Wicker furniture itself is a timeless fixture perfect for your outdoor space. Buying wicker patio furniture, regardless of whether it’s natural rattan or synthetic, makes you a part of a club with membership going back hundreds (if not thousands) of years. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why wicker patio furniture is worth holding on to.
A long time reader contacted us earlier this and it was clear that he felt the same way. His wicker furniture is a bit worse for wear, so he had the following question to ask:
Hey Captain! My wicker lounge chair has seen better days and has started to break. Is it possible to repair my wicker patio furniture?
Rather than simply email Jacob back, let’s answer his question here: yes, it’s definitely possible to repair wicker patio furniture!
How to Repair Wicker Furniture
For starters, you’ll need four tools to make your wicker repairs:
- Standard pliers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Thin wire – consistency of a paper clip
- Wire cutters
Repairs to wicker usually involve either missing or damaged reed. In both cases, you have to make sure you get enough replacement reed to do the job right.
As I hinted in the introduction, wicker is made out of natural wicker or synthetic resin. Take a sample of the reed from the bottom of the piece so you know exactly what color and size it is.
Estimate how much reed you’ll need to make the necessary repairs, and always overestimate to be safe.
Time for some wicker, man
Once you’ve assessed the damages and determined the type, size, and color of reed you need, it’s time to start shopping. If possible, try to go back to the store that sold you the furniture. They can often help you get just what you need.
If this isn’t possible (or if they’re less than helpful), look for brick-and-mortar or online stores to get the right materials.
If you do not get an exact match when it comes to color, not to worry because a few off-colored pieces can add some ambiance to your furniture. Once you get the reed you need, study the pattern in the furniture piece so you know exactly what it’s supposed to look like.
To make it easy on yourself, go ahead and snap a picture of the pattern with your cell phone so you don’t forget it. You can also look at other sections of the furniture to get an idea of the pattern of the weave.
Removing the damaged reed
With wire cutters, go ahead and remove the reed that is damaged, but make sure you leave enough there to tuck part of it back under the pattern so that the end doesn’t stick out. If possible, tuck in one to two inches of the reed so there is enough to hide it without it sticking out. Weave over and under the cross members a minimum of four to seven times for the best look.
At this point, you’ll need a wire-like tool to help you lift the pieces over the cross member easily. This is where your paper clip comes in, because you’ll bend one of the ends to make a hook and use that to lift the pieces from down below.
To the tub for a soak
Always soak natural wicker in water for a minimum of 15 minutes so it can get soft enough to manipulate when you start weaving. You’ll now be weaving in and out, using your paper clip and wire-cutters as you go along. Remember to leave enough leftover reed to tuck it in and under without it sticking out of the wicker.
It may take some practice, but if you continually weave in and out and watch the pattern, the process should become very simple after a while.
When you’re finished, remember to leave untreated natural wicker alone, but if the natural wicker or resin is a certain color, use either spray paint or some type of stain to get the color you want. If you choose stain instead of paint, follow it up with a clear acrylic spray paint to seal it and keep it protected. Use the number of coats recommended by the manufacturer of the product.
Some last minute tips
Finally, to repair wicker furniture, keep in mind the following tips:
- Don’t just measure the length and buy that amount of reed; it will take more than that because you’ll be weaving in and out to get your pattern.
- Try to tuck in at least two inches when you get to the end of the reed so that it doesn’t start to stick out when you’re done.