Painting a wooden rocking chair can be a fun and rewarding DIY project, but sanding it down can be frightening. Sanding can be time-consuming, messy, and even damaging to the wood if not done correctly. However, fear not! You don’t have to sand your wooden rocking chair to achieve a beautiful new finish. This blog post will guide you through the process of How to paint a rocking chair without sanding. We’ll share some tips and tricks to make your project successful and leave your rocking chair looking brand new!

How to Paint a Rocking Chair Without Sanding – An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

How to Paint a Rocking Chair Without Sanding

The following are the steps on how to paint a rocking chair without sanding

A. Preparing the Rocking Chair for Painting

Preparing the rocking chair properly ensures the paint adheres well and provides a smooth finish. The following are steps to preparing the rocking chair for painting;

1. Cleaning

The first step in preparing the rocking chair for painting is cleaning. Here’s how to do it:

Tools Needed for Cleaning the Rocking Chair

  • Warm water
  • Soap or dishwashing detergent
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean rags or towels
Step-by-Step Process of Cleaning the Rocking Chair
  • Remove any cushions, covers, or accessories from the rocking chair.
  • Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of soap or dishwashing detergent.
  • Dip the soft-bristled brush into the soapy water and scrub the entire surface of the rocking chair, including the arms, legs, and backrest.
  • Pay extra attention to areas with visible dirt, grime, or stains.
  • Once you’ve scrubbed the entire rocking chair, rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
  • Use clean rags or towels to dry the rocking chair completely, ensuring no moisture remains.
  • Once the rocking chair is dry, inspect it for any remaining dirt or grime. If necessary, repeat the cleaning process until the chair is completely clean.

2. Filling in Any Holes or Cracks

After cleaning the rocking chair, the next step in preparing it for painting is to fill in any holes or cracks.

Tools Needed for Filling in the Holes and Cracks

  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
A Step-by-Step Process for Filling in the Holes and Cracks
  • Choose a wood filler that matches the color of your rocking chair or is slightly lighter.
  • Use a putty knife to apply the wood filler to any holes, cracks, or gaps in the rocking chair.
  • Press the wood filler firmly into the hole or crack, ensuring it fills the space.
  • Use the putty knife to smooth the surface of the wood filler, removing any excess.
  • Allow the wood filler to dry completely, following the manufacturer’s guide.
  • Once the wood filler is dry, use sandpaper to smooth the surface of the rocking chair, ensuring that it’s even and smooth.
  • Wipe the rocking chair with a clean towel to remove dust or debris from sanding.

3. Sanding Only Necessary Areas

Sanding the entire surface of a wooden rocking chair can be a tedious and time-consuming task. However, sanding only the critical areas will make the process much quicker and more accessible while still achieving a smooth and even finish. Here’s how to file only the necessary areas of your rocking chair:

Tools Needed:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
Step-by-Step Process for Sanding the Necessary Areas
  • Examine the rocking chair for rough spots, old paint, or areas that must be smoothed out.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit) for sanding only those areas that need smoothed out.
  • Fold the sandpaper in half and wrap it around a sanding block to make it easier to handle.
  • Sand the areas in a circular motion, applying even pressure.
  • Check the surface periodically to ensure that it’s smooth and even.
  • Once you’ve sanded all the necessary areas, wipe the surface with a clean rag to remove any dust or debris.

B. Painting the Rocking Chair

After properly preparing your rocking chair, the next step is painting it. Here’s how to paint your rocking chair without sanding:

1. Choosing the right paint

  • Types of paint to use: There are different types of paint to use on your rocking chair, including latex and acrylic paint. These types of paint are suitable for wooden surfaces and are available in various finishes, including glossy, satin, and matte.
  • Factors to consider when choosing paint: When choosing paint for your rocking chair, consider the color and finish you want to achieve, as well as the durability of the paint. Choose weather-resistant paint if you’re planning to use the rocking chair outdoors.

2. Priming the chair

  • Why priming is necessary: Priming the rocking chair before painting is essential to ensure that the paint adheres well and to prevent any stains or discoloration from the old paint bleeding through.
  • Step-by-step process: Apply a coat of primer to the rocking chair using a brush or roller. Follow the manufacturer’s guide regarding the drying time.

3. Applying the paint

Tools needed:

You’ll need a brush or roller to apply the paint.

A Step-by-Step Process for Applying the Paint
  • Apply the paint in thin, even coats, starting from the top and working your way down.
  • If you need to apply additional coats of paint, allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat.

C. Finishing Touches

Once you’ve painted your rocking chair, it’s time to add the finishing touches. These final steps will ensure that your rocking chair looks beautiful and lasts for years. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Applying a sealant

  • Why a sealant is crucial: Applying a sealant to the rocking chair will protect the paint and provide a long-lasting finish.
  • Types of sealants: Different sealants include polyurethane or a clear coat.

2. Reassembling the chair

  • Step-by-step process: Once the sealant has dried, reassemble the rocking chair, ensuring all screws and bolts are tightened.

3. Adding cushions

  • Types of cushions to consider: If you want to make your rocking chair more comfortable, consider adding cushions. There are different cushions, including foam, polyester, or cotton.
  • Step-by-step process: Measure the seat and backrest of your rocking chair and choose cushions that fit these dimensions. Attach the cushions to the rocking chair using ties or Velcro strips.


Painting a rocking chair without sanding is a simple and rewarding DIY project. By following these steps, you can achieve a beautiful new finish without the hassle of sanding. With a little effort, you can transform your old rocking chair into a stunning piece of furniture that will be the centerpiece of your home.