DIY ~ Painting Plastic Wicker

DIY ~ Painting Plastic Wicker

The Backstory

Some years ago we purchased a set of “natural” colored plastic wicker furniture for the back deck.


It was fine for the purposes we intended. They all lived happily under a gazebo tent-like thing and rarely saw direct sunlight.34e2b038-40b3-4f6b-81a5-489b7839936d_400

Unfortunately, over the past several years, snowfall has been tremendous

Lelands full of snow (2014_02_14 13_28_55 UTC)

and the gazebo – tent~like thing gave up the ghost under the weight of all that snow. We replaced the tent-like thing twice. After the second full collapse we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was never going to be a permanent kind of structure, and left the plastic wicker stuff to fade and look unsightly under the oppressive summer sun.

I considered replacing it. But, the thought of spending upwards of $700.00 for something no one was ever going to spend much time on was inconceivable. (Did tell you I was cheap? I believe I did… numerous times.)

So… repainting it seemed like a good option.

The Research

There are a couple of options for painting plastic-like things.


Krylon Maxx (around $4.00 per can) is supposed to  work on all types of materials (including plastic). However, in doing a couple of test locations the paint scratched off under a fingernail with very little effort.


Krylon Fusion ((between $3.75 nd $4.00 per can) might be a viable option. But every outlet that was supposed to carry it has been switching out Fusion for Maxx. I was only able to find a Gloss Black and an odd Purple color – neither of which rang any bells for me. I did try a test spot with the Black Fusion just to see how it fared. Although it is intended to bond with plastic, after a week I could flex the wicker; causing small flecks of paint to come loose from the finish.


I settled on a product from Rust-oleum – Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover ($3.85 per can). It provides a good, thick coating with a resilient finish. After a one week test, the finish bonded as advertised. Even now, a month after repainting, the finish is durable and scratch resistant.

Now, there is another option – Marine Vinyl Recolorant. I hedged on mentioning it simply because the cost is $18.00 a can. At that price, you’d just be better off buying new furniture (you’ll see why a bit later on).

The Process

I’ve used Heirloom White in a satin finish. I really wanted the look of aged, painted wicker. Lighter colors show off the shadows and dimension better than dark colors.

You will need:

1 – Paint. Use this guide to estimate your own needs:

  • End Tables – 1 Can
  • Arm Chair – 2 1/2 Cans
  • Love Seat – 6 Cans
  • As the paint is combined paint & primer, you wont need to figure on extra primer.

2 – Sudsy Ammonia – Even if you are painting new pieces, you’ll need to remove any scale or factory oil and residue before painting to insure a good bonding.

3 – Large Bucket

4 – A couple of good scrub brushes.

5 – Water Hose

6 – Drop Cloth

7 – A good ventilated outside area

Step 1


Mixing the ammonia 1 part to 4 parts water, scrub a good coating of solution all over the piece. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Give it another scrubbing, then rinse thoroughly. Allow to dry completely.

Step 2


Lay out the drop cloth. Beginning with the underside. Spray a light even coat over all exposed surfaces. Allow to dry for 15 minutes. Repeat.

Rotate the piece a 1/4 turn – repeat the paint process. Do this for each quarter turn.

A good rule of thumb when spray painting – Only operate the sprayer in 2-second bursts.

Choose a 1 to 2 foot area, begin moving your hand before you depress the sprayer so that your WP_20150602_15_36_11_Promovements are even and fluid, and you reduce the chance of over-spray and drips in the finish.

NOTE: there is a plastic pistol grip spray attachment you can buy to snap onto the top of the can. However, I found that  constant depressing weakens the plastic trigger, making it unreliable  shortly into the painting process.)

Step 3


Flip the piece over and repeat with all the exposed top surfaces. Allow the paint to cure for 1 hour. Inspect each piece and give another coat where the finish looks light. Allow the finish to cure a minimum of 24 hours before using or accessorizing with pillows.

cover wicker

All in all, I spent $2.00 on the ammonia, just over $50 for the paint and another $60 total for cushions (on sale at Walmart.) …. You’re right, it’s still not cheap. But it’s a helluva lot better than this –


at $649.00!


2 thoughts on “DIY ~ Painting Plastic Wicker

  1. It’s now Spring of 2019 – did the paint hold up or did you wind up buying new stuff anyway? I’m considering painting mine, but if I’m going to have to spend $600 buckaroos in a year or two, then I’ll spare myself the time, effort and cash to repaint.

    1. well.. the short answer is – yes, sorta.

      we had massively hot summers – 2 in a row – and the paint on the deck furniture (which were in full sun for 8 hours a day) could not handle the temps. It flecked a bit.
      However, the other pieces that was in the shade are still performing well with no oxidation or flecking.

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