been given to our grandson and he’s learning how to crawl up and sit down in it. And talk about cute!… oh my word!

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This post is linked up at the following other sites: A Stroll Thru LifeTip Me TuesdayYesterday on TuesdaySavvy Southern StyleDIY by DesignJust a Girl and Her BlogDIY DreamerFrom my Front Porch to YoursPosed PerfectionFrench Country Cottage

Reader Interactions


  1. paperworx4seniors2 says

    Well if the moving company hadn’t lost my oldest daughter’s rocking chair I would have been fixing it up for our youngest child when she was born after we moved. Hubs had just gotten out of Air Force after 9 yrs. and we moved to Colorado Springs from Tucson. Sure is funny only thing “lost” was that little rocker. Shame on you movers.
    You did a wonderful job on your grandsons’ rocker. It looks all new and ready for him. He’ll enjoy that rocker for quite awhile. Your choice of fabric and making your own welting was smart, really gives that little chair good presence. I”ll bet he does look adorable playing in it and learning to rock in it. Enjoy this wonderful time with him. Happy daze

  2. Sally says

    That little rocking chair looks great! I appreciate your instructions, I would like to upholster a few things too. Thanks for the tutorial.

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