Painting Wicker Chairs and a Milk Can Table, How to Paint Wicker and a DIY Patio Bistro Set

Before and after transformation of wicker chairs and milk can table

During our evening walk on trash day, I found two old wicker chairs with peeling red paint sitting by the bins. I asked Jason if he would go pick them up with the truck (even though he thinks I’m crazy to try to rescue them!)

Painting wicker chairs that are old with chipped paint

They may look sad, but cleaning and painting wicker chairs will have them looking great to go with the painted milk can table I recently put together.

I have been sprucing up our patio and garden gradually this season. Our patio is currently an old cement slab under the deck that holds ladders and firewood. I am slowly attempting to turn it into an outdoor living space. A little milk can table and wicker chairs will help with the sprucing!

A dear friend gave me two milk cans a few years ago and I have used them here and there around the yard. Milk can tables are not a new invention, but I was so excited to make one of my own!

Milk Can Table Assembly:

Milk can before spray painting

I cleaned the milk can with some dish soap and water and let it dry. Then, I went over the whole thing with Rustoleum Painters Touch in white.

For the table top, I purchased a ready made 30″ wood round at Lowe’s and stained it with Minwax Jacobean. After a day, I applied two coats of Gloss Polyurethane.

Stain and seal the round table top

I used Liquid Nails to attach the wood to the milk can and it is finished. Easy Peasy!

Refinishing Old Wicker:

To get started painting wicker chairs, I thoroughly scrubbed all the loose and chipping paint with a coarse dry brush. Next, I washed the chairs with the hose, letting the hose pressure help remove the loose flaky paint like a light power wash.

The next day, I applied a white spray primer. Once it dried, I applied several thin coats of Rust-Oleum spray paint in white.

Paintimg wicker chairs white with spray paint


Here is the result:

Finished wicker chairs and milk can table

What I learned painting wicker chairs:

Painting wicker a totally different color takes a whole lot of paint. I went through two cans of paint and a can of primer, and the paint is still too light in a couple areas. I’ll have to get a couple more cans to get a saturated glossy finish. I  think it wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the wicker I started with was white…or not so old and dry! The old wicker really soaks up the paint!

The legs and frame were a plastic material while the seat and feet were wicker. The wicker seemed to absorb the paint really well, but I’m concerned there may be some flaking down the road anywhere the original paint didn’t come off the plastic legs.

Overall… very happy I did this! All I had on the patio before were some small wood folding chairs. For just a few minutes and $12 in spray paint it was well worth it. 🙂

milk can table and wicker chair bistro set

I accessorized with a couple outdoor throw pillows. Now, I think this patio set makes quite a pretty statement! It has a bit of that farmhouse country style. I just love a good trash to treasure project.

What furniture flips have you been working on? 🙂

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19 thoughts on “Painting Wicker Chairs and a Milk Can Table, How to Paint Wicker and a DIY Patio Bistro Set

  • Lisa

    I hv done this. I painted ours a dark brown with the rustoleum spray paint…after the primer.

    I hv had to redo the process several times, as the paint has come off with time

    now I am getting new

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      Thats great your getting new chairs! I am hoping the paint will last a little while since our patio is covered. Fingers crossed!

  • Theresa Cooper

    Love it! I have a matching swingasan and table I’m ready to paint. It’s got funky colors so I was a bit nervous, but my courage is restored. FYI wicker is a style not a material. Since mine is plastic for outdoor use I’m going to use the prime coat paint you recommended along with the rustoleum for plastics and metal. I should be able to use the same paint for the metal base the swing hangs from. Haven’t decided on a color gahhh!
    So many to choose from🙂

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      Thanks Theresa! So with my chairs being part plastic and part what I think of as old wicker, it’s really just different materials of wicker furniture. Good to know! 🙂 I hope your chairs turn out amazing! The plastic spray paint will be perfect!

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      If you glue on the unraveled portion with an outdoor safe adhesive, or simply remove the unraveled portion and spray over it all, it should turn our fine! 🙂 I glued the wrapping on one of the legs on my chairs that was unraveling before I painted.

  • Shari Williams

    Has anyone spray painted vinyl woven lawn chairs? Mine are 3” thick, hard vinyl interwoven strips on heavy metal frames.

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      Hi Nikki,
      It is hard to say for sure. My wicker was very dry, and most of the paint flaked off… so it took quite a lot of paint! If your wicker is still pretty well sealed, it will definitely take less. I think 5 cans sounds like plenty!

  • Marsha Smith

    I’m fixing to do the same thing to my wicker love seat on the front porch! I’m going to paint some faded Adirondack chairs in the back yard..faded orange to a bright teal! I hung a used kitchen chandelier turned solar in a’s all around my peaceful chicken coop and run!

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      That sounds amazing! I think bright teal would be a fun pop of color in the garden! Your set up around your chicken coop sounds lovely. I hope your loveseat comes out great!

  • Carrie

    I ha e two wicker. Hairs that want to paint black. I’m just concerned that it’ll make the chair feel tacky and maybe even stick to you legs on a hot day. Will this be an issue if I paint my chairs?

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      Hi Carrie,
      I have never experienced any stickiness with mine, and they are always outside. I think using spray paint, tackiness isn’t an issue!

  • Donna

    How has the table top held up outside? I have considered buying one for an outdoor project but wasn’t sure if it could withstand the weather.

    • Joyeliz57 Post author

      Hi Donna!
      It has held up great for me! I keep it on the covered porch a lot of times so it doesnt get sun everyday… but I’m sure it would work great…especially if you used a sealer on the wood that’s made for outdoor use!