Prefer a vintage-inspired rocker to an oversized glider for your nursery? Learn how to make easy DIY wooden rocking chair cushions.
Sometimes fabric starts it all.
When I was working on my daughter’s room – before I knew she was a girl – I was looking for neutral colours and prints that didn’t conform to typical gender stereotypes. Because I’m difficult like that.
I’ll talk about my dislike of pink to anyone who will listen. I’m an earth-tones gal through and through.
So, when I saw this graphic floral with its greys and greens and browns I just knew I had to have it.
I had to have it so bad, in fact, that I forgot to check the price tag… oops.
You may recognize the fabric as the background for the baby superheroes artwork from my last post – so, I’d say I got my money’s worth. Even though this fabric features flowers, I don’t find it overly feminine.
It actually reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are. Something about the long, snaking, brown and beige vine. It looks like the tail of a beast who just disappeared around the corner…
As for the rocking chair itself – it took some convincing, but I talked Devin out of an oversized and overpriced glider in favour of a solid wood rocker by promising I’d make a DIY rocking chair cushion for it.
I just find gliders too big, too tacky and besides – what’s more eco-friendly? A brand new glider made of synthetic materials or a secondhand wooden rocking chair?
No brainer, right?
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I’d like to say “and bippity boppity boo – it was done,” but this project actually turned out to be quite time-consuming. The chair, which I failed to take a photo of in its original state, had to be sanded, primed and given two coats of paint (and the darker wood still bleeds through in a few places).
The rocking chair cushions were another adventure as I bought several pre-cut pieces of foam, which didn’t work. Then, I got foam custom cut, but it was too hard and felt uncomfortable.
What I ended up doing – and what I should have done all along – was keep it simple and use quilt batting, which I cut myself and then sewed into the fabric. Easy peasy. I added some ties, wrapped it up and over the headrest (another request from Devin) and there she be.
I’m happy to report it’s already been utilized extensively and just this morning it was spit-up on for the first time.
DIY Wooden Rocking Chair Cushions Instructions
Here are instructions on how to make these wooden rocking chair cushions for a nursery – or wherever!
– quilt batting (Cotton batting is a more eco-friendly option than polyester.)
– fabric (A good natural option for a baby’s room is organic cotton.)
– ribbon (Try using ribbon made from a green material like jute.)
– sewing machine
1. Decide how many layers of batting you want to use. This will depend how thick the batting is and how thick you want the wooden rocking chair cushions to be. I decided on four layers, which is still quite thin but also comfy. You may want more than that – six layers or even eight.
2. Lay the batting out over the chair to help you decide what shape to cut it into. I essentially did a square with rounded corners for the seat cushion and then a rectangle for the backrest. Also, if you want the back to wrap over the headrest, make sure to account for the extra batting.
3. Cut the batting, then use it as a pattern to cut the fabric. Make sure to cut out two pieces of fabric in each shape for front and back
4. Starting with the seat cushion, lay down a piece of fabric with the pattern facing up, a piece of fabric with the pattern facing down and then the batting. Pin around the shape to hold it all in place, then sew around the edges with your machine – making sure to leave an approximately 4″ opening at the back so you can turn it right-side out.
5. Pull everything through the opening, smooth flat, then hand sew the opening closed.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the backrest cushion. Then, hand sew the seat and backrest together. This step took some creativity in order to get the two pieces to fit together nicely. But it worked out in the end.
7. Measure how much ribbon you’ll need to tie down the four corners of the seat as well as the backrest near the top on the front and the very top corners of the backrest, which will be wrapped around and hidden in behind. I simply cut eight long pieces, then folded them in half and hand-sewed them in place along the fold.
8. Take your rocking chair cushions, tie them in place and you’re done! You may now blissfully rock the night away with your babe in your arms. Or simply pass out with your head draped over the headrest… thank goodness it has a cushion!
Finished Wooden Rocking Chair Cushion
And here’s the stool we built to go with the chair.
We much debated the height and width of this stool to provide optimum rocking assistance and I think it turned out perfectly. It also doubles as a little night stand for when I’m crashed on the cot next to the bundle’s crib. Let me know in the comments if you want a tutorial on how we made the stool!
Posted on September 20, 2013 (Last Updated on September 6, 2022)
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12 thoughts on “How to Make DIY Wooden Rocking Chair Cushions”
How much fabric and batting would you purchase? I’m interested in making my own cushion and I would want thicker cushions. Your thoughts are appreciated as this is new to me!
Hi Amanda! I did the math based on my own cushion’s dimensions (the seat is 18″ x 14″ and the back is 18″ x 33″). Using those measurements and accounting for a cushion that is six layers thick (since you said you wanted yours thicker) then a twin-sized 93″ x 72″ cotton batting would be enough with a bit leftover. If you want even thicker than six layers or want extra in case of boo-boos then you could use two twin batts or go with a double or queen instead. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
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I am very interested in making these cushions myself. Did you sew all the layers of the batting to the fabric at once? I would like to make my cushions a little thicker. And am I reading this correctly that you sew the two pieces of fabric together with the batting on top, and then flip the fabric the right side out (over the batting?) Did you sew any lines in the middle of your cushions to help hold the batting in place? Have you washed these at all? How did the hold up if so? (I am planning to wash mine…due to baby spit up!) Any help you can give would be great! Thank you!
Hi Tiffany! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Yes I sewed all the layers at once – I didn’t pre-sew the batting together. And you are correct, the two layers of fabric are placed together with the top layer back side up and the underneath layer pattern side up, then the batting underneath. So the fabric sides that you want facing out will be facing each other while you sew. You then flip the whole thing inside out (or right side out) and sew the remaining side closed by hand. I have now had this rocking chair cover for seven years! I have never washed it in the machine, just spot washed by hand and it still looks great even though my younger daughter coloured on it with marker. I’m sure you could wash it on gentle or hand wash in the sink and it would be fine too. Let me know if you have any more questions!
You’re welcome! Thank you! I’ve had so many people tell me these cushions won’t be “thick or comfortable enough” while shopping for fabric and batting…so glad to hear yours have been holding up for seven years! That’s so awesome. Perfect!
I can’t tell in the photos…did you say if you had sewn and lines in the middle of the cushion to help the batting stay in place? (sort of like quilting it)
No I didn’t sew it across the middle – just around the edges. And you can add more layers of batting to make it cushier. Whatever works best for you 🙂
Definitely would love a tutorial on the stool as well! I’m doing the same thing, wanting to use a rocking chair from a thrift shop vs a glider!!! Love the idea of using older products and making things myself!
This looks perfect for my daughter’s rocking chair, soon to be used with my new grandbaby! I was also checking out the footstool. It looks perfect. Do you have instructions on how you made it?
Great tutorial- much easier than adding a zipper!
I’d really appreciate directions for the stool.
Thanks very much.
Thank you Lou! Glad it helped. I will ask my husband how he built the stool and then add it to the post – he basically just used some leftover plywood and 2x4s and then I placed the fabric over some batting on top of a piece of cardboard, wrapped it around and glued it all in place. It’s been 8 years and the rocking chair and stool are still in our daughters’ room!