Decorated Rocking Chair

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I have had a very blessed year.  Two of the people I love most in this world have had milestone birthdays and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of those celebrations!

At the beginning of the year, as I started thinking about these two celebrations, I knew I wanted to try and create a special, memorable gift for each of them to express how much I (and others) loved them - them being my dad and a long time, special family friend.

The idea for a rocking chair popped into my head but I did not want the chairs to be just ordinary chairs that conjured thoughts of age, because neither of these individuals would make you think of age - no way, they are both way to active and jivy for that!

So I decided to decorate the chairs in a way that represented each of them while hopefully making them both fun, encouraging and personalized - golf for my dad, scriptures for my friend.  

Below is how I decorated the chairs.  Everything was done with paper and Mod Podge glue.  There was no painting involved, although if you are inclined to like to paint, it would give a wonderful flair to the chairs - but you do not have to if you are like me and try and stay away from paint!  

If you can cut and glue, you can make one of these personalized, decorated rocking chairs for someone whom you would like to celebrate as well (think birthdays, retirement, thanksgiving for service, even get well gifts).


1.  A Painted Rocking Chair (I purchased both of these chairs at Lowe's for around $100 each and for $10 more they assembled them.)  They were available in black, white, and brown.  Home Depot had a wider variety of colors online for a bit more money.

2.  Mod Podge Glue, a Foam Brush, a Roller, a Paper Plate or something to pour glue onto, a cup to hold some water (you will need to wipe up from time to time), paper towels, a mat or something to put under your paper when applying the glue (Mod Podge makes a very nice mat available at most craft stores).

For a thorough discussion on the different types of Mod Podge, click here.

3.  A Rotary Cutter (or scissors), with Mat, Ruler & Paper


Give the rocking chair a good wipe down to remove any dirt.  On the black chair, because I intended to place it outdoors, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly sanded the chair in the places where I would be applying paper and glue.  Make sure you wipe the chair after sanding.  I did not do this for the white chair which I knew would be placed inside.

Step 2

Determine how you would like to decorate the chair, thinking about the top headboard, the chair seat, back rails and arms.  Measure the width and length of each section and begin your lay out.  I started both chairs with the chair seats.  

I found a photo of golf turf online, then manipulated it in Photoshop to make stripes that were the size of the chair seat slats.  Every other stripe, I lightened from the original color to get this effect and then had it printed as a 24 x 30 photo. From that, I cut the strips.

For the white chair, I used a 12 x 12 Paper Pack that I loved!  It was an easy way to get multiple sheets of coordinating papers.  Using the measurement of the seat slats (which is also the size of the back rails), I simply cut multiple strips and mix and matched them on the seats.

When measuring, don't forget to measure the length as well as the width.  I kept forgetting that and put the glue on first, only to have to cut with my scissors while wet!  Not good for scissors!

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The process to attach the strips of paper is easy.  With a foam brush, "paint" the back of the strip of paper with Mod Podge, then "paint" the chair slat, and lay the strip of paper on the slat.  With the roller, roll over the slat to remove any bubbles.  With a wet paper towel, remove any excess glue.  

After the chair slats are done, it is time to decorate the rest of the chair.  For each chair, I chose to use personalized circles on the arms.  On the golf chair, I used green bordered circles and family members wrote well wishes for my dad.  

On the scripture chair, I used one of the long strips that I had already cut as a background behind the circles.  Using a scalloped stamp cutter, I first made floral shapes.  Then on my computer I made green bordered circles and on the inside I put words that described my friend (actually the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5).  I used a circle cutter to cut the printed circles, and glued each layer onto the chair arm using the Mod Podge.

Two mistakes I made, that hopefully you will learn from me,  not to do!

I should have wiped off the excess glue for a more professional look!  It dried clear but you could sees some streaks.  This happened all over the chair as you can see in later photos.  I also was ambitious and printed out cards to put on the chair before I actually measured.  Too Big, Start Over!

Once the arms were complete, I worked on the top slats (headboard).  For the golf chair, I used a quote about long life with photos of my mom and dad on the front, and a photo of our whole family on the back. 

For the scripture chair, I used random scripture verses.  In the paper pack, there was one sheet that had journal cards.  I scanned that into my computer and placed the text within each block, printed and cut.  (I am horrible at free hand, but you could definitely go that route if you have nice handwriting!)

I temporarily tacked these on with a glue dot to help me visualize the design.  I decided that before glueing I wanted to have more color behind the scripture verses so I cut strips to make it look like the paper was one continuous line, and then I put on the scripture verses.  

I decided to give this chair a name and called it "The Blessing Chair" because I wanted my friend to be blessed every time she sat in it.  So I printed the name on a sheet of paper and glued it on top of another strip of the coordinating paper.

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The finishing touches were a few hearts randomly glued on, cut from the coordinating paper, and a layered paper scalloped flower on each of the back rails where the mix matched papers met.

Voila, the Blessing Chair!

For the finishing touches on the golf chair, I gathered family pictures (including everyone:  my family, my brothers, their wives and all the grandchildren), cut those in circles, and put them along the back rails on the backside of the chair.

On the front side of the chair, on the back rails, I printed out some golf slogans and glued those to the chair.  Finally, adding a few printed golf balls on the front and back sides of the chair.

These were printed on legal size paper for added length - 8 1/2 x 14.

Voila, The "Swinging" Golfer's Chair!

The work put into both of these chairs was minimal in comparison to how I feel they were received!  They were both special tributes to people who are very well loved, and hopefully these chairs made them feel that way.  Hopefully, they will be constant reminders of that love and will bring great future enjoyment to the Birthday Boy and Girl!

I encourage you to try one of these for someone you love as well!

(and if you do, I would love to see a photo)

© margaret young