How to Paint Wicker Furniture

Give Your Patio a Facelift by Painting Wicker Furniture

Wicker chair indoors with blanket
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images
Overview
  • Working Time: 4 - 8 hrs
  • Total Time: 8 hrs - 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $30

Wicker is a timeless and popular material for outdoor furniture (and it's newly popular again indoors, too). Wicker is a generic term that refers to various vines, grasses, and plants woven together to create furniture or baskets. However, the most widespread plant used in wicker furniture is rattan.

Wicker has a light and airy feel, making it ideal for warm climates. It has a natural, organic quality that complements other natural and eco-friendly decor. It's also easy to maintain and durable enough to last for many years. The best part of all, it's easy to paint or stain, allowing you to refresh the look of wicker furniture time and time again. 

Tip

Wicker furniture can also be made from synthetic or artificial fibers. These fibers can also be painted, but you will need to use paint designed to cover plastic materials.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 handheld or shop vacuum
  • 1 stiff brush
  • 1 5-gallon bucket
  • 1 sponge
  • 1 pair dishwashing gloves
  • 1 set hot glue gun and glue (or carpenter's glue)

Materials

  • 1 cup bleach
  • 1 bottle mild liquid detergent
  • 1 sheet drop cloth or cardboard
  • 1 pair disposable gloves
  • 1 dust mask
  • 1 can spray primer (optional)
  • 1 can spray paint (total amount depends on size of furniture)
  • 1 can spray sealer

Instructions

  1. Prepare a Work Area

    The outdoors is the best place to do this DIY. However, if you do not have an outdoor space, consider doing this project in a garage, unfinished basement, or any area with good air circulation and waterproof floors. Remove from the area, or cover with plastic sheeting, any items that need protection from paint overspray.

  2. Brush and Vaccuum

    Before you apply new paint, you will need to give the wicker a thorough cleaning. This step will remove dust and debris as well as mold or mildew from the surface. This step is critical for the paint to adhere correctly. First, put on a dust mask to prevent inhaling fine dirt or mold spores. Next, use the stiff brush to remove the debris from all the nicks and crannies of the wicker. Finally, use a handheld or shop vacuum cleaner to remove any loose debris in the wicker.

  3. Wash and Dry

    This step is essential if your wicker has been outdoors all season or if you purchased it secondhand. Fill the 5-gallon bucket with warm water and add a few drops of liquid detergent. Put on the dish gloves. Dip the sponge into the water, wring it out, then use it to wipe down the wicker. If the wicker has mildew or mold, add one cup of bleach to your wash water. Dip the sponge into the bleach water and wash down the wicker again. Allow it to dry completely before moving onto inspection and repair. 

  4. Repair

    Now that the piece of furniture has been cleaned, it is time to inspect it for any damage or loose wicker parts. If you see any, you can glue it back in place with hot glue or carpenter's glue. Allow any repaired area to dry thoroughly before painting.

  5. Protect the Area

    Once the wicker is ready to be painted, lay a drop cloth under it. Make sure the drop cloth extends several feet beyond the size of the furniture to protect the area from accidental sprays of paint.

  6. Paint the Top

    Painting wicker is different than painting flat or smooth surfaces. Wicker has many woven layers, and it needs to be approached from several angles. Begin by putting on a pair of disposable gloves and a dust mask. Spray lightly with long even strokes for the first coat of spray. Walk around the piece of furniture to make sure you didn't miss any spots. Allow the first coat to dry.

    Tip

    If you are applying a lighter color paint onto a dark piece of furniture, it's best to use a prime coat of paint first.

  7. Apply Second Coat


    After the first paint coat has dried, repeat the process. Be sure to spray paint from several angles to ensure coverage. Let it dry and apply a third coat, if needed.

  8. Paint the Underside

    Once the top of the piece of wicker furniture is dry and has the desired coverage, it's time to paint underneath. Flip the piece upside down and repeat the painting process described above. Apply additional coats if necessary. Allow the piece to completely dry before applying a sealer. This may take overnight, depending on how many coats of paint you applied.

  9. Apply Sealer

    Once all the paint is dry and you are satisfied with the coverage, it's time to protect the finish with a sealer. Don't skip the sealer step. Even if your wicker furniture is in a protected area or indoors, it still needs to be sealed. A protective sealer layer protects the furniture from the sun, rain, and other outdoor elements. It will also keep it looking good for years to come.