I saw this wicker sofa in the brocante and it’s been sat in my parent’s garage over the summer whilst I finished other projects. As my plans to give the living room an American French Country focus have developed I felt it was time to get it out of storage in time for the Christmas period.
I do this every year. Set myself an unrealistic amount of decorating projects coming up to the festive season, imaging a beautifully finished home to welcome guests in style. It is never finished to the extent I want and sometimes I’m left frazzled from the effort. However each year I’m closer to the home that I want, so there’s that 😆.
Back to the sofa. As with my French Country decor post I’d coveted ones like this…,
…but found a simpler one like this….
for 40€ in the brocante.
I wanted to make it lighter to fit the style of the room so I thought I’d chalk paint it. Normally I don’t give a how to for any chalk painted piece of furniture as there are so many excellent tutorials out there. However as this involved caning I thought I’d share this piece’s transformation with you.
Remove any trim and fabric
The first thing to do is move any trim and fabric. Mine had nail head trim which was rusty. I had to use pliers and a flat head screw driver to get them all out. Levering the nail head with the screwdriver first then prising it free with the pliers.
Mine was covered in nailhead rust and other dirt so a good clean down was needed. I always check my cloth now to see if there is any stain on it along with dirt. After painting my secrétaire and having lots of trouble with that I didn’t want to go through hours of painting to no avail.
It looked ok, but more on that later.
Paint the caning with chalk paint
I started with the caning as I’d heard I might not be able to paint it. However chalk paint did a good job. I used a round headed brush and applied it in a circular motion. It’s really important to only added a little paint to the tip of your brush as you’re painting a holey surface and too much paint will just make a mess.
Applied over a small section on one side then catch the drips on the other, again using a circular motion and effectively using the same paint to cover both sides. You have to really work the paint into the caning to cover it. You can see an image below of blobs if paint that had accumulated before I’d done the other side. Without catching it it would form drips.
Here it is after I’d painted the first panel of cane….
Paint with chalk paint
Next I painted the frame. I alternated between the caning and the frame like this, eventually adding three layers of chalk paint. I needed so many as it was a dark piece which was difficult to cover. However I always get inexpensive cans, so it didn’t break the bank.
As I continued it was evident that I did have some bleed from the old varnish; just in some places the paint was developing a very distinctive pink tinge. Also in spite of my nifty brush work the cane wasn’t completely covered. Onto the next step.
Spray any bits
I got some insulating, white primer and sprayed this over the patchy areas of cane and the pink tinged wood. It was just here and there – I wouldn’t recommend this for an all over job as it can have a bobbly texture due to its formulation. I can show you this in a bookcase post soon.
Double check the legs are well covered
Turn it over and paint any areas missed on the legs. At this stage it’s obvious how disintegrated the underside is (the pictures are below). More on that in a bit.
Lightly sand the chalk paint with fine sand paper, taking extra care on areas that had insulating primer and the caning.
This isn’t the most professional how to. As the sofa will be rarely used and the springs seemed secured I just removed the grotty covering fabric, secured the webbing then recovered in a heavy weight piece of upholstery fabric that I had.
It was a leftover from a previous upholstery job. The fabric had a fire proofed backing which had a plastic like feel. I’m hoping this does the job, but if not I’ll have to redo this part. At present though I’m on a deadline for Noël.
If it does need redoing I’ll put a note here and a link to how I handled it.
Add padding and base upholstery
I added extra padding to make it more comfortable. As I said in the post on making an extra large, coffee table ottoman, I often recycle washed, worn quilts to use in various soft furnishing projects. I just used some of it like batting prior to covering it with the same fabric as the underneath.
Adding the first layer of upholstery
I’d already used the original fabric as a template and cut another piece, leaving an extra inch around the outside whilst cutting.
I started stapling at the back, tucking the edge of the fabric under and stapling it in the middle of the setee first.
Immediately stapling the opposite edge, keeping it taught. Do that all around the outside.
Using a clean, round headed brush apply the sealing wax a little section at a time, then polishing with lint free cloths before moving onto another section. Do the caned area too.
After covering the cushions this is what the little setée looks like….
I haven’t included a how to for the cushions as the technique is pretty much the same for the fitted chair.
What do you think? You can see it’s next to the round table I re-painted. It suits the style of the room so much more now. I keep this largish, dining table in here as I love to display lots of family photos like this.
The room is really developing that American French Country style now don’t you think?
2 thoughts on “Wicker sofa”
I love this, I shall be scouring the second hand shops looking for similar on my next visit to France.
Thank you so much. Are you coming over during the Christmas season? I’ll look forward to your posts if you do.