How To Paint Wicker Furniture To Make It Look Like New Again

how to paint wicker furniture

Even when you carefully look after your wicker furniture with regular care and maintenance, you’ll get to a stage where everyday use will make it look worn and tired. 

But unlike other painted furniture, it’s not as simple as throwing on a fresh coat of oil-based paint. If you don’t take a carefully planned approach to painting wicker pieces of furniture, then you’ll quickly end up making things look worse rather than better. 

Let me show you how to paint wicker furniture for the best possible results. 

Assess The Wicker Furniture For Damage

Before you rush in to give your wicker furniture a fresh coat of paint, you need to take a careful look for damage. Just applying some fresh paint to a wicker chair won’t give you the full effect of a room makeover, so follow these steps. 

Damaged Wicker

The more you use wicker furniture, the weaker the weaving can get. Sometimes it wears thin and breaks, or an accident or pet might cause it to break. 

There’s no point just painting damaged wicker. With the new coat of paint, those damaged areas will stand out even more, so it’s important to fix that damage before you do anything else. 

Damaged Paint

Painted wicker furniture can easily get damaged with daily use, just like any other piece of furniture in your home. The problem with flaking paint is that painting over it doesn’t solve the problem. The new layer of paint will partially attach to loose paint, and it will flake again. 

UV rays, strong winds, and other outdoor elements can also add to the paint damage. If you find that it’s particularly bad, then you may need to consider sanding down the old paint with fine sandpaper. 

This is more likely with outdoor furniture that hasn’t been well maintained, so look out for that kind of damage. 

Fully Clean The Wicker Furniture 

Here is a simple five-step process to fully clean your wicker furniture before you start painting it. This is a very important step, as painting over dirt and dust will likely result in the new paint flaking. 

If you get this step done right, you’ll have a much better end result. 

Step 1: Brush Off Dirt

You’ll need a stiff brush to start your cleaning process, especially if your furniture has been outdoors a lot. Dirt will quickly build up and get stuck in the weaving through regular use and being exposed to the elements. 

Just make sure you choose a stiff brush that isn’t too hard and avoid using a wire brush or steel wool. Those will add scratches and damage the rattan material. 

Also, look for flaking paint and make sure you completely remove it from the wicker piece. The old paint can cause the new layer to also flake easily within a few years. 

And finally, don’t forget to brush off the underside of the furniture. That’s where you could have some hidden dirt that might cause problems. 

Step 2: Remove All Dust

You’ll probably have removed most of the loose dust in step 1, but dust and other debris can easily get into tight corners and the wicker weaving where it’s difficult to remove. 

The first thing you should do is use a vacuum cleaner to get as much as possible. For tough-to-reach corners, you could also use a hairdryer to blow out the dust. 

Make sure you do this thoroughly because painting directly onto dust will leave an ugly paint finish and can even make the new layer flake easily. 

Step 3: Gently Wash The Wicker

Gather up a bucket with warm water and mild soap, as well as a soft cloth. 

Don’t bother with specialty cleaning products; the more natural and mild the soap is, the better it will be for your furniture. 

Start with the underside of the furniture and make sure you get into all the small corners where dirt is more likely to accumulate. Once you have fully washed the underside, move on to the rest of the furniture and make sure you cover all areas. 

Finally, rinse off the furniture with cold water. Ideally, take it outside to your garden or patio and pour water over it. This is also where it will dry the quickest. 

Step 4: Remove Stains

Now that all the dirt is gone, it’s time to check for stains. 

This is an important step if you’re planning to apply a varnish to maintain the natural color of the rattan rather than use a paint color that would cover stains. 

If you find some stains or difficult to remove grease, then mix white vinegar and water in a 1-8 solution. Spray this onto the stain and gently rub it in with a cloth. Most stains will come away easily with this method, and it will make your painting efforts a lot more straightforward. 

Step 5: Leave To Dry Completely

I would suggest leaving the furniture outdoors where it will be exposed to some wind. Avoid direct sunshine as it could damage the wet wicker if the sun is too intense. 

It’s critical that the wicker dries completely before you apply paint. Otherwise, it won’t attach properly to the surface and will result in premature flaking. 

Ideally, leave the furniture dry for 24 hours and check there’s no water on the underside before you get started with the painting process. 

Now it’s time to show you how to paint wicker furniture.

Spray Painting Wicker Furniture 

Let me introduce you to the concept of my tried and tested spray-painted method. 

Why Is Spray Paint The Best Solution?

The main problem when you paint wicker furniture is the woven section and those difficult-to-reach areas between thicker rattan pieces. 

When you try to apply a coat of paint with a brush, it’s very difficult to control the amount you apply. What happens is that you tend to push blobs of paint into the wicker chair weaving. 

Those blobs will then become very obvious, and it’s practically impossible to spread them out evenly because of the many intersections between wicker rattan reeds. 

A much better way to evenly apply thin layers is to spray the paint on. While you will need to invest in some additional tools, the small investment to spray paint wicker furniture will pay off when your furniture looks new again. 

Gather Some Materials And Equipment

Here’s what you’ll need in order to spray paint wicker furniture

  • Paint sprayer
  • Dust mask
  • Primer
  • Paint or varnish
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic drop cloth

How To Paint Wicker Furniture With A Spray Gun

Carefully follow these steps when spray painting wicker furniture, and don’t skip any of them. 

Step 1: Tape Off Areas

Before you start spray painting wicker furniture, you have to decide whether you want the entire wicker piece to be the same color. 

In many cases, you might have a different color for the main rattan frame and a colored varnish on the wicker sections. If this is the case, then I suggest starting with the frame and using painter’s tape and a plastic drop cloth to cover the sections that you don’t want to spray paint. 

Step 2: Prepare The Paint Sprayer

Even if you have a brand new paint sprayer, you need to make sure that the nozzle and paint container is perfectly clean. Rinse out the container and then spray some water through the machine to make sure there’s nothing stuck in the tubes. 

The last thing to do is put on your dust mask, as the primer and paint can damage your lungs if you inhale them. 

Step 3: Spray Primer

Begin painting by applying a primer first. This should be the first coat if your wicker furniture is very worn and you’ve had to sand down some areas. The main coats of paint will show a much more even finish when you have a primer base. 

However, if you’re planning to spray paint with a clear varnish, then you should avoid the base primer. 

Once you complete this step, just wait an hour. Primer dries very quickly, but you have to avoid applying the first coat of paint onto the wet primer. 

Step 4: Test Spray Some Old Wood

Before you apply the first layer to your wicker furniture, do a test spray on some wood or a piece of cardboard. Even if you have spray-painted wicker chairs before, you always want to make sure you adjust the spray nozzle to apply very thin coats of paint. 

Hold the spray paint gun about a foot away from the test surface and pull the trigger. Move the gun along the length of the surface and observe how much paint is coming out. 

There should only be a very thin layer that doesn’t drip. To make sure it’s not dripping, spray onto a vertical surface. 

To stay on the safe side, adjust the paint sprayer to a very low setting and aim to apply multiple light coats for an even and professional finish. 

Step 5: Start Spraying The Underside

Start by turning your furniture upside down. This will give you the opportunity to see how the paint settles on the wicker and to be 100% sure that you have set the sprayer up correctly. 

Look out for drops of paint accumulating in the wicker weaving. If you see this happening, then you need to reduce the flow and aim to apply more than two light coats of paint. 

Also, let the paint or varnish dry a bit on the underside so that you can see the effect it will have. Now is the time to change your mind if it’s not what you had in mind for your wicker chair. 

Step 6: Spray Paint The Remaining Furniture

Assuming that you like the progress on the underside, you’re now ready to spray paint the remainder of the piece of furniture. Do this with steady movements of the sprayer, holding the nozzle in the same direction. 

Once you complete a run in one direction, bring it back in the same direction you came from while slightly adjusting the angle of the nozzle. 

Don’t fall for the mistake of forcing the paint into a very small corner. You’ll have to repeat this a few times to get an even finish. 

Step 7: Leave It Completely Dry

Once you have applied the first coat to the furniture, it’s time to let it completely dry. If you start to spray paint the second layer too soon, it will start to develop blobs, and you’ll also notice droplets forming. 

Check the paint instructions on the can, as it will generally indicate how many hours it will take to dry. 

Also, don’t worry if it looks patchy; you’ll need to apply at least two coats of paint, and with every additional coat, you’ll cover up those patches gradually. 

Once you’re happy with your first coat, leave all the paint dry for a few hours. If you plan to let it dry overnight, then make sure that you clean the spray gun as the paint in the tubes will dry out otherwise. 

Step 8: Apply Second Coat

Once the paint is dry to the touch and doesn’t feel sticky anymore, it’s time to go ahead with the second coat. You’ll take the same approach with one minor change. 

Take a close look at the furniture to see if there are any sections that look particularly patchy. Then consider what angle with the spray nozzle will be best suited to fully cover that area. 

Set up the angle and make sure you’re a foot away from the furniture and continue the spray paint process. 

Once you’re done, and the paint is dry, see if there are any patches left. You might need to apply another coat if it hasn’t fully covered all areas. 

And finally, if you covered certain areas in step 1, then you can now remove that tape and go through the whole process again for the other color or varnish. 

Mistakes You Should Avoid 

Here are some mistakes you need to avoid when you spray paint wicker furniture. I’m sharing these from experience, and they can be difficult to fix. 

1. Not Doing A Practice Spray

If you’re new to using spray paint, then you need to practice first. If you have some old wicker baskets or a broken chair, then use that for a practice run. Otherwise, get a piece of plywood or cardboard to see how the sprayer behaves at different settings, distances from the surface, and angles. 

2. Painting Dirty Furniture

Your painted wicker furniture might look great at first, but if there’s dirt under the paint, then it will flake and come loose. 

Then you’re simply back to the original problem, plus a big dose of frustration. 

3. Forcing The Spray Paint

This is something you should try during your practice run. Sometimes, as you move the sprayer along the furniture, it won’t fully cover a section. The temptation is to immediately go back over it for an extra bit of paint. 

That’s how you quickly end up with too much paint, and it will start to drip, making it look ugly and unprofessional. 

Instead, simply remember that you’ll apply multiple layers, and the next run with the sprayer will cover those areas. 

4. Not Adjusting The Spray Angle

Using different angles is particularly important with wicker furniture as you want the paint to get into all the weaving. 

I always try to hold the spray head at about a 30-degree angle to the furniture in one direction and then the opposite angle on the way back. You can also do the spraying in different directions to the wicker weaving with the multiple layers that you’re going to apply.

Start Your Wicker DIY Painting Plan Today

You now have all the information needed to understand how to paint wicker furniture and bring fresh life into it. This is definitely a DIY project you can do with a few tools you’ll get at a hardware store. 

Simply stick to the above steps, and you’ll have freshly painted wicker furniture within a few days. 

And if you need some additional furniture to go with your existing sets, or it’s simply damaged beyond repair, then check out our indoor and outdoor wicker furniture collection

We have a wide range of choices to suit every home.