Wicker Furniture

For any painting project on wicker furniture, start with these basic steps. You'll get a better finished paint job and your furniture will hold up better and withstand the elements longer.

Use these prep and stencil instructions for all your wicker-furniture painting projects. For the six chairs described in the following stories, be sure to follow these steps carefully so your paint and stenciling is clean and crisp and it lasts for years to come.

Gather Your Supplies

  • Scrub brush and toothbrush
  • Bleach
  • Salt
  • Clean damp cloth
  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Spray primer: white
  • Tracing paper
  • Graphite transfer paper
  • Crafts foam
  • Crafts knife
  • Artists’ brushes; flats, rounds that
    best fit the motif areas
  • Spray varnish

Start to Finish
1. For old wicker, vacuum all surfaces using a crevice nozzle to remove dust and loose debris. Dip a scrub brush and a toothbrush into a solution of bleach and water and remove any remaining dirt on the wicker. (Note: Never use detergent on wicker.) For unpainted wicker, rinse with a salt solution of 1 tablespoon salt to 1 quart of cold water. For both old and unpainted wicker, finish by wiping down all surfaces with a clean damp cloth and allow the furniture to dry thoroughly.
2. Use fine-grade sandpaper to smooth out chipped, flaking, or uneven paint on old furniture and to smooth splinters, splits, and bumpy growth nodes on new pieces. Wipe down the surface with a tack cloth.
3. Spray white primer on all surfaces. This will seal the wicker and provide good adhesion for the base coat. The white primer also will allow the top coat to show its true color. Allow to dry.
4. Spray-paint the overall base coat for best results. Several thin coats will build up color and provide the most even coverage, without clogging the wicker’s inner weave. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Trace your patterns onto tracing paper. Transfer the patterns onto crafts foam using graphite transfer paper, and cut out the stencil using a crafts knife. Position the stencil, spray-paint a base coat in the stencil opening. Remove the stencil, move it to another position, and continue to base coat each motif. Allow to dry.
6. Use a brush that best fits the area and acrylic crafts paints to base-coat over each stenciled design element. Add desired details and highlights. Allow to dry and varnish as desired.

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