Grain Sack Stencilled Rocking Chair

2 Materials
2 Hours

When we found this painted rocking chair, it happened to be on a day with hit the jackpot of curb side chairs.

Using Milk Paint

My eyes went immediately to that gorgeous blue colour in the middle of the pack when I came across this new line of Milk Paint by Fusion. At that moment, I knew I had to use it for my little rocker. 


To prep the chair, we sanded and wipe away the dust with a damp cloth.

I tend to only mix in small batches what I can comfortably use in the time I have to paint. Since the chair is small, I use a measuring spoon to measure quantities. Mix the milk paint in a glass jar - equal parts powder and water. Pop on the lid and shake it up. Let it sit for at least 15 - 30 minutes so the water is fully absorbed into the powder.

Don't have a jar? There's a link to another method I often use on our post (link where you see our logo at the bottom).

After mixing, but before using the milk paint, be sure stir up up again. Occasionally during use, remember to give it another stir. The powder tends to settle as the paint sits.

I only hit the highlights of the wood carving with the tip of my brush because I want the black to show through in the recesses.

As you'll see later, I have something special planned for the slat. The black background is a jumping off point for a stencil I'm going to add.

Everything else gets 3 light coats of milk paint. One thing to keep in mind with lighter colours of milk paint: you will need more coats than usual. I barely squeaked by with the 50g package. For that reason, next time I milk paint a chair with a light colour, I'll buy a larger quantity!

Grain Sack Stripe

As pretty as the milk paint is, a little red 'lipstick' will catapult this chair makeover over the top. So I'm embellishing the slat of the chair with this  Grain Sack Stripe Stencil  from Funky Junk's Old Sign Stencils. 

I have a six step process for applying stencils to avoid bleeding underneath. Watch this video as I hit the highlights. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you're at it :).

To get a great result make sure the applicator is dry before painting. I dab the paint applicator onto papers towels to offload most of the paint before stencilling.

Easy does it: apply a few light coats instead of a heavy one and you'll get crisp, clean lines.I happen to love these foam daubers for applying paint to stencils.

There are lots of conventional and unconventional options you can use to apply paint to a stencil. I've even had success with sponge makeup applicators. Try a variety of different applicators to develop your own preferences.

To get into the details like the carving at the top of the slat, stop stencilling at least an inch short of the carving. When you're happy with the density of the paint, carefully lift the stencil and set aside to dry.

Apply some painters tape as shown to continue the stripe. I use a stiff bristle brush to get into the details (again make sure it's dry). Because the brush is stiff, it's easy to pounce toward the carving to fill in against the edges. You'll see exactly what I mean in the video. Lift the tape and you're done. 

You'll notice that the grain sack stripe still stops short of the bottom. No, I didn't get lazy. I was going to fill it in as I did with the other end - and even had it taped, but Hubs really likes it this way. I think it's quirky. Besides, every once in a while I let Hubs think he actually gets to have some input into the design of our pieces 😉. In all likelihood, it won't get seen anyway; I'm planning on making a chair cushion in a future post!

Once all the painting is complete, I lightly sand the milk paint with sandpaper to knock back any rough spots. This is optional, but I also 'wet sand' the hemp oil too.

Hemp oil is an all natural product that, if applied like I'm doing here, will make your milk paint finish feel silky smooth.

Pour a little hemp oil into a container, dip in a cotton the rag, then spread the oil onto the surface. There's no need to wipe in the same direction as the grain. Then take a clean piece of 320 grit sand paper and rub it through the oil on the surface to burnish the milk paint. Use a microfibre cloth to remove any excess.

The hemp oil brings out all off the richness of the colour as you can see below!

Time to put the chair back together! I reuse original hardware whenever I can. These tacks help cover the hole in the seat left after the removal of the caning.

Just as I was about to take a photo, a little red autumn leaf blew into the shot. I think that must be Mother Nature's way of thanking us for saving this little charmer from a certain fate in the landfill! I added a chair pad we have kicking around just to show you that a cushion can make the rocking chair more comfortable and inviting. Are you into the plaid this autumn?

Or maybe you prefer a crisper look sans the seat cushion?

Funky Junk has an amazing selection of stencils besides the grain sack stripe I used today, so be sure to check them out.

There are more great tips on our blog post, so visit us at the link below right where you see our Birdz of a Feather logo. If you're ready to get your craft mojo on, follow us for more great craft ideas. You'll find all our social media icons at the top of this post.

Suggested materials:
  • Grain Sack Stencil   (Funky Junk's Old Sign Stencils)
  • Milk Paint   (Milk Paint by Fusion)
Birdz of a Feather
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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