Have you ever had a piece that you couldn't wait to get finished, yet loathed working on? That was me and my Victorian Rocker which has now been dubbed "The Wedding Rocker" because of it's looks. This was a project that was actually suppose to be very simple: paint, make cushion, sell! Yet the OCD side of me got ALL huffy and puffy and it just kept getting added onto, and going this way and that.
My ADHD side of me nearly burnt the house down in protest because of "focus" issues. I had a whole "triple personality disorder" thing going on for a couple of weeks. The hubs seriously asked me if I wanted to be medicated until I finished this rocker.
The though did cross my mind. I ate gobs of dark chocolate instead!
Yet here she is, finished and ready for a home to go to. I'd keep her here, but since we still live in this freaking mouse house of a home; there's literally no place for her to be. Let's see if I can explain what I did without confusing you as much as I did myself on this chair.
BTW, I completely forgot to take a before pic, but trust me, this baby was really bad shape. She had good "bones", and that's what counts in an antique piece like this. I started out by slathering Citristrip paint remover over the old paint - which was lead and I was covered from head to toe in my makeshift HazMat suit and banning the kids to come within 20 yards of me and my semi-nuclear waste dump. It took two coats of the stuff and a fine pointed pic to "carve" out the old paint from within the groves.
Next I had to completely dismantle her from her platform rocker base to clean the rocker springs up. They, too, were coated with old paint so I let them soak for 24 hours in my crock pot. This "melted" the old paint right off.
Note: Make sure you properly bag all lead paint, and lead paint contaminated tools, then properly dispose of them at your local solid waste disposal facility. Extra care and caution needs to be taken when removing lead paint contaminated debris.
There were a few minor issues with the chair that needed to be done so the chair would be "tight" and not wobbly. A little glueing here and there worked just fine as all the fittings were still solid. The chair itself was pretty solid already when I bought her, which was a plus and didn't mean a total restoration. This is what I mean by good bones on a piece.
All this was very well worth it after I saw her with just one coat of ASCP in Old White. The carvings were dry brushed though because I wanted the detail to show through naturally instead of enhancing them with dark wax this time.
There were some areas that took up to 3 coats of the paint because of the old mahogany stain kept peeking through, but the carvings took only 2 coats of dry brushing and little distressing here and there.
After painting, I reinstalled the platform rocker springs. Most springs would require separating the coils before installing, but since I could still use the original cast iron springs (they too stood the test of time!), they fit right back in. I did "secure" them this time by coating each screw with some Gorilla Glue and then screwing them back in. Once the rocker base was back on, it was time to start the reupholstery.
All I can say about nailing in jute webbing is watch out for the webbing stretcher! I literally grabbed that thing without looking and put 2 big holes in my left thumb, which left me unable to do anything with the chair for a good 48 hours. It now sits on the top shelf in my work shed far away from the kids!
Attaching the webbing is just a process of nailing in one side, then stretching the other side while you nail it in. It's a back and forth process while weaving the webbing like a basket. The point to the whole process is that want to make sure that it's tight enough so that a Heffalump doesn't fall through your seat!
Now, once that is done, it's time to create the template for the seat cushion!
Take a large piece of paper; in this case I took a couple sheets of art paper and taped them together. Secure the paper on the seat with pins so that it doesn't slide around while you trace the template out. No take a pencil and drag it around the edge of the chair. This will be the shape of your cushion, and seat covering as well. Cut the template out and then fit it on your seat. You should have a good shape of the chair seat.
When you cut the fabric out from the template, remember to add at least one inch to each side to account for sewing margins.
Next I got out all my supplies I needed for the cushion: the piping (which I made myself), the seat covering under the cushion, my top-bottom-and side parts to the cushion itself, and all my stuffing "stuff".
I cut out the seat covering from my template, then stapled the piping to the chair, then hot glued the seat covering over the piping. This was actually the simple part. The cushion took a bit more work because of the angles of the cushion. This is where I began to get a little nutty - and it didn't help that the kids were out of school for summer break either!
It just took a lot of patience and double checking of my work to make sure angles were sewn properly and measured correctly. It took a couple extra days, when it usually takes a few hours to pop out a cushion on a one of these chairs.
This is where the OCD side was taking over.
My ADHD side started "purposely" poking pins in my fingers as a result!
After stuffing and sewing up the final "hole" in the cushion by hand, I was onto....... rosettes? Yes, I got the bright idea of adding rosettes - 80 of them! - to the side of the chair below the cushion. After getting opinions from my assistants like the hubs, my 14 year old twins, a few people jogging by our front yard, I opted to add handmade rosettes on my chair!
No - I can't go out and just buy the suckers. I have to make every stinking one by hand and THEN decide only to use 40 or so of them instead, but only because my assistants changed their minds and said to put them on the sides only. I won't even tell how long my hands have been hurting as a result of this
completely freaking stupid "brilliant" idea of mine!
So THERE! I have rosettes on my chair:
It was because of these rosettes that the chair became officially known around here as
"The Wedding Chair".
Does it not look like a bride should be sitting here?
Now to use up the rest of the piping I make. I made enough, I gotta stick it somewhere! I hot glued it to both the front and back of the chair backing.
Easy enough, minus the notorious glue gun burns I get doing this. Next I felt like "jazzing" up both panels. The back was a gorgeous graphic from one of my fav gals over at The Graphics Fairy.
The front was just an old fashion stencil made with my Silhouette machine. Do you know how hard it is finding just the right fancy #2 these days?
After more hot gluing the panels in, my chair was starting to look like an actual chair now.
BTW, if you are stenciling something on a cushion or panel like this after you've already installed it in place, just use sewing pins to hold the stencil in place so that it doesn't slip around while you dab the paint on. This was a lifesaver for me since I decided on the #2 after the chair was nearly done.
I SO hate blank canvases.
Ok, have I covered pretty much everything now? Let me think, *tap* *tap* *tap* *tap*.........
Yep, I think I can show you the whole thing now:
As of tomorrow morning, you can find "The Wedding Rocker" at Angel's Antiques in booth D-8!
Cette chaise est fait! Bonne nuit à tous!