How to Freshen Up Worn Rattan/Wicker

Our hamper is, I guess you can say, well loved. After having it a few years, the rattan/wicker was starting to show it’s age. Yikes, I mean just look at the picture below. I can’t remember it ever encountering any significant trauma, so I guess it’s just the normal wear and tear of every day life. Instead of throwing it away or painting it, I had the idea to freshening it up by using stain pens.

Yup, those stain pens that are designed to touch up furniture or wood floors. When Jer and I moved, a few pieces of wood furniture were slightly damaged, so I tried a couple of the pens to hide the scratches. Overall, the pens worked OK. I never seemed to find the exact right color, so while the stain makes it less noticeable, if you really look at a scratch you’ll tell the color is slightly off. I had two stain pens left over from that project – Ebony and Dark Walnut. Since the wicker on the hamper is on the darker side, I thought they might just work to conceal some of the damage.

The application is super easy. Shake the pens a few minutes and gently press the pen tip down a couple of times to release the stain. Then simply “color” the damaged areas. When you use the stain pen on wood, it recommends that you wipe off the stain. I found that the wicker will absorb the stain, so there is no need to wipe off excess stain. I did a combination of dabbing and coloring the stain on –particularly in the areas with extensive damage. The rattan in those parts were sometimes soft and fragile, so the dabbing helped to cover the area without causing any more damage. At times, you may need to remove broken slivers of rattan. Usually you can just pull it off with your hands, but you may want to use scissors to have a nicer finish. Since I had two colors I tried to use the ebony where the darker rattan naturally was and the dark walnut in the lighter areas. I think having a couple of stain variations helped blend the damaged parts. If I had to do it again, I would have purchased one more pen (maybe golden oak or cherry?) to more closely match the lightest rattan, but overall I’m happy with how it turned out.

I put the photos side-by-side, so you can really see the difference. This project can definitely be completed in an afternoon (maybe an hour or two depending on the size and amount of damaged). I just listened to an audio book as I completed the project and I took a break after a while because the smell started to bothered me. If it’s warm outside, maybe do it out there.

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