Tips on Painting Wicker Furniture

A fresh coat of paint dresses up old wicker furniture but the ridges, holes and crevices in this style of furniture makes coverage a challenge. Spray paint applied in several thin coats simplifies the task and reaches all of the hidden areas.

Choose a Location

Cleaning and painting wicker is a messy job. Choose a well-ventilated area such as a garage or shed to keep fumes out of the house. Newspaper or a drop cloth protects the floor or work surface. Since the task calls for spray paint, choose the location carefully. A breeze or gust of air can cause the paint to stray from the furniture and get on surrounding objects.

Prepare the Furniture

Before painting, inspect and clean the furniture so the finished product looks like a quality piece.

  • Inspect the wicker furniture to look for damage. If any pieces are loose, use a small amount of hot glue to hold it in place. Don't use too much hot glue, as the paint won't stick well to it.
  • If the furniture already is painted or has a shiny outer coating, lightly sand it with a medium-grit sandpaper between 60- and 100-grit for better paint coverage. Focus on larger surfaces to rough up the larger areas slightly as the sandpaper won't reach into the crevices. An alternative is to brush on a liquid sander designed to soften the finish so the new paint sticks better. Liquid sander better reaches into the crevices.
  • Use a stiff bristle brush to remove debris, dirt and loose paint from the wicker. The bristles of the brush reach into the crevices to help remove the debris. You also can use denatured alcohol on the brush to help clean the wicker.
  • Blow additional dirt and debris off wicker furniture with an air compressor.
  • Vacuum or sweep the work area before painting so dirt and debris doesn't stick to the wet paint.

Paint the Wicker

The painting process takes patience and time to achieve an even, drip-free finish. If you try to cover the wicker in just one or two coats, you'll end up with clumps and drips.

  • Test the spray paint on a piece of newspaper to ensure it sprays evenly before directing it at the wicker furniture.
  • Hold the can of spray paint about 12 inches from the wicker. Spray a thin, even coat of paint on the tops and sides of the furniture in one continuous spray. Keep the can moving back and forth the entire time so the paint doesn't build up in one spot. Overlap each pass slightly to get full coverage.
  • Allow the paint to dry for about an hour. Apply another thin layer using the same technique.
  • Continue applying layers, allowing time to dry between each coat, until you get the coverage you want. This may take four or more coats.
  • Once the top is finished and completely dry, gently flip over the piece. Spray the bottom sides of the piece with the same number of coats you used on the top.
  • Let the piece dry for a day or two before using it. This prevents the paint from smudging.