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Wrap Artist — Wicker Rehab Part 1

So, now that our wicker shelves look so nice…

it’s time to do something about our patio furniture.

This set once belonged to Dan’s Nana, and tons of happy family moments were had around it before it was relegated to my mother-in-law’s basement.

When we moved to PA a couple of years back, we snagged it as kind of a place-keeper until we found a set of our own.

But as time has worn on, we’ve become attached to it. Despite it’s in-need-of-some-serious-TLC condition. It fits our space perfectly, we like the shape & the chairs are surprisingly comfortable.

Fortunately, MIL is willing to let us have it for keepsies! And for, like, one-tenth the price of replacing it, I can totally bring this family heirloom into the new millennium. Score!

The first issue to be addressed was the worn rattan (ratty-tat-tan?) on the bottom of the chair legs. This kind of deterioration is inevitable when you’re talking about natural fibers.

Fortunately, as I mentioned in the wicker shelf makeover post, often, rattan is mostly decorative. Meaning it can be removed without affecting the structural integrity of the piece.

However, some sections of the rattan wrapping do help secure the piece, so thoroughly inspect your furniture before you go all ‘Imma cut’choo, man!” It’s pretty easy to tell what’s critical & what’s not.

Once I’d figured out what was safe to cut, I got out the ole box cutter & had at it. I tried to make my cuts as straight as possible. I also tried not to cut too deep, so as not to ding up the bamboo underneath too much. Then I just peeled it off bit by bit.

I ain’t gonna lie. This was a time-consuming, not-particularly-fun process.

Oh, and I wore a mask while removing the rattan because we have no idea how old the white paint on the furniture is, meaning it could be a lead-based paint. (As a general rule of thumb, I consider all pre-1980s furniture suspect.) And it was kickin’ out mad dust, yo. So better safe than sorry.

Tip: Always err on the side of caution when working with old paint. That stuff’ll pump you full of lead as soon as look at you.

I didn’t get a pic of myself in the mask. I know, you’re disappointed. It was pretty sexy.

Anyhoo — I cut & peeled away the rattan in several areas to expose the bamboo in a pattern that Dan & I liked.

PLEASE be careful if you repeat this process. Box cutters are serious business. You can really, really hurt yourself by not being extremely careful.

The bamboo under the rattan is actually in really good shape & quite attractive.

To maintain its natural beauty during the spray-painting process, I re-wrapped the exposed parts with painter’s tape.

In order to get to all of the areas I needed to unwrap/rewrap, I took the glass out of the table & set it aside in a safe place on a soft little nest. In this case, a cheap plastic drop cloth all bundled up.

(Now for the best part…)


What is it about spray paint that’s just so darn fun? Just don’t get carried away with the fun. Thin, even coats are the key to success.

I usually try to contain my enthusiasm by allowing myself the satisfaction of a long, steady spray right off the bat. I just make sure I continually move around the piece & always keep my can in motion. If you’re doing it right (ie: not laying it on too thick) you should kind of look like a very mellow, one-armed orchestra conductor. Big, sweeping motions.

Don’t worry about coverage at this point. Just get all that spray lust out of your system. I’ll wait.

There. Better? Ready to proceed like a mature adult? Cool.

Now… it’s time to break one of the cardinal rules of spray painting, “Don’t get too close.”

Yes, you heard right. You have my permission to bring the nozzle to a mere 4 inches from your surface!!! Because I believe you can handle the responsibility. Don’t disappoint me. ;->

Naw… it’s just that wicker woven & you need to get paint in all the little nooks & crannies. Don’t worry. IF YOU KEEP YOUR MELLOW CONDUCTOR ACTION GOING, ALL WILL BE FINE. If, however, you just gob it on there, it’ll show on your finished piece. It’s OK to work section by section, but seriously. Keep your spraying arm moving at all times.

It took me 3 coats to get a nice, even coverage. And even then, there were a few touch-up areas to hit.

My point? Spray paint can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. It’s all in how you handle it.

After second coat

Tip: When painting furniture (with spray or otherwise), start on the bottom. That way — hopefully — you can flip it to stand on its legs as usual & let the bottom side dry while you work on the top.

After coat number 3 — Lookin’ SO much better already!

Now I need to let ‘er dry, but stay tuned, because I’ve got more magic in store for this gorgeous-in-training patio set…

Next post, I’ll use a creative solution to reinforce some of the areas where the rattan I removed was helping hold the whole pile of sticks together. Then I’ll sand/stain the bamboo & also add a little decorative detail 🙂

I’ll be back soon with the reveal tomorrow morning 🙂



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2 thoughts on “Wrap Artist — Wicker Rehab Part 1

  1. Barbara on said:

    I really enjoyed this piece, because I have a wicker chair waiting to be done. You explained so well, Thanks..

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