Ultimate Guide: Restore and Reinvent Your Old Wicker Chair

Ultimate Guide: Restore and Reinvent Your Old Wicker Chair

Ever sat down on your favorite wicker chair only to hear an unsettling creak or feel an unexpected sag? Don’t panic! It’s not the end of the world, or your chair for that matter. With the right tools and a bit of patience, you can breathe new life into your worn-out wicker.

You might think wicker repair is a job for professionals, but it’s actually something you can tackle at home. You don’t need a ton of experience or expensive tools. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, making it easy to fix your wicker chair and restore its former glory.

Key Takeaways

  • Wicker chair repair can be done at home with the right tools and materials.
  • Always start the repair process by thoroughly examining the chair to determine the level of damage. Categories of damage could be minor, moderate, or severe.
  • The repair tools and materials needed depend on the extent of the chair’s damage and whether your chair is made of synthetic or natural wicker. Be sure the materials used for repairs closely match the chair’s original material for best results.
  • A well-prepared workspace is crucial for an efficient and safe restoration process. Always work in a well-ventilated area when dealing with paints or other chemicals.
  • Repairing the wicker weaving is paramount in maintaining the chair’s character. Be patient and consistent while handling the delicate restoration process.
  • After the repair, ensure thorough cleaning, sealing, and color restoration to protect and enhance the longevity of your wicker chair.

Restoring an old wicker chair can breathe new life into it, transforming it into a stylish piece of furniture. This Old House explains how to properly clean and repair the wicker before painting or staining it. Better Homes & Gardens offers creative ideas for reinventing the chair with modern colors and cushions.

Assessing the Damage

Assessing the Damage

Probing the extent of damage to your wicker chair is pivotal as it helps in understanding the type of repair involved. Breathe easy! You won’t need a professional eye to make this assessmen’t. You will be your own judge and jury in recognizing the areas that need a little love and extra care.

First off, ensure complete scrutiny. Turn your chair upside down and inspect every inch. Make note of sections that appear darker or lighter than the rest. This variation in color is the immediate telltale sign of wear and damage. Secondly, check for loose strappings, visible cracks, or any signs of mildew. Contrary to common misconception, resin wicker rarely breaks. If you see damaged or loose strands, however, it’s a definite signal that repairs are in order.

Beware! If by any chance you observe large-scale damage throughout, perhaps it’s time to accept that your furniture piece might have lived its useful life. But don’t rush to the judgment, sometimes the damage may seem worse than it really is.

After a close inspection, ask yourself – Should you be looking for a quick fix or is a comprehensive top-to-bottom repair in order? Remember that a quick fix will hold up the issue for some time but for longevity, a well-rounded repair job is mandatory.

You may now categorise the damage as minor, moderate, or severe based on your observations, and plan your repair strategy accordingly. This segregation will assist in saving your time and resources during the execution of repair work.

Take an exhaustive note of the types and amounts of materials you’d need for the process. Be it resilient synthetic wickers or natural rattan, find out the specifications of the materials used in your chair for best results in matching and repair. Collect your repair toolbox accordingly.

Now kick off your boots, roll up your sleeves and brace yourself for some handy work. Remember, repair work is about patience and persistence. But with the right tools and determination, you’ll transform your withered wicker to ultimate glory.

Gathering the Tools and Materials

Gathering the Tools and Materials

Once you’ve correctly assessed and categorized the damage to your wicker chair, it’s time to put together your repair kit. The tools and materials required will depend upon the extent of the damage and whether your chair is made of synthetic or natural wicker.

For minor repairs, you’ll usually need some wicker caning, glue, a pair of scissors, and a weaving needle.

For moderate fixes, the task may call for sturdier tools like a pair of needle-nose pliers. They will help you get into the tight weave of the wicker without causing more damage. Moreover, you might need a can of spray paint to ensure the colors match after making the necessary changes.

For more severe or extensive damage, you may require something stronger than wicker caning and glue. In that case, rattan reed comes in handy as it’s ideal to provide more support. It would be best if you also geared up for a complete color renovation for severe damage. Spray or regular paints suited for wicker material will do the job.

Take note as it’s crucial that the caning, reed, or paints you buy match your chair’s color. An off-tone repair can look more obvious than the damage you were trying to fix.

Lastly, remember to keep your workspace well-ventilated, especially if you’re working with paints and glues. Safety must remain a priority when you’re in the middle of your restoration project.

Here’s a quick overview of your potential toolkit:

Repair LevelMaterials and Tools Needed
  • Wicker caning
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Weaving needle

| Moderate |

  • Wicker caning
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Weaving needle
  • Pair of needle-nose pliers
  • Spray paint

| Severe |

  • Rattan reed
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Weaving needle
  • Pair of needle-nose pliers
  • Spray/regular paints


As you’ve gathered your tools and materials, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to the actual repairing. Patience will be your best companion in this journey towards giving a new life to your worn-out wicker chair.

Preparing the Work Area

Before you dive right into the restoration process, it’s crucial to prepare your work area diligently. A well-prepared workspace ensures maximum productivity, efficiency and safety. Besides, it makes the repair of your wicker chair a smooth and satisfying experience.

Firstly, choose an area that’s spacious. You’ll need room to move around, handle tools, and spread out materials. Whether you’re dealing with a quick patch-up or a full repair, extra space can truly make a huge difference. Opt for a well-lit space too. Proper lighting helps you spot even the slightest flaws and imperfections during the repair process. If you’re working indoors, ensure the area is well-ventilated, especially if you’ll be using spray paint or other chemicals.

Now that you’ve chosen the appropriate workspace, clear it out and lay down a large drop cloth. This will not only guard your floors against possible scrapes and scratches, it’ll also make clean-up easier when the job is done.

Next, gather your tools and materials. You’ve already understood what you’ll need based on the extent of the chair’s damage. Now’s the time to organize them. Having everything easily accessible means you can direct your energy and focus to the job at hand, rather than scrambling for supplies in the middle of a repair.

A handy tip to bear in mind is to separate your tools based on their usage. For example, if you’re planning minor repairs, you might just keep the glue, wicker caning and scissors at hand. For severe damage that’ll require color renovations and working with rattan reeds, have the spray paint and needle-nose pliers close by.

Remember, every successful restoration job starts with a clean and organized workspace. Take your time. Set things up properly. Allow yourself to get into the right mindset. After all, restoring that wicker chair isn’t just about fixing a piece of furniture – it’s bringing back a piece of history, a bit of character back into your space.

Repairing the Wicker Weaving

Now that you’ve prepared your workspace and organized your tools, it’s time to dive into the heart of restoration – repairing the wicker weaving. This essential part of the wicker chair retains the character and authenticity of the piece. By doing this yourself, you are not only fixing a piece of furniture, but you are also preserving history.

Choosing Suitable Materials

When it comes to weaving wicker, the type of material you use plays a critical role. There are different materials like rattan, reed, bamboo, or willow traditionally used in wicker furniture. Always strive to match the new wicker strips to the original material as closely as possible.

  • Rattan
  • Reed
  • Bamboo
  • Willow

Select wicker strands that are straight, clean, and free of mold and pests. Remove any dust or dirt before use.

The Re-weaving Process

Re-weaving wicker begins with soaking the new wicker strands in water. This makes them flexible and easier to work with. Usually, it takes about 30 minutes to an hour of soaking before they are ready to weave. It’s vital not to leave the strands in the water for too long, as this can make them weak and prone to breaking.

After soaking, you can start weaving the wicker using the standard under-and-over technique. Take time to familiarize yourself with the pattern of the chair’s weaving. Consistency is key in maintaining the chair’s historic charm.

Fixing Holes and Damaged Areas

Fixing holes and damaged areas requires extra care and precision. Pieces of wicker strips are woven into the area to fill the hole completely. It is beneficial to have a variety of sizes of strips on hand to accommodate different sizes of holes. It might take some trial and error to get it right, but this is a normal part of the restoration process. Your patience and perseverance in this part of the repair process serve as a testament to your dedication and respect for the craftsmanship of the chair.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

You’ve repaired the wicker weaving, you’ve carefully selected the right materials, and patched up those holes with precision. Your wicker chair is starting to look good as new. But wait, there’s more work to be done, and it’s all about attention-to-detail in this phase.

Firstly, inspect your work thoroughly. Look for any areas where the wicker may be misaligned or where the weave seems too tight or too loose. Now’s the time to correct any minor errors that may have crept in during your repair process.

Next, time to clean the chair. Dust particles could’ve lodged themselves in the weave during the repair process. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any stubborn grit. If there’s noticeable dirt, get a soft bristle brush and some warm soapy water and gently scrub the area. Remember to fully dry your chair afterwards to prevent moisture seeping into the core of the wicker material.

Now for the third step, a really crucial one – sealing the wicker. This adds an extra layer of protection and enhances your wicker chair’s longevity. Choose a good quality sealant. You’ve got two types to pick from – natural or synthetic. Natural sealants like tung or Danish oil preserve the organic charm of the chair, while synthetic sealants offer superior resistance to elements and are ideal if your chair’s an outdoor sort. Apply a liberal coat of your chosen sealant, and wait for it to dry completely. Understand that this could take a few days.

Lastly, focus on restoring the chair’s color if it has faded over time. You’ve done the hard work in repairing it, now’s the time to really make it shine! Use a good quality wicker stain or paint that’s close to the chair’s original look. After application, let it dry completely for a few days.

There’s so much thrill in restoring an old wicker chair to its former glory. Keep these steps in mind and you’re sure to do a sensational job.


So there you have it. You’ve tackled the task of fixing your wicker chair with precision and care. After inspecting for alignment and ensuring everything is tight, you’ve cleaned and sealed your chair for protection. Maybe you’ve even restored its original color. It’s a testament to your hard work and dedication. Remember, maintaining your wicker chair is just as important as restoring it. Regular cleaning and resealing will ensure its longevity. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the comfort of your revitalized wicker chair. Here’s to many more years of enjoyment from your beautifully restored piece of furniture. After all, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of bringing an old wicker chair back to its former glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus in wicker chair restoration?

The main focus in wicker chair restoration is to enhance the chair’s durability and appearance. This includes checking repaired areas for proper alignment, thoroughly cleaning, sealant application, and even color restoration if necessary.

Why is it essential to clean a wicker chair thoroughly during restoration?

Cleaning the chair thoroughly removes all dust and dirt, which might hinder the proper application of a sealant. It’s an essential step to ensure a smooth and even restoration process.

What is the importance of applying a quality sealant during the chair restoration process?

Applying a quality sealant is crucial as it confers protection and longevity to the wicker chair. It guards against wear and tear and adverse weather conditions, thereby enhancing the chair’s lifespan.

How does the restoration process restore the chair’s color?

By utilizing specific color restoration techniques during the restoration process, you can restore the original color of the chair or even change it to a new color if desired.

How do inspecting and repairing alignment contribute to wicker chair restoration?

Inspecting and repairing alignment ensures that the chair is not skewed or wobbly post-restoration. A well-aligned chair is not only visually pleasing but also ensures comfort and safety of use.