How to Paint Rattan Furniture

You love the new outdoor set of furniture you found at the thrift store. But you hate its disgusting brown color. Not to fret, you can paint rattan furniture with a few swipes of a brush. Well, it takes more like a ton of swipes, pats and touch-ups with a brush, but it’s not an impossible task. You can paint rattan furniture any color of the rainbow, or include the whole rainbow, with a few simple tips.

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Paint the whole rattan set at once just to get it over with.

Step 1

Gather your supplies. Sponge brushes are going to work better than regular paint brushes because they distribute the paint thicker and can be jammed between the rattan’s crevices. A can of paint is going to be better than spray paint because of the cost and ability to pile on thick sections of paint where the rattan is ornate. You’ll also want to pick a paint made for outdoor furniture, which is waterproof and stands up to the elements. Your hardware store will have all of this.

Step 2

Ready the furniture. This means sanding any rough edges, repairing any fractured legs and wiping or hosing off any dust and debris. You may also paint the furniture first with a paint primer so you’ll know you’ll only need one coat. Using a primer will often double your work, however, if you know you’ve chosen a paint that will successfully cover the color underneath.

Step 3

Begin to paint. Start by slathering generous amounts of paint with a sponge brush on all the larger areas, like the arms, legs and supports of the furniture. Make sure the paint is thick enough to cover any vestige of the old color but not so thick that it congeals in unsightly gobs.

Step 4

Continue to paint by filling in the smaller, more ornate areas. This will take some patience but the areas will become very obvious one you’ve got the base painted and the old color screams through in the more detailed regions.

Step 5

Do one more look-over to see if there are any parts you missed. With rattan, there usually are. Apply more paint to those areas with the sponge brush and, again, a lot of patience.

Step 6

Allow the paint to dry and apply sealer if your furniture is going outside and you have not used a waterproof, outdoor paint.


Ryn Gargulinski

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.