January 02, 2015

How to Paint Wicker

Well, well, well. It's 2015 and it's been a long time first post on! As mentioned in the "About" section, I began (slowly but surely...) replacing my Swedish-made, wood-laminate, college dorm furniture and decor about a year ago. Now, I am living in a newer/bigger place with my husband of 3 years and the projects never seem to end!

One of my favorite, and easiest, projects is this sweet little wicker chest. The great thing about living in a Spanish-style 1920s building: the original wood floors. The worst thing: NO STORAGE SPACE. Thus, I store a lot of shoes in a chest. This $20 Goodwill find replaced a $40 Walmart plastic box -- suffice it to say it is a big step up (even with the ugly brown color it began in).

So let's start there. This is a run-of-the-mill wicker piece that you can find littered in second-hand stores. Usually they look straight out of the 80s/early 90s so I've steered clear -- that is until I realized how easy they are to paint. Add a vibrant, current color and voila! Modern furniture.

As I mentioned, painting wicker is REALLY easy so you just need to make sure it is in good shape (wicker is not breaking off from every corner). From there, it's really a matter of choosing what "look" you want to give it. This rich, turquoise color (Rustoleum Painters Touch in Seaside) gives it that perfect beachy, shabby chic, not-trying-to-hard look (just what I was going for).

Once I knew the look I wanted, I removed all of the hardware. These were secured with tiny screws matching the original bronzed hardware so be sure to set them aside safely. Next, for this particular piece, I decided to get the hardware back to its original state. And all it took was a day and a half of soaking, hours of hand scrubbing sanity, But soooooo worth it. The gold against the turquoise really made this piece pop -- well worth the effort.

Note: The solution I used was 1 parts white vinegar, 2 parts water, a splash of lemon juice and some table salt.

From there, it is time to paint the beast. USE A PRIMER. Especially when taking something from a darker color to a lighter one -- this will save you hours and probably 2-3 bottles of spray paint. I just used flat white spray paint as the primer. Be sure to apply outdoors or in a well-ventilated area and preferably on a warm day. I set up a little spray paint dome on my back steps with 2-3 tarps to prevent any overspray. Plus, it gets the perfect afternoon sun to help speed the process.

Once your primer dries (2-3 hours when warm) you can begin with your first coat of color. Start about a foot away, lightly misting the surface. Don't worry about getting all of the nooks and crannies at this point -- with wicker the goal is a lot of lightly misted coats since there are so many dimensions to the furniture. All in all I probably did 10-12 coats on this. But don't let that scare you!

When I say "coats" I mean "lightly misted areas until I couldn't reach anything else or just got bored".  I typically sprayed for about 8-10 minutes, coating as much as I could see/reach, let it dry for an hour, then came back and did it again. It really only took me a day and a half due to dry time. Also, and this is important with wicker, make sure you spray at various angles. Some areas look completely covered until you flip it on its side and see a smattering of white primer.
Really, once you get that going you're in the home stretch. All that's left to do is allow to FULLY dry (usually overnight) and add back on the hardware. I topped this off with a black and white crochet pillow from IKEA (I guess I'm not completely done with that Swedish beast...). Now get to it and email me with any questions!

Hope you enjoyed my first post! I will be putting up new ones every week -- so be sure to bookmark and stop back often!


I'd love to know what you think! Feel free to ask questions, provide feedback or just give props -- it all is appreciated.