Rainbow Rocking Chair Project: Turn Eclectic Inexpensive Rocking Chairs Into A Collection

Thing I learned this weekend: Rocking chairs have lots of nooks, crannies and curves. They are not easy to paint. : )

Here’s a sneak peek of my progress on the Rainbow Rocking Chair Project. My goal is 7 chairs — one for each member of the family. So far I have 5. They were all found locally on Craig’s List at prices from $10 to $40 each. (I found #6 on Craig’s List this morning and will pick it up this evening. Yay!)

I had lots of green-tinted primer left over from the piano, so I used it on the rocking chairs. I’m such a brat about wasting things like perfectly good primer. It bugs me to no end. When I realized the colors I was using on the chairs were bright enough to cover the green primer, I was delighted to use it up instead of buy more.

At the paint store, I inquired about polyurethane and how I should handle painting these indoor chairs for outdoor use. They recommended using a high-quality exterior paint and skipping the poly. They also warned that the intense colors I was picking were sure to fade in the sunny Colorado sun. But I went for it anyway. I can always repaint if they get too faded. I bought quarts of exterior paint in red, orange, yellow, green and blue. (#6 and #7 will be turquoise and magenta. I think.)

Warning: the intense colors take several coats of paint. In fact, none of the chairs pictured here are finished. If you could look closely, you’d see they all need an additional coat (or two). In fact, the green one has only been primed. This project will take at least another weekend. Probably two. Plus, I’d really like to add bright cushions and pillows…

But what I’m loving about this project is, you kind of can’t go wrong:

– Almost any style of rocker would work in this eclectic mix so it’s easy to add more — for guests, or if your family grows. Wouldn’t a couple of child-size ones be cute in the collection?

– If a chair gets worn out (they are bound to, being left outdoors), it’s easy to replace. And you’ll have plenty of paint leftover to transform the new addition.

– When painting, if you don’t do the best job ever, it’s okay. They’re outdoor chairs and will be used pretty roughly. Mistakes won’t matter. These don’t have to be refined. I’d say only 1 of the 5 I have so far would be worthy of stripping the paint and refinishing — meaning, these aren’t heirloom chairs, you don’t have to treat them like they are.

-To save money, you could paint or stain them all the same color. I was tempted to go royal blue for my whole collection. Instead of buying 7 separate quarts of paint, I would only have needed one gallon. And I think they would have looked equally cool in all one color.

A note on budget: I planned on $50 per chair ($350), plus painting supplies. But I’ve been able to score on chairs, so it looks like the whole project (7 chairs plus paint) will come in at about $320. Not bad.

Do you like them? Have you ever put together a similar type of collection, where you unite a group of objects through paint? I’d love to hear.

46 thoughts on “Rainbow Rocking Chair Project: Turn Eclectic Inexpensive Rocking Chairs Into A Collection”

  1. I am in love with this project. I am going to steal this idea for my own house…but I will only need 4 chairs. Thanks for the great, fun, new idea! You are the best mom ever!

  2. After reading your original post about the rocking chair project, I decided to copy cat you. We have an old farm house with a big porch that is in need of some cute furniture. I've collected 3 chairs (I need 6) and started thinking about colors. I love how yours look so far. I'm wondering about spraying vs brushing? Any input?

  3. Those look great. I'm painting all my kitchen chairs a different color. A tip I learned is to buy a little tester pot of paint for as little as $3.00 each. One pot will easily cover a chair and that way you're not wasting your $$ or paint. Lowe's, Home Depot, and even Sherwin Williams all sell the small sample sizes now.

  4. I love, love LOVE this! I am so glad you decided to go with all the different colors! Can't wait to see a picture of them finished and on your porch!

  5. I like AND love!

    Dear husband has a old glider from his Grandma Olive (love the name…) and I am really hoping to paint it and recover the taupe cushion. It would be an indoor chair, though. Should I prime and paint?

  6. I too love everything about this project. The colors are so much fun and the price can't be beat.

    Thanks for sharing the details. I may have to try and piggy back on this idea.

  7. I LOOOVE that you are doing this! Brightly colored painted furniture…especially when done in unexpected ways thrills me to no end! Yay for your happy outdoor rocker projects! "Rock on!" =)

  8. So So COOL! I'm going to steal your idea (but try to find returned paint at home depot to save money – our budget is SMALL). I also love the idea that the chairs can be used for seasonal decor, too. The red and green chairs can be used on the front porch at Christmastime and we just add a wreath. The orange and yellow chairs can hold the scarecrow and some pumpkins in the fall. Red, white, and blue for Independence Day, etc. I love it!!

  9. this is an awesome project! here i am wishing and hoping a rocking chair will someday come my way when i should be out scouring yardsales and craigslist. thanks for the motivation. i love seeing all of your brightly painted chairs together.

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