DIY Furniture Upcycle, from Trash to Treasure

There is nothing more satisfying than taking a piece of furniture that’s relatively unsightly and making it perfect for your home.

As well as our home renovation, I have a lot of DIY projects and upcycles so make sure to join the newsletter so you never miss a project.

I feel a little strange saying these rocking chairs were upcycled as I feel like I actually ‘down-cycled them and I LOVE how they turned out.

A couple of years ago, these beauties were spotted on the side of the road, another man’s junk and all. After a quick picture exchange and desperate call from me, my husband headed out and picked them up. I literally had anxiety, worried they’d be gone when he got there. I couldn’t fit them in my car so had to wait it out. 

But thankfully, Derek was able to drop everything, and these gorgeous rockers found a new home. 


At the time I had just had my second child (2 under 2), and we were flipping houses, so life was pretty busy, so they sat in the basement….another year went by and another baby then we decided to head back to Australia. They were on the essential packing list, and I am so glad I brought them. We have so many renovations going on I had to wait for a quiet moment to work on them, and finally it came. 


Project Materials 

  • Chairs 
  • Paint Stripper
  • Scraper
  • Scraper and blade
  • Paint Roller
  • Timber Oil

Originally I had planned to give them sand and paint them all one colour, but as I sanded, I realised just how beautiful the wood was. I mean, these are old chairs, and the wood has aged beautifully, so to cover them with paint felt like I was doing them a disservice. So instead, I started scraping and stripping them.




Step One: Sand

I started with the sander for the flat areas like the hand rests and base

removing paint

Step Two: Remove Paint from decorative posts.

If I continued with my plan to paint I would have roughly sanded them using a hand sander however as I loved the wood so much I decided to take off the  paint. I thought using a paint stripper was the only option. I started by painting the stripper over the old paint. The results were ok and it was effective in lifting some of the paint, once it bubbled I removed it with a scraper. But in my experience paint stripper takes multiple applications to be effective.

paint stripper

Then I was handed a scraper with a blade and that was it. Not only was this tool effective and fast at removing the paint but it also left some of the undercoat and paint leaving a beautiful aged/ weathered look which I didn’t realise was exactly what I was looking for.

scraping paint away

Step Three: Figure out the best way to remove the paint

The first chair I used a

  • Sander
  • Paint Stripper and scraper
  • Scraper with a blade.

The second chair I used the sander on the arm rests only and used the scraper with the blade on the rest of the chair and it took me half as long!

upcycled rocking chairs

I was still unsure what to do with the weave – I couldn’t remove that paint so had planned to freshen it up but once I saw how the wood looked the worn paint on the weave looked perfect!!

oil for chairs

Step Four: Oil them for protection

As these rocking chairs were going to be left outside I used a decking oil to finish them and protect them. I applied the coat using a roller, let it dry for 24 hours and then applied a second coat.


finished oiled chairs

So in the end I didn’t try to make them look shiny, I made them look perfectly weathered, perfectly aged. I love old furniture and I love the beauty in imperfection and so, for me, these chairs are imperfectly perfect.

Don’t mind the mess! As you know we are still mid renovation and we have started to prep for paint so we have piles of ‘stuff’ everywhere. Don’t forget to follow us on socials to stay up to date with projects and our house renovation.


Happy renovating



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