How To Refinish Bamboo Rattan Furniture Without Painting
It’s important to know how to refinish bamboo rattan furniture without painting. You never know when you’ll find the perfect piece of furniture that just needs a little love!
Interestingly enough, refinishing bamboo rattan furniture is easier than you think. You do not need a ton of specialty tools, nor do you need to spend a lot of money.
The best part of this guide? I’m showing you how to refinish your furniture without painting it! So, if you love the natural look for bamboo, this how-to is for you!
Items needed for refinishing bamboo rattan furniture:
- Varnish stripper
- Plastic drop cloth
- Sandpaper (220 grit)
- Felt pads
- Rags or old socks
- Wire brush
- Putty knife/spreader
- Scrub pad
- Wood oil (I used teak oil, but you can use tung oil too)
How do you restore bamboo rattan?
Here’s how to refinish bamboo rattan furniture without painting in six simple steps!
1. Apply a varnish stripper
Here’s how to remove varnish from rattan furniture!
First, apply a varnish stripper with an old paintbrush or an inexpensive chip brush. Next, cover the piece overnight in plastic wrap. Then, remove the first layer of stripper with a putty knife, gently scraping away the residue.
2. Wipe the furniture
Next, use an old rag or an old sock to wipe away the remaining varnish stripper residue. Dip your rag into the bucket full of warm soapy water.
Since I used a sock, I first put on a plastic rubber glove and then put the sock over my gloved hand. As a result, the chemicals did not touch my skin at all.
Wring out as much water as you can and wipe away the remaining stripper residue. Moreover, you’ll want to keep a dry rag to quickly wipe your furniture. You don’t want to let water seep into the wood and warp it.
This method works well around furniture with lots of curves and crevices.
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3. Clean the crevices
Thereafter, you may need to clean dirt or remaining residue from the nooks and crannies of your furniture.
Tool 1: Wire brush
You can use a small wire brush to get in the crevices to strip away as much of the old finish as possible. Dip and clean the wire brush in the soapy water before gently scraping away at your furniture.
I suggest that you do not use the wire brush very much. Especially with rattan, you can accidentally start to break down the strands of the bamboo rattan furniture and destroy your piece. Consequently, use a wire brush very sparingly.
Tool 2: Scrub pad
Additionally, clean crevices with a scrub pad that you wash dishes with. Again, squeeze out as much water as you can to not destroy your furniture. And don’t scrub too hard either.
Don’t aim to get the finish perfect. Remember, this is a project where you have to accept some imperfections and chalk it up as vintage patina.
Tool 3: Putty knife
I also used the edge of my putty knife to scrape up the finish to much success.
Embrace imperfections of rattan or bamboo. Don’t make it perfect; it makes the furniture charmingly vintage!
4. Sand smooth
After scraping up all of the remaining varnish stripper, it’s time to sand. I sanded the entire piece by hand with 220 grit sandpaper.
5. Make repairs
At this point, you can make any necessary repairs to your furniture.
My bamboo rattan chair was wobbly, for example. It was wobbly because it only had one plastic foot left on the bottom.
Therefore, I used a chisel and a hammer to knock off the old plastic foot off the chair. I later replaced the old plastic feet with felt pads. On some legs of my chair, I doubled up the felt pads to level off the chair. No more wobbling!
6. Add the new finish
Now to the fun part!
Using a paper towel or shop towel, add a little wood oil to your rag.
When you wipe down the area of your furniture, move on to the next section to allow the oil to soak in. Then, go back over the area two or three times.
I used teak oil for my chair’s new look. I really wanted to embrace the natural finish. Hence, I chose a teak oil to not change the color of the return too much.
You don’t have to paint your rattan furniture. Use wood oil to bring out the natural finish!
Pay special attention to any cracked parts or those really detailed small pieces of your bamboo or rattan furniture. That’s because you want to make sure those pieces are moisturized well by the oil. That will help the furniture to not split even more in those areas over time.
How to add oil to woven rattan
For the woven part of the back of my chair, I stippled on the teak oil and tapped it in since I couldn’t really wipe in that area. I went over this area again about 2 to 3 times. The back piece is very brittle, thus I wanted to make sure that the oil really penetrated and moisturized that part of the chair.
My favorite part of the project was oiling down the chair to reveal the new natural finish. So satisfying!
In conclusion, I’m so happy that I tackled this project as the perfect final piece to our dining room. It is possible to refinish your bamboo rattan furniture without painting it! Have fun styling your new chair like adding a throw blanket for a more cozy look.
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