New Life to Inexpensive Resin Wicker Chairs

Rhonda S
by Rhonda S
3 Materials
6 Hours
When we first moved, I got some inexpensive "wicker look" furniture for the patio. After a few years in the sun, the resin began to fail. I hated to toss the metal frames, so I stripped off the resin and wove a new surface from rope.
Warp threads in seat done. Adding woof .
I had never done this before, so I had a lot of trial and error. If I had the "first step" to do over, I would have taken the time to touch up the primer and repaint with a color closer to the rope. I used dabs of hot glue to hold the loose ends from the starter pieces in place so I could cover them with wrapping later. As I wove the seat and back, I worked to keep the rope pulled tight. I started with the horizontal (warp) threads on the seat, then used the back and forth (Woof) threads on the seat to make the upright threads on the back.
I completed the seat and back, adding some details by changing from two at a time to one at a time. Then I just very literally wrapped the arms, backs, and front legs. Again, getting the rope loops tight and adding or leaving out loops to account for the curves required some trial and error. That was part of the fun.
This is where I left it, and it functions very well. If I were doing it again, I would repaint the frame to a color that blended better or I would change the color of the rope. I put a pillow on it for every day use. It is surprizingly comfortable. I'm thinking now of using chalk paint to give it a different look, but for now, I like the "natural" color of the rope.
Suggested materials:
  • Salvaged lawn furniture frame   (In my case, it was one we had purchased new, but you might find these elsewhere.)
  • Rope... far more than I would have guessed. I had to balance the finish (I did not want rough to th   (hardware store)
  • Waterproof glue to hold the loose ends out of sight.   (hardware or craft store)
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Dee Dee on Jul 03, 2016
    Did you have any guidelines or pattern to follow? You did a fantastic job. I agree I would have spray painted the metal a different color too.
  • Ginny Ginny on Jul 08, 2016
    What type of rope did you use? It looks great.
Join the conversation
3 of 95 comments
  • Shari Long Shari Long on Mar 25, 2019

    I found 2 frames at the curb and I have been wanting to try this project. I was wondering do you tie off each vertical and horizontal or are they continuous back and forth. Especially on the back...does it continue to the seat or tied off?

  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Apr 22, 2019

    I did have to make an occasional knot but I used as long as rope as I could manage. It would be a continuous loop. A note on Knots. Try to place them where they are going to be on the underside and don't show. Because I was using polyethylene rope, I was able to trim them fairly close and then heat them with a butane lighter and then protecting my fingers with a silicone pad Pat the ends to smooth them out. So far they have remained secure

    • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Jul 29, 2020

      When I did the chair I used zip ties to secure the splices. I still had to be careful to place the slices where I could tuck the knot out of sight.