In the process of finding furniture and decor to fill our new deck spaces, I didn’t just want to go to the store and buy something new off the shelf. I wanted character, personality, and projects that bring my personal style to the mix, combined with the new items. This simple colorful makeover for some wicker furniture with spray paint is just the type of easy DIY project that brings that personal touch to the space.
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One of the benefits I love about updating my house is the ability to put my own personal style and character on a space or a piece of furniture even in a small way.
Would it be easier just to purchase something new that is already pristine out of the box and put it in place and call the project done?
But what would be the fun in that?
There wouldn’t be any emotion behind it, a personal touch, or the important story behind it.
Every house needs a story.
And that includes all of the DIY projects you pour into your home that make it your own.
A few weeks ago I agreed to take a day trip to western NC to pick up Jeep parts with my husband, with the agreement that we would also find a new thrift store to visit. Luckily we drove his big truck because I found a good deal on a set of outdoor wicker furniture with two chairs and a table. As expected, it would need some work and some updating to make give it a new look.
Spray paint is the obvious choice to update old wicker furniture. But it can be hard. The material is usually dried out and brittle which will quickly soak up the first layer of paint you spray on leaving behind gaps and the original color peeking through the woven design.
Fortunately, Rust-oleum has created a new nozzle design for their spray paint that makes the tedious task of spray painting all the different angles so much easier!
Thrifted wicker pieces are usually faded and dirty. At least in my experience.
So the first thing to do before applying any layer of paint is to give it a good cleaning.
Examine your wicker furniture for any loose or damaged strands. Carefully trim or repair them using a pair of sharp scissors or a small brush to ensure a smooth and uniform surface. Remember, attention to detail at this stage will play a significant role in the final result.
A great way to clean wicker is by using warm water and a wire brush if you need to remove any old layers of paint. If not, a damp cloth and a soft brush will easily remove the layer of dust and dirt from old wicker.
If you are like me, after giving the wicker furniture a good cleaning, I want to just grab the spray paint cans and start working. Which usually leads to just more work. My design instructors always taught me that surface prep is always the most important step in any paint project.
When using spray paint on old wicker, it is always a good idea to lay out a sheet of plastic drop cloth in a well-ventilated area. An outdoor space is usually best and away from other items that will be in the line of the paint spray and accidentally get a makeover at the same time. Like cars or fences or the gravel in the driveway. I may or may not know a thing or two about that.
So let’s talk about the spray paint for a minute.
Spray paint manufacturers have made some wonderful updates to the types of spray paints over the years so make sure you select the best type of spray paint for your project. That will depend on the finish you desire and if the piece will be outside in the weather. It is also best to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the can to see if the product is a good fit for your DIY project.
This time I chose to use the new Rust-oleum Custom Spray line that comes with the 5 in 1 nozzle. Mostly because the 5 different spray directions and flow of paint would be a benefit to working around all of the twists and bends of wicker or rattan furniture pieces. I was part of the brand study on the new nozzle a few months ago and they sent me two cans of Peaceful Blue in both the old style nozzle and the new 5 in 1 to compare and report back to them. The 5 in 1 nozzle dial is a game changer for those hard-to-reach spaces.
The color they sent me was also perfect for the color scheme I planned for my outdoor spaces too. That was just a lucky accident on their part.
Once the piece of wicker has been cleaned up and brushed free of any loose dust or dirt buildup, the painting can begin.
But wait – what about a primer coat? Do you think your piece of wicker garden furniture might need a primer coat of paint?
Once your wicker furniture is clean and in good condition, it’s time to consider whether you want to apply a primer coat.
While not always necessary, a primer can provide a more even base for the paint, enhance durability, and improve color adhesion. If you’re covering a dark or heavily stained wicker, a primer can also help in obtaining a vibrant and true shade. Choose a primer specifically designed for wicker furniture and apply it evenly using a brush or spray can. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding to the next step.
My opinion on that decision is usually based on the condition of the furniture piece I want to paint.
If the wicker still has some of the old finish that is oil-based or glossy and shiny. Then yes I would start with a primer coat. Or if it had previously been painted and the new color choice won’t cover the older darker color very well.
I have also seen recommendations to use sandpaper to rough up the surface of the wicker, but I have used that technique for fear of damaging the wicker.
For this project, both the chairs and the side table had been bleached out by the sun over the years so I opted not to add in the extra work of a primer coat of spray paint.
Now it is time to start adding in the new coat of paint.
First and foremost, give the can of spray paint a vigorous shaking before us.
When it comes to spraying, maintaining the right distance between the can and your furniture is key. Holding the can too close can result in drips and a buildup of paint while holding it too far away can lead to a thin, uneven coat. Aim for a distance of around 8-12 inches, keeping your hand moving in a steady, sweeping motion to achieve smooth coverage.
The 5 in 1 nozzle options for the Rust-oleum paint I am using gives me the options of 1 for high output, 2 for standard, 3 for low output, 4 for vertical fan, and 5 for horizontal fan. The can is clearly labeled for all of these options.
Because of the 5 in 1 nozzle options, I could easily change the direction of the spray to get the paint in between the weave of the wicker and in every little curve and cranny.
I started out with 4 cans of spray paint which did a really good job of covering both of the chairs, but there was not enough for the table. After another trip to the store and another 3 cans, one extra just in case I needed it, all three wicker pieces got at least 3 coats of spray paint each.
Lesson learned – buy more cans than you think you need the first time!
As an added layer of protection again the weather, I decided to apply a few thin coats of waterproof sealant. This should be applied in the same way as the spray paint and given plenty of time for drying time.
Combined with some colorful new cushions purchased at my local At Home store, this thrift store wicker furniture set has a whole new look, and their use extended for more years to come.
Updating these wicker chairs with new paint colors may not be a quick makeover because of the drying time, but it was the best way to give a thrift store wicker chair new life and a very colorful one at that. They started out a little faded and worn, but they now give a corner of my new front deck some colorful and fun character.
Looking forward to drinking my morning coffee sitting in one of these chairs this Fall surrounded by the bright colors of Fall.
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