How to Paint Rattan to Look Natural

Many people who own painted rattan furniture, may wonder how to bring their much-loved pieces back to their original state.

Removing Old Paint

Paint your rattan items to give them a natural appearance.Paint your rattan items to give them a natural appearance.
Because rattan furniture tends to soak paint deeply into its pores, it is very difficult to remove the paint completely. Rather than settling for painting the furniture in one flat color, you can create the illusion of a natural appearance, by strategically painting with two natural shades. You may find that this fresh coat of paint has breathed new life into your rattan furniture.

Slip on your protective dust mask and safety goggles before removing the paint.

Brush all areas of your rattan furniture with your stiff fingernail brush or vegetable brush, concentrating on the small spaces between the rattan strips. Use your toothbrush for areas that are too small for the fingernail brush.

Cut across the bristles of your old paintbrush, at about half their length. Use to brush across the spaces between the rattan strips.

Sand the entire surface of your rattan furniture with your medium-grit sandpaper. Follow the grain of the rattan.

Washing

Add a small amount of liquid dish soap to your bucket and fill the bucket with warm water.

Tilt your rattan furniture by propping up one end, a sturdy object. This will ensure your furniture can drain the water, while it's being washed.

Dip your paintbrush tool into the bucket. Starting at the top, begin spreading the soapy water onto the furniture, following the direction of the rattan strips. Be sure to use only a minimal amount of soapy water, since rattan is a very porous material.

Spray the furniture with a garden hose to remove all soap residue. Dry the furniture with an old towel. Allow the furniture to dry 48 hours before priming.

Priming

Turn your rattan furniture upside-down. Spray the underside of the furniture with a coat of spray primer, following the directions on the can. Remember to wear your dust mask and safety goggles.

Turn your furniture right-side-up, and spray. Allow the furniture to dry completely before continuing.

Apply a second coat of primer. Allow this second coat to dry completely.

Painting

Follow steps one and two of "Priming" to create two layers of tan base coat on your furniture. Make sure the paint has completely dried before continuing.

Turn your furniture upside-down. Spray a small section of your furniture with your dark brown paint. Immediately, wipe the painted area with an old towel. You will notice that the towel removes the dark brown paint from the surface -- while allowing the paint to stay in recessed areas -- such as in-between the rattan strips.

Repeat to complete the entire underside of the furniture. Then, turn your furniture over, and use this technique to finish the top. The grains of the rattan will be highlighted, giving the furniture a natural, unpainted appearance.

Things You Will Need

  • Old paintbrush
  • Small bucket
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Dish soap
  • Old toothbrush
  • Garden hose
  • Stiff fingernail brush or vegetable brush
  • Tan-colored spray paint, oil-based
  • Dark brown spray paint, oil-based
  • Spray primer
  • Scissors
  • Protective dust mask
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Safety goggles

Tip

  • It is advisable to paint rattan furniture with oil-based products, since this type of paint can easily flex on the surface of the furniture, minimizing the amount of cracking and chipping.

Warning

  • When spraying your furniture with the dark brown paint, be sure to immediately wipe away any brown paint that is sprayed on areas that are already finished. Also, make sure that the brown paint does not seep through the rattan strips onto the opposite side of the furniture. This will only be a problem if the rattan strips are spaced widely apart.

About the Author

Melissa Busse is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, including natural health and beauty, budget balancing and parenting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Maryville University in St. Louis.