Grey is the new orange: How to paint wicker (the easy way)

How to paint wicker the easy way {Heather's Handmade Life}
Once upon a time, there was a country-style wicker six-drawer chest in a “warm honey” (a.k.a. bright orange) finish. It came from the kingdom of Canadian Tire — where its friends are still sold today — and, lo, it was sturdy.

It found a home with my mother, and then my sister, before finally making its journey to me. But it was not the happily-ever-after one would expect, for its orange wicker was so ghastly that no one could truly fall in love with it . . .

Still with me? I bet you have one of the wicker drawer units, or you know someone who does. They’re everywhere, and they really are well made. This particular unit has been passed around my entire family and it still looked brand new.

How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}

We stuck it in our living room for a while and used it to hold small toys, after I’d banished all remaining toys to the basement or the kids’ bedrooms. It was fine, despite not matching the hardwood, but I knew it could be better.

On a very rare evening when I had the house to myself, I got the brilliant idea to close off the bathroom door that connects our master bedroom to the only upstairs bathroom. (I have no idea why a “cheater ensuite” would ever be appealing.)

How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}
The “cheater” bathroom door

We didn’t need two doors and we’d gain extra wall space in our room. So I heaved my husband’s tall dresser over to block the door from the bedroom side, and brought this drawered unit into the bathroom — it fit perfectly in the extra doorway.

Could I really paint wicker? I hadn’t done it before. But the orange had to go, so I started with the base of the chest. It didn’t take long to cover it up. I painted the chest a beautiful deep grey (Ash by Fusion Mineral Paint) and lined up the drawers on a dropcloth in the hallway.

When it was time to paint the wicker drawers, I decided it would be insane to attempt perfect coverage. That would have required a lot of cursing and obsessing — using a tiny paintbrush to get in every single nook and cranny. NO WAY.

Instead, I dry-brushed them with a lighter grey (Putty by Fusion Mineral Paint) so they looked weathered. I paid more attention to the drawer fronts, since they’d be the most visible, and just lightly dry brushed the sides. It was enough to cut down on the orange without being too finicky.

How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}
The secret to painting wicker? Dry-brushing!

When the drawers were dry, I popped them back into the unit and gave the edges a light scuff to distress them. I added a few accessories and eventually plan to hang white drapes to cover the door so no one will ever know it was there.

How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}

The formerly orange chest is now the perfect spot for storing the extra soap, shampoo, toothpaste and razors that normally got lost under the bathroom sink or tucked away in the linen closet. There’s a drawer for every category, and now it’s much easier to see when we’re running low of something.

How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}

Do you have one of these in your house? Don’t forget to pin this post for later, in case you want to try it!
How to paint wicker (the easy way) {Heather's Handmade Life}
How to paint wicker the easy way (PIN FOR LATER)

5 Comments on “Grey is the new orange: How to paint wicker (the easy way)

  1. Pingback: Cabinet makeover with Fusion Mineral Paint – Heather's Handmade Life

  2. I have the same dresser and I’m painting it just like you did this weekend! Thanks for the great idea! On a different note, I used to have a cheater door in my second bathroom. It’s a bit of work, but have you considered taking out the door frame and dry-walling it up? I did that by myself a few years ago in my bathroom and it makes a huge difference in both the bathroom and adjoining bedroom! Super cheap to do with drywall and wood to build a wall frame… Just a lot of manual labour…. Thanks again for your inspiration with this dresser!

    • We’ve definitely considered it! My husband is convinced we should leave the cheater door for resale value down the road, since we don’t have a master bathroom, but I really want to just drywall over it. We’ll see who wins this argument. 🙂

    • Nope, no clear coat on this piece. It’s still perfect, BUT it’s in a corner of the bathroom that isn’t really used. If I’d put it in a high-traffic area, I may have added a clear coat to protect it from wear and tear.

So what do you think?

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