How to decorate a wooden rocker

Just because a rocking chair is old and worn doesn't mean that it can't be restored and look new once again. Here are a few ideas and instructions.

A wooden rocker is beautiful without any extra embellishments but as the rocker gets old and worn some inexpensive techniques can make it look like an entirely different piece. A simple rub-on appliqué, for instance, can give the chair a Victorian look or a country flair. The appliqués are aligned onto the back of the chair and a Popsicle stick or coin is used to transfer the image from the paper to the chair. The look is especially impressive when done at the top of the inside back. Smaller ones to match can be placed on the arms or add a giant rub-on to the seat. Use a spray-on sealer to protect the appliqué.

And you can always make or buy the tie-on cushions, which are added to the chair for more comfort. Some people tie the cushions only onto the seat; others add one to the back as well. Designing your own makes it easier to match your decor than shopping for a set.

Stencils are another easy way to give an old rocker a new look especially when you use them along with metallic markers. The markers go on easily and are permanent. Tape the stencils to the parts of the chair where the design will go and use the metallic markers to highlight certain parts of the stencil, like bows, or do the entire design in metallic ink. Choose a design that is linear and use it on the slats on the back of the chair. Or go across the top back area with the markers then add metallic accents on the arms and rockers. A different design is to use the linear stencils only on the rockers and the arms. Many stencils come in a set of large, medium and small designs to mix or match. Similar markers are available in acrylics or a pearl appearance. They're much easier to work with than paints and there's little error.

If you're a decent artist you can paint a beautiful country home scene on the back of the rocker if the chair is one that has a large piece of wood across the top back. Or if it's the type that has the wide, flat arms pictures can be painted on them.

Fabric stores now have material that is imprinted with wolves, deer, eagles and other animals. These fabrics are easily decoupaged onto the chair. Cut out the pattern in the shape of the area where you'll glue it. Treat the edges of the material with a fray treatment if necessary to keep the fabric from unraveling. Apply the decoupage glue to the area of the chair, put the picture in place and spread the glue over the top. Use steel wool to slightly buff the image.

Paint dots, which come on a sheet, can be arranged to make a monogram on the top back of the chair. The dots are glued onto the chair in the shape desired. Or purchase a large brass monogram that can be attached to the back of the chair.

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