Things You'll Need
220-grit buffing pad
Exterior latex paint
Exterior clear protective polyurethane
Bleach and water
Whether you purchase a new, unfinished Crackle Barrel rocker or buy a used one from a second-hand store, you can paint it whatever color you choose to fit your decor. Use exterior latex paint and clear top coats to protect your rocker from the elements. If the rocker sits outside on a porch or patio, it will need additional care during the winter months.
Painting a Cracker Barrel Rocker
If you are refinishing a used rocker, you will need to rough up the existing finish so the paint will adhere. The old finish does not need to be completely removed if it is fairly smooth. Using a hand sander and 220-grit sandpaper, go over the entire rocker. Give extra attention to areas that are dented or scratched. Use wood putty to fill in areas that are gauged and cannot be sanded smooth. If you are starting with a new, unfinished rocker, lightly sand it with 220-grit sandpaper. Always sand in the direction of the grain.
Wipe the sanded rocker with a tack cloth. The tack cloth will pick up all residual sawdust particles.
If you are refinishing a used rocker, apply a coat of primer. This is especially important if the existing finish is dark and you are applying a lighter paint color. After the primer has dried, apply the first coat of paint. Primer isn't necessary for new, unfinished. Simply apply the first coat of paint and allow to dry.
After the first coat of paint has completely dried, buff the rocker with a 220-grit buffing pad. Wipe the rocker clean with a tack cloth.
Apply the second coat of paint to rocker. Allow the paint to dry completely.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until rocker is sufficiently covered. The number of coats of paint your rocker needs depends on the color. Lighter colors, such as white and cream, tend to need more coats than darker colors.
Apply a coat of exterior clear protective polyurethane. This will help protect the finish. If you have painted your rocker white, use a water-based clear protective top coat, because the oil-based polyurethane will yellow the white paint. Allow the finish to dry completely. This will take 12 to 24 hours depending on your climate. Buff lightly and wipe clean with a tack cloth.
Apply a second coat of the exterior protective finish. Allow the finish to dry completely, buff the finish again, and wipe the dust off with a tack cloth.
Caring for a Cracker Barrel Rocker
Place rocker on a covered porch or patio. This will help protect the finish from the wind, rain and bright sunlight.
Clean rocker regularly, just like any other piece of wooden furniture, using furniture polish or a damp cloth.
Remove mold and mildew using one part bleach to four parts water applied with a soft sponge or cloth. Repeat if necessary.
Place rockers indoors or in a weather-proof shed during the winter. The rocker can be securely wrapped in a medium- or heavy-weight painter's tarp if bringing it indoors is not an option.
Sand areas of rocker that needs to be touched up using 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe clean with a tack cloth. Use the same products for touch-ups that were used for the original finish.
Kelly Nuttall is a student at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. She is set to graduate in the spring of 2011 with her bachelor's degree in technical communications. She has been writing for various websites since March of 2009.