How To Repair Wicker Furniture Without Causing More Damage

how to repair wicker furniture

It can be heartbreaking to see that your wicker table has suffered some accidental damage or staining that is too obvious to ignore. 

The problem is that the longer you leave damaged wicker furniture without fixing it, the more severe the damage can become and the worse it will look. But you might also be surprised to find few or no wicker repair experts in your area. 

Unfortunately, there are very few of them left. 

So, if your indoor or outdoor furniture with a wicker weave has some ugly damage, then these tips for how to repair wicker furniture without causing more damage.

Assess The Wicker Damage First 

It’s quite easy to damage wicker if you’re not careful with it. The most common places where you’ll find damaged or loose reeds are in high-friction places and around corners where regular knocks and bumps can sever the synthetic or natural wicker. 

Those loose ends can then slowly unravel, leaving gaps in the woven wicker. 

So, the first thing you need to do is take a close look at the damaged wicker furniture. When you take a closer look, it sometimes becomes more obvious that there is more than one wicker piece damaged, and you might as well tackle all the damaged sections in one go. 

Also, make sure that you’re not dealing with serious damage. If your dog has chewed holes into a large section, then you’d need some great wicker weaving skills to replace it, and it probably won’t be worth the effort. 

Gather The Right Tools And Materials 

You’ll need a few tools and materials to get started with the below process, so gather up these things first:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Wood glue
  • Wire cutters
  • Paper clip or wire tool
  • Wicker furniture seal

The 10-Step Wicker Furniture Repair Process 

Here are the ten steps to repairing your wicker furniture

Step 1: Find All The Damaged Sections

The first thing to do is to take a careful look at the damaged reeds that you can see. Start at one of the loose ends and follow the reed along the weaving to see if there’s more damage somewhere else. 

If the loose section is somewhere less obvious or near a corner section of the furniture, then you might be able to do a quick fix with wood glue. Use the pliers to gently push the end under the weave and apply some glue to hold it in place. 

I suggest using wood glue in a well-ventilated area, as it can have a strong smell. 

Step 2: Check What Material It Is

If you need to replace a reed, then you need to identify what type of material the wicker is. 

Synthetic wicker is quite easy to identify as it will have a very uniform color and thickness. It will also be completely smooth with no imperfections, bumps, or edges. 

If you’ve got a natural wicker sectional, then you should notice that it’s uneven and shows different patterns in the grain. Some of the weaving will also vary in thickness a bit as it’s used as nature made it. 

Step 3: Get A Sample Of The Wicker

Take a small sample of the damaged reed to make sure that you get a perfect match for your replacement materials. Don’t pull out the reed that you need to replace just yet, as an important step is coming up. 

Simply cut a small section off the loose reed and keep it safe for step 5. 

Step 4: Estimate How Much Replacement Wicker You Need

If you want to be precise, take out a measuring tape to figure out how long the replacement reed will need to be. Alternatively, give it your best guess and add a bit extra. 

For example, if you need to repair the seat of a wicker chair, then you could say that it’s about 1.5 feet across. Then double that as a safety measure, and you should be in a good position to start repairing it. 

Step 5: Source Replacement Reed

It’s going to be difficult to get something to match the original reed perfectly. But with the sample from step 3, you should be able to show a wicker dealer to get some repair supplies. 

You’ll find these dealers online, and because you only need a small piece of new reed, it shouldn’t be too expensive to have it sent to you if they aren’t close. 

Also, consider ordering a few extra pieces of reed, just in case your first attempt fails or you find another damaged section for repair in a few months’ time. 

Step 6: Take Photos Of The Damaged Weave Pattern

A wicker weave is a simple pattern that won’t be difficult to follow in many cases. But if your wicker sofa or wicker lounge chairs has an intricate woven design, then you need to take a few photos of the damaged reed section first. 

Take these with your phone so that you have them handy when it comes to replacing the damaged wicker reed. 

It also helps to do this from a few angles to make it less confusing and reduce the chances of making mistakes. 

Step 7: Remove The Damaged Piece

Now you’re getting to the repairing process. 

Try to loosen the broken reeds a bit by pushing the loose end into the weave. Then use a wire cutter on the underside near a corner piece. Leave the original reed tucked to the underside with enough available to glue it in place once you’re done. 

You need to keep in mind that you don’t want to remove just a couple of inches of reed. The new piece that you insert will have a better chance of staying in place the longer it is. 

Anything under 3 to 4 cross-sections might come loose, but if the area is very small, then don’t add more unnecessary damage. 

There’ll be a solution for that shortly. 

Step 8: Prepare A Wire Tool

Once you’ve removed the broken pieces of the wicker furniture, it’s time to get ready for weaving the new material. If you have a rattan repair tool, make sure that the hook end will fit through the gaps in the weave. 

But you can also use a simple paper clip to shape your own tool. Wicker rattan and other materials are pliable, but they’re also stiff enough to require a device to pull them over and under the cross-sections. 

Shape the clip so that you have a hook at one end; it needs to be the right size to fit in the weave, and grab the cane. At the other end, shape the clip so that it’s easy to hold in your fingers without slipping. 

Step 9: Weave In The New Wicker

Insert the new reed from the underside where you cut the old piece. It will eventually overlap with the old piece of wicker, allowing you to glue them together. 

Follow the pattern from the photos you took in step 6 to make sure that the wicker furniture will still look like the original design. 

Using the wire tool from above, you’ll need to feed the reed over and under the different cross-sections. This can be a bit tricky at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll get into a rhythm. 

Once you get to the end of the damaged area, cut off any excess but make sure that you have about an inch to spare at each end. 

Then use the wood glue to stick the loose pieces to the underside where they won’t be seen. 

Step 10: Paint And Seal The New Woven Piece

The new piece you added to the wicker furniture will probably not be the exact same color, and it will also need a protective seal. 

First, clean the entire wicker furniture piece with warm water and some mild soap and leave it dry for a few hours. Then add a thin layer of wicker furniture protective sealer to ensure that it won’t stain or absorb moisture. 

I would suggest repainting and sealing the entire piece of wicker furniture, not just the new woven piece. Otherwise, you could end up with the new stained section in a slightly different shade or color than the rest of the wicker furniture. 

Take The Right Steps To Repair Wicker Furniture

Fixing wicker furniture is not something that will just take a few minutes, but with some simple tools and materials and the above easy tips, anyone with basic DIY skills should be able to get it done. 

With just a few hours of effort, you could save yourself a lot of money and avoid having to replace otherwise perfectly good wicker furniture. 

And if you’ve figured out that your furniture is damaged beyond repair, then take a look at our online store to see if we have the perfect replacement for you. We have many different indoor and outdoor furniture sets available, so you should have plenty for inspiration.