Painting wicker furniture is an easy, inexpensive way to update your worn, dingy furniture. Learn how to paint wicker furniture so it lasts for years including tricks for dealing with old, peeling paint.
The wicker furniture on our screened porch was in serious need of an update this spring. We have a wicker sofa and two wicker rocking chairs that were looking pretty worn.
I briefly considered replacing them, but after seeing the price of new patio furniture, I decided a fresh coat of paint would probably do the trick instead!
This isn’t the first time I’ve painted this mismatched wicker set. Originally the couch and one of the rockers were hunter green – nice but not my style at all.
I gave all three pieces a fresh coat of white paint several years back and they looked great.
The photo above was taken around five years after I originally painted this set and as you can see the paint was still holding up nicely. But now, a full decade after painting, the white paint was peeling and chipping pretty noticeably.
Here is how my wicker furniture looked before I began:
Definitely a bit worse for wear, but ten years is a pretty long time for paint to last, especially on outdoor furniture. So I decided to use a very similar painting process this time around since it worked so well last time!
Today I’m sharing a step-by-step tutorial for painting wicker furniture along with tips for prepping different types of wicker for paint and a full video tutorial as well.
(I also painted the cushions to my wicker couch. If you have ugly outdoor cushions, I highly recommend checking out that post for the full tutorial for painting cushions along with the truth about how they look and feel after painting.
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- Wicker furniture
- Cleaner, Paper towels, Old toothbrush – this is my favorite cleaner for cleaning furniture before painting.
- Spray paint ( I prefer satin finish paint for wicker)
Optional tools for removing old paint/repairing wicker
- Paint scraper – for removing loose, peeling paint
- Stripping brush (or other stiff nylon brush) – for removing loose paint
- Sturdy scissors (for cutting off loose strands)
- Wood glue
How to paint wicker furniture
1. Remove any old, peeling paint
If you are painting wicker furniture that has been painted before, start by doing a quick inspection of your furniture. Do you see any loose, peeling paint or is everything still in great shape?
Any loose paint needs to be removed. If you try to paint over peeling paint, the new paint is going to peel right off along with the old paint.
Both of my rocking chairs had loose, peeling paint. One is pretty old and had been painting many times over the years so it had thick layers of paint chunking off. The other has only been painted once or twice so the paint chips were much smaller, but they still had to go.
After trying a few methods, I found the most effective way to remove the loose paint was to start by scraping off any big flakes of paint with a metal paint scraper. The I went back over the same area scrubbing with a stiff brush to remove any smaller flakes of paint.
Removing the old paint is a very messy job, so be sure to lay down a dropcloth before starting. Wearing protective eyewear is also a good idea.
2. Clean your furniture
Once you’ve dealt with all of the loose, peeling paint, give your furniture a good cleaning. Paint will not stick to dust, dirt, and other debris so a good cleaning before painting is always important.
If you are cleaning wicker furniture that is used outdoors, you may want to start by simply hosing off the pollen and dust. You can also quickly vacuum off any dust.
I found that my own furniture was still pretty dirty even after hosing off the first layer of dirt. Unfortunately getting all of those little grooves and crevices clean can take a bit of time.
After trying a few methods, I had the most success spraying my furniture with a spray cleaner. I used this pre-paint furniture cleaner but a spray bottle filled with Dawn dish soap and warm water also works well. I sprayed one section at a time and then used paper towels to wipe it down.
That method worked great on my two rocking chairs, but the curved arms of my couch still had tons of little dust pockets I couldn’t reach. For those areas, I found that a quick scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in warm water got the dust out quickly.
3. Repair the wicker if needed
Once it is clean, check over your furniture for any loose, broken bits. You can cut off any loose ends with sturdy scissors to tidy everything up. And you can repair most broken pieces using wood glue.
Now you are ready to paint. (Don’t worry, the actual painting goes super quickly compared to the prep.)
4. Painting wicker
You are definitely going to want to spray paint your wicker furniture. There’s really just no other practical way to get paint into all of the tiny little crevices and divots.
You can either use cans of spray paint or you can use a paint sprayer.
The advantage of using a paint sprayer is that allows you to choose pretty much any paint color you want. Of course the downside is you have to own a paint sprayer.
I have this paint sprayer and love it because it is really easy to use and doesn’t require an air compressor.
But for this project, I chose to use regular old spray paint. I didn’t need fancy colors because I knew I wanted to use classic white and there’s a lot less set up and clean up when using cans of spray paint.
The other advantage to using spray paint vs. a paint sprayer is spray paint is an oil-based paint that adheres really well to most surfaces including wicker. This means you can skip using a separate primer which can be a major time-saver.
You can use any high quality spray paint. As far as the paint sheen, I prefer a satin finish paint for wicker because it gives a beautiful, soft sheen.
Remember to protect the area under your furniture with a dropcloth of some kind.
Spray Paint Tips
There are a few things to keep in mind when using spray paint to get a beautiful paint finish.
- When using spray paint, the goal is to get good paint coverage without drips. Shake the can of paint thoroughly before beginning to paint and every few minutes while you are using it.
- Be sure to hold the spray can at least six inches away from the object you are spraying and spray several very light coats of paint, letting it dry for a few minutes between each coat. Drips happen when you spray a very heavy coat of paint or hold the spray paint too close to your furniture.
- Make sure to follow the directions on your specific can of spray paint as far as how much time to wait between coats of paint and drying time.
You will need to do at least two light coats of paint to get even coverage. If you are painting your furniture white or making a drastic color change, you will probably need 3-5 light coats of paint.
I did three coats of paint on each of my furniture pieces.
The Secret to Even Coverage
To get an even paint finish on wicker, you need to spray your paint from a few different angles. Simply painting your furniture straight on won’t allow the paint to reach all of the surfaces that need to be painted.
Allow your furniture to dry to the touch. This usually takes a couple of hours. Then flip it over upside down and paint the sides again from this angle.
You don’t have to worry about painting the entire bottom or areas that will never be seen, but painting wicker from this angle will allow paint to better coat all the way around the wicker pieces that make up the front, back, and sides.
Freshly Painted Wicker Furniture
And here’s how my furniture looks now.
Even though I painted everything the same color as before, the fresh paint job makes such a big difference. Instead of looking dingy and worn, my porch furniture looks bright and inviting again – like something I would actually want to sit on!
Here are a few before and after photos. Even though the changes aren’t as easy to see in photos as they are in person, I think you can still see what a difference the fresh paint made.
Time and Cost for this project
Wicker furniture can be deceiving because it takes a lot of paint to properly cover all of the sides of each woven strand.
It took five cans of spray paint to paint the two rocking chairs. (It probably would have taken even more if there was a more drastic color change involved.)
And it took another four and a half cans of spray paint to paint the couch. You might could get away with using less paint, but I don’t know that you will get a really even paint finish with less.
At $4 per can of paint, that comes to $10 per chair and $18 for the couch.
Timewise, it only took about an hour to clean and paint the couch because it didn’t really have any loose paint. Even though they are much smaller, each chair also took about an hour to clean and paint since they had so much peeling paint that had to be removed first.
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Here are a few other posts I think you’ll love:
- Painted Outdoor Cushions: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
- How to Paint Outdoor Furniture like a Pro
- How to Paint the Most Beautiful Porch Floor Ever
- Wicker furniture
- Paper towels
- Old toothbrush
- Spray paint
- Paint scraper
- Stripping brush
- Sturdy scissors
- Lay down a dropcloth before starting and wear protective eyewear.
- Remove any loose paint by scraping off any big flakes of paint with a metal paint scraper.
- Use a stiff brush to remove any smaller flakes of paint.
- Give your furniture a good cleaning.
- Use an old toothbrush dipped in warm water to get dust out of small nooks.
- Repair any broken wicker pieces if needed. Cut off loose ends with sturdy scissors.
- Shake your spray paint well before beginning to paint and throughout the painting process. Hold your spray paint at least six inches from your furniture and spray a light coat of paint onto your furniture.
- You will need between 2-5 thin coats of paint depending on the color.
- Once dry, turn the furniture upside down to paint the underside of the wicker.
- Allow the furniture to completely dry before moving.
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