How to Paint Wicker Furniture to Give It a New Look
By Judy Schumer
Wicker furniture is perfect for any front porch or back patio. It has a timeless beauty and is available in styles for every taste, from high-backed Victorian-inspired rockers to sleek and modern settees. Plus, wicker furniture is easy to care for as long as you keep it protected with a fresh coat of paint or clear-coat sealer every few years.
When it starts to look old and worn out, learning how to paint wicker furniture is just the thing you need to give it a new lease on life. From transforming an entire suite of furniture to updating a simple chair, painting wicker is an easy upcycling project that anyone can do.
When you’re ready to work on painting wicker furniture, plan ahead. It’s important to note that, because you’ll be working with paint stripper and spray paint, you’ll need to tackle the project outside and on a calm, sunny day. Follow our steps below to learn how to paint wicker furniture and give your furniture a fantastic facelift.
Photo via Rachel | Linen and Logs
Choosing Paint for Wicker Furniture
When choosing paint for wicker furniture, you’ll need two types: an oil-based primer and an oil-based interior or exterior paint depending on where the furniture will sit.
Primer is important because it helps the top coat of paint adhere properly, avoiding peeling and flaking. Oil-based paints work better on natural fibers like wicker and provide a longer-lasting finish than latex paints.
To extend the life of the paint you apply, consider using a clear exterior sealer once the final coat of paint has dried. It adds a top coat to protect the paint from the elements and regular wear and tear.
How to Get Old Paint off Wicker Furniture
Before you apply primer or paint to your wicker furniture, you’ll need to remove any old paint or varnish on the piece. Eliminating old, flaking, or cracked paint and finish will allow the primer to strongly adhere to the wicker for a clean, even bond. Remember to set up shop outside, since paint strippers have toxic fumes that shouldn’t be inhaled.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Safety goggles
- Heavy rubber gloves
- Painter’s mask
- Paint and varnish remover
- Metal bowl
- Paintbrush, 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide
- Mineral spirits
- Scrub brush
- Hose with a nozzle with a jet setting
Step 1: Wear Safety Gear
Protect your hands, eyes, and lungs by wearing safety gear. Once you’ve readied yourself, you can begin the paint stripping process.
Step 2: Apply Paint Stripper
Pour the paint stripper into a medium-sized metal bowl. Dip your paintbrush into the solution until both sides of the paintbrush are thoroughly covered. Apply the paint remover to the wicker using the paintbrush, taking care to push it in between the areas where the wicker is woven together. Cover the entire piece of furniture with paint stripper.
Step 3: Wait for Recommended Time
Let the paint stripper work for the time recommended by the manufacturer. Rinse the paintbrush and the bowl well to remove any leftover paint stripper. Dry the bowl and paintbrush.
Step 4: Apply Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirits will help lift any bits of remaining paint or varnish on the wicker material. Pour mineral spirits into the metal bowl. Apply the spirits to your wicker furniture with the paintbrush, covering the entire piece.
Step 5: Scrub the Wicker
Use a scrub brush to gently scrub the wicker to remove the paint that the paint remover has softened.
Step 6: Rinse the Furniture
Use a garden hose, with a nozzle attached, set on the jet setting to wash away the paint residue. Do not use a pressure washer; they are far too strong and can damage wicker. Let the furniture dry thoroughly.
Step 7: Repeat If Needed
If your wicker furniture has any remaining paint on it, repeat Steps 2-6 to remove the last of the paint. Let the furniture dry for at least 24 hours before applying primer.
Photo via The Wicker House
How to Paint Wicker Furniture
Once your wicker furniture has been stripped of old paint, it’s time to apply the new paint. Before you begin, you will need to set up and prepare the area you will be working in.
Like we mentioned above, choose a windless, clear day to paint since you’ll be spraying it on your furniture. Drop cloths will protect the surrounding areas from any paint overspray.
If you use an air compressor with a paint spray gun, assemble it and load the sprayer with paint. If you're using spray paint in cans to paint your wicker furniture, have them lined up with your other supplies so you can quickly move from one step to the next.
Tools and Materials Needed for Spray Paint:
Tools and Materials Needed for Paint Spray Gun:
- Drop cloths
- Painter’s mask
- Latex gloves
- Air compressor with paint spray gun
- Oil-based exterior primer
- Oil-based exterior paint
- Mineral spirits
Step 1: Put on Safety Gear
Wear goggles, latex gloves, and a painter’s mask to prime and paint the wicker. If you are using an air compressor with a spray gun, prepare the primer according to the instructions for use.
Step 2: Apply the Primer
Using the paint sprayer or spray can, begin applying a thin coat of the primer by spraying the furniture in a horizontal sweeping motion from 8 to 12 inches away. Work in rows or columns for even coverage. Let the first coat dry thoroughly, then repeat.
If you’re using a compressor paint sprayer, clean the sprayer and all nozzles with mineral spirits and dry thoroughly after you've applied the two coats of primer.
Step 3: Apply the Paint
Once the second coat of primer has fully dried, apply the paint using the same technique you used when applying the primer. Spray on one thin coat and let dry. Once dry (check your paint label for approximate dry time), apply a second coat.
Step 4: Let the Paint Cure
To allow the paint to dry completely and harden for maximum durability, let it cure for three to four days before using the furniture or placing cushions on it. Keep the furniture in a sheltered place, like a garage or shed, while it cures in case of rain.
After you’ve waited out the curing time, you are now ready to use your beautiful, new-looking wicker furniture!
Have you painted wicker furniture before? Let us know how your project came out in the comments below!