How To Paint A Wooden Rocking Chair? – A Useful Guide


Wooden rocking chairs are great for relaxing, outdoors or indoors in your farmhouse. They are perfect for sitting under the shade and enjoying the cool breeze of the evening. They represent relaxation and have been around for a very long time.

In this guide, we are going to discuss how to paint a wooden rocking chair and restore its glory. That old wooden chair passed down to you can be revived and given a new colorful identity with a few DIY steps.

A little bit of warning though, this a bit time-consuming, but it’s not very hard and it’s very rewarding. We’ll explore two methods, using a brush and using a paint sprayer. So, get your favorite playlist cued up and get ready for an adventure.

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Check out these selected videos to learn more about how to paint a wooden rocking chair:

Step By Step Guide To Paint Wooden Rocking Chair

Things You’ll Need

  • Damp cloth and warm soapy water
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: Cleaning

Have you seen a paint job and just felt like the paint doesn’t sit right? That’s probably because the painted surface wasn’t properly cleaned before the paint was applied. You have to clean your wooden rocking chair before doing anything else. You can do this with a damp cloth and warm soapy water.

You can use a hose and a brush to clean off debris and dirt. It’s important that you pay attention to areas that are difficult to reach to make sure everything is clean and ready. Allow the chair to dry before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Sanding

For a great paint job, the surface of your wooden chair has to be smooth and clear, you have to get rid of the existing paint and rough spots. This might be time-consuming, but it’s very important. Wipe the chair clean of paint and wood dust. Then do another round of sanding with a fine grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface.

Don’t miss the difficult spots, for example the spindles and small crevices. If you don’t like sanding, here is my guide on how to paint without it.

Step 3: Priming

A coat of primer is essential for every painting project, so you’ll need to apply a coat of primer to your wooden rocking chair to get it ready for painting. You might be thinking of skipping this step as priming requires as much work as painting, you’ll need almost the same number of brush strokes and the same amount of time. But you shouldn’t.

A highly porous surface needs priming, and wood is very porous and always requires a primer. A primer’s job is to provide a stable surface that the paint can sit on, it’s also prevent the wood surface from soaking up the paint. Priming is also very effective in hiding surface stains.

If you think priming is too much and just want to go straight to painting, then you can use self-priming paint. Self-priming paint is thicker and forms a thicker coat, but it takes long to dry and isn’t as strong.

Step 4: Painting

Two methods of painting will be discussed, using a paint brush and using a sprayer. No one way is better than the other, but using a paint sprayer saves you time and makes painting the spindles (if your wooden rocking chair has spindles) easy.

  • Paint Brush

Apply your preferred color of paint using short and smooth strokes with your brush. Paint in one direction only, no back and forth movement. The number of coats you’ll apply is up to you. But you have to allow the paint to dry in-between coats for the best result.

  • Paint Sprayer

Like I pointed out before, using a paint sprayer saves you time and makes painting spots that are difficult to reach easy. Spray paint also dries more quickly. The most prominent and effective paint sprayers are airless paint sprayers and compressed air sprayers. You can do a little research on both and use one that’ll work best in your situation. It is important to note that when using a paint sprayer you should use a tarp to cover the surrounding area to avoid staining.


1. Should I Use A Primer Or Not?

It is highly recommended that you use a primer as it will lay a good foundation for the paint. You can still paint without a coat of primer, but you’ll get better results when you use a primer.

2. Is There A Recommended Color I Should Use?

The color you choose depends on your preference and your immediate environment. You are at liberty to choose any color that appeals to you, but make sure it’ll blend well with your environment and other pieces of furniture in your space.

3. What Type Of Paint Is Best For Wood?

Acrylic paint is great for indoor wood paintings while acrylic enamel is great for outdoor wood paintings. The enamel paint is resilient, thereby protecting the wood against the elements.

4. How Many Coats Of Paint Should I Apply?

Two coats of paint is recommended. It all depends on how deep you want the color to be.


When you look at your wooden rocking chair with it’s faded paint and dated look, you might feel like restoring it to its old glory, or giving it a new glory, might be a difficult task. But it isn’t. Yes, you’ll have to set aside a considerable amount of time to get it done, but it’s very possible.

Follow the steps above and you’ll have yourself a fully restored, colorful, and beautiful wooden rocking chair beautifying your space in no time.