How Do I Fix Rolled Arms on Resin Wicker Chairs?

Artesia Peluso

In ancient Egypt the reed and swamp grasses from the Nile were used to make wicker baskets, chests and other furniture. Since then, modernized wicker furniture--especially chairs designed with serpentine rolled arms--have become a staple in furniture design. Unlike ancient wicker, today's wicker is most often reserved for outdoor lounging, which means the wicker can become extremely worn. To repair missing, broken or warped reeds, use replacement reeds, water, a few basic tools and a primer.

Repair your wicker chair so you can comfortably lounge outside again.
  1. Soak your replacement reeds in warm water for 30 minutes to an hour. Set them out on a flat surface and press out all excess water.

  2. Inspect your chair for damages. Identify whether the chair is warped or has broken reeds.

  3. Wrap warped reeds with a warm, wet cloth and secure with a piece of rope or string. Remove the string and cloth after an hour and a half, reposition and draw the reeds tighter. Secure each reed with a small nail and let it dry.

  4. Find the starting end of the broken reed on your wicker chair. Cut and nail any loose wicker to the underframe of the arm rest. Nail a new starting end under the framework of the arm rest and begin tightly wrapping the wet reed in the original wrapping pattern. Along the way use small nails at the underframe of the armrest to secure the reeds.

  5. Let the reeds dry. Set the chair out in the sun for six to eight hours or let the reeds dry indoors for 24 hours.

  6. Spray or coat the new reed with a thin layer of resin-based primer and let the primer dry. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times, keeping in mind that too much primer might make the repair obvious.