Wicker furniture has been around forever. I don’t just mean that your grandma probably has rattan furniture somewhere in her Florida condo. Wicker furniture dates back to 3000 B.C. when Egyptian rattan fibers were used to weave things like wicker baskets and baby cradles. Ever heard of a Moses basket, anyone? This article will look at the best spray paint for wicker furniture.
Wicker is a versatile, sturdy material and is one of the first materials ever used to make furniture. Its popularity has ebbed and flowed for centuries. In the late 19th century, the first mass-produced wicker chair became popular in both Europe and America. This time period is likely why wicker furniture has been equated to being old, outdated, and antique in the modern era. However, wicker has been making a huge stylistic comeback in terms of its popularity as it suits the bohemian and farmhouse design niches exceedingly well.
Your grandma’s old wicker buffet table might beckon some admiration from people of this century, afterall. It just might need a coat of paint first, and that process can seem a little tricky. Wicker is nothing if not chock-full of layered textures and depth, and these are characteristics that are hard to cover evenly with the thick coats of paint you’d get if you were to use just a paint brush and a gallon of house paint. A paint sprayer might get you a little further. But what’s the best kind of paint to use for the best results when updating the look of your wicker pieces?
We are of the opinion that spray painting is the best option when deciding to paint a piece of furniture made of wicker. The reason is that using cans of spray paint allows you to paint very light coats in a multi-directional pattern. The thin coats aspect is important because wicker has so much texture that applying thick coats would gunk up the rattan and the piece would not have a smooth finish on all of the corners and pockets within the rattan weaving. And using spray paint cans to paint multi-directionally allows you to reach every nook and cranny of the tightly woven wicker material without gunking them up.
So now that you know that spray paint is the best type of paint to use for your “bring some excitement back to my [insert your wicker item here]” DIY project, what are the best products for the job? Don’t worry, I’m not just here to give you a history lesson – I’m also here to help guide you to the best spray paint for the job, and I’ll even give you a bit of an overview on how to accomplish the task!
But first you must decide the answer to a very important question: to prime or not to prime?
Should I Prime Wicker Furniture Before Painting It?
In all honesty, this really just depends on your patience level and the quality of finish that you desire (or require). Priming before painting will almost always result in a better finish. But if this is just a fun weekend project to liven up some furniture that you would otherwise toss out, or you simply have no real interest in making your upcycled patio furniture look like something you could’ve bought from Pottery Barn for $1,200, then you might be okay with skipping the priming step.
If you choose to skip the primer, you can use either a combination primer/paint spray paint or just go straight for one of the best spray paint options that we’ve listed, below (one of which is a paint/primer combo). You might have better luck skipping the priming step if you’re dealing with lighter wicker pieces. Darker pieces will likely require more coats of paint if a primer is not used, first.
But what if you’re a type-A perfectionist and you need this project to look like you did spend $1,200 on it? In that case, please reach for a high quality primer to use as your first coat. You will undoubtedly get a much better finish than if you skip the priming step. This is especially true if your existing wicker is coated in varnish or another coat of paint. Primer will prepare the surface properly, make the paint adhere better and more consistently, make the paint more durable, and reduce the number of coats of paint you’ll need.
Top 3 Best Spray Paint Primer Options for Wicker Furniture
- Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Base Primer – This shellac primer blocks both stains and odors, making it perfect for outdoor or very old pieces.
- It adheres to all surfaces without the need for sanding and dries very quickly within 20 minutes.
- It greatly increases the durability of a variety of spray paints but works exceptionally well with Behr’s spray paint line and any Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel spray paint option.
- Another unique feature of this primer is that it can be used in low temperatures.
- Kilz Original Oil-Based Interior Primer Spray, Sealer, and Stain Blocker – This primer can be used on virtually all interior surfaces including furniture, drywall, plaster, wood, wallpaper, masonry, brick, and painted metal, so you can bet that you can use it on either wood or resin wicker. It dries relatively quickly within 1 hour and, like our #1 choice, it also blocks both stains and odors. It greatly increases the durability of a variety of spray paints but works exceptionally well when a clear coat is used after priming and painting.
- Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Plus Interior/Exterior Primer Spray – One useful aspect about using this primer is that you have the option of purchasing it in the “Turbo” can which provides a 10-inch-wide fan spray. This will allow you to prime your furniture much faster than the regular can and is definitely a cool feature, but it isn’t a necessity by any means. This option dries within 30 minutes and blocks stains and odors on textured or rough surfaces – it’s even mildew resistant. It also resists cracking and chipping over time and greatly increases the durability of a variety of spray paints, though it works exceptionally well with Color Place brand spray paints.
Best Spray Paint for Wicker Furniture? Top 3 Picks
- Behr Premium Interior/Exterior Spray Paint and Primer in One Aerosol – This paint/primer combo is designed for both indoor and outdoor projects and is highly weather- and rust-resistant. It can be used on both wood and plastic, among other materials, making it perfect for either wood or resin wicker pieces. Behr has designed their spray paints to dry within 15 minutes, meaning you can apply multiple coats very. They recommended each coat be applied before the paint has been allowed to dry for longer than 1 hour. Otherwise, it is recommended that the user wait 24 hours to apply another coat.
- Color Place Interior/Exterior Spray Paint – You may be surprised to find this Walmart staple on our top 3 list but don’t let the inexpensive price tag fool you. This paint delivers, especially when used in combination with any of the primers we have discussed in this article. It is designed to be used on wood and metal, but can be used on a variety of materials and can be used for both indoor or outdoor projects.
- Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Spray Paint – This spray paint option is designed for use on wood, metal, concrete, and masonry, so it’s best to use our #1 pick if your wicker is made out of resin or if you aren’t sure that it’s a wooden wicker weave. This spray paint takes about 2 hours to dry which is not a small amount of time, but the enamel finish is incredibly durable, making the lengthy drying time a reasonable tradeoff. This paint will work well with any high-quality primer, but it works exceptionally well with either of the Zinsser brand primers listed above.
- You should properly prep your wicker pieces for spray painting by using a wire brush to remove any debris that might get in the way of achieving a smooth finish.This includes chipping paint, dirt, and other debris that might have settled in the nooks and crannies of the rattan weave.
- Vacuum the wicker to remove any debris you may have loosened in step 1.
- Use a rag and a bucket of soap and water to clean the rattan weave.
- Let the wicker air dry.
Whether you are priming first or going straight for your first coat of paint, the process will be the same for every coat of paint or primer you choose to apply:
- Pick an appropriate location to paint your furniture – preferably outside or in a location that otherwise has excellent ventilation and where no overspray might get on anything you don’t wish to be painted. Use a drop cloth, if necessary, to cover your floor area.
- Turn your wicker furniture upside down so that you can begin with the legs of your wicker furniture first, ensuring that you don’t miss a spot and that you don’t mess up a fresh coat of paint halfway through your project. If you start at the top of a chair, for example, you will have to turn the chair over onto its freshly painted back rest or arm rests to get adequate paint coverage on the legs, and this will mess up the finish. Starting with the piece upside down helps to avoid this.
- With the can 8-10 inches away from the rattan weave, spray in a consistent side-to-side “sweeping” motion, left to right and then right to left. Move the can fast enough that you do not leave behind any drip marks but slow enough that you achieve adequate coverage (consider practicing your spraying technique on a spare piece of lumber before starting on your project to make sure that you have this technique down).
- Spray from a variety of directions and angles, making sure to get every corner and nook in the complex wicker pattern.
- Allow the paint or primer to dry completely. Drying time will depend on the type of spray paint used, follow the manufacturer’s direction regarding this.
- Apply a second coat of spray paint, if needed. Note: if you’re aiming for a drastic color change between a dark wicker or primer color and a light wicker color and using white spray paint to do so, you may find that you need to apply more than just a second coat of paint for adequate coverage.
- Repeat drying time.
If your furniture is likely to get a lot of use or if the wicker you are painting is for outdoor use, it may be a good idea to consider applying a clear top coat like Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel Gloss Crystal Clear Spray Paint. A clear coat will add extra protection to the wicker from the elements and heavy use while making your new paint color last a long time.