How To Change the Color of a Wicker Basket

Want to change the color of a wicker basket?  It can be easily done with this transparent painting technique. 

I like baskets of all shapes, sizes and styles. I use them in many ways around my house in both decor and hidden behind closed doors and in drawers to help me organize my stuff in style. I buy my baskets at places like HomeGoods, IKEA or at thrift stores and yard sales. I like most of them just as they are…but just like anything decorative, a color update can be needed to help them fit into current decorating trends.

Closet with hidden door under staircase and sideboard with wicker baskets
Baskets BEFORE

Right now I am into the soft driftwood color that is popular now and wanted to change four IKEA Branäs baskets in the sideboard in my foyer. I like the baskets since they fit perfectly and they make the traditional and formal piece of furniture a bit more casual.

What I don’t like about the baskets is the color. Not that I don’t like natural color wicker baskets… just not in my foyer. I have had a few readers tell me that they don’t think I should use baskets on the shelves, that the piece calls for books or decorative accessories. I agree with this if I followed the “rules”…

….but I know my style and I like the fact that the baskets fit perfectly and hide clutter. Years ago I had books and decorative accents on the shelves, but it made the piece look too fussy, cluttered, and just not my style.

How to change the color of a wicker basket with paint so it still looks-natural
Baskets AFTER painting

How to Change the Color of a Wicker Basket

I painted the baskets using a painting technique that would not make the color opaque. I wanted the color I added to be translucent. 

To do this, I used glazing medium mixed with paint and then wiped some of the paint mixture off a few minutes after it was applied. Doing this keeps the color looking natural, not painted on. 

If you want your baskets to have a solid opaque color, then skip Step 3 in the tutorial below.

supplies needed:

  • Wicker basket
  • Matte paint or chalk paint in desired color. You can use any color acrylic paint you want. I used Waverly Chalk Paint in the color Truffle
  • Matte white paint or chalk paint
  • Clear glazing liquid – buy at the craft store or paint store. I used Valspar.
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Paper towels
Can a wicker basket be painted? Use these paint supplies to change the color of a wicker basket

1. Mix 75% paint in desired color and 25% glazing liquid together in a small container and stir well.

If you are not familiar with glazing liquid, it is a water-based medium that when mixed with paint, allows the paint to have a more translucent quality.

best way to paint a wicker basket

2. Brush mixture on one side of basket, making sure to get bristles into the nooks and crannies of the basket.

how to paint a wicker basket

3. Using a paper towel, wipe over the just painted surface to remove some of the paint. This will expose some of the basket’s original color.

how to chalk paint a wicker basket

4. The color will look like this. If you want a darker color, re-apply a coat of the paint/glaze and wipe off again until you like the depth of color you see.

5. Once the paint/glaze mixture is dry, I mixed white chalk paint and water 50%/50% and brushed it over the basket to help the painted finish have a flat white cast to look like driftwood to coordinate with the floor basket that I have placed next to the sideboard.

How to paint a wicker basket to look like a driftwood color

I repeated the process on on four baskets in less than an hour.

Transparent paint technique used to paint wicker baskets in a driftwood color

The baskets were dry within an hour and back they went into the sideboard. :-) 

Blue sideboard in foyer all decked out for fall.

Update: I painted the sideboard blue. You can read how I did it in this post:

I am not into perfectly matching decor, but in this case the coordinated color of the baskets looks better to my eye in this space.

This is not the first time I have changed the color of a wicker basket. To see other options on how to paint them, check out this post: How to Paint an Aged Driftwood Finish on Baskets

Like to be organized?  Label for Storage Bins, Bags and Baskets

Wicker Basket Painting Resources


You May Also Like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Annemarie says:

    I have some Branas baskets that I also am wanting to change the color on, but they seem like they are varnished. Were yours like that? It was hard to tell from the photos. Have they held up well?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Annemarie – My baskets had a matte varnish on them, it wasn’t shiny. If yours have it on, simply run 100 grit sandpaper over the finish on each side of the basket first to remove it and rough up the surface a bit so the stain will soak in. The baskets have held up well – perfect!! If you are going to stain yours, test the color stain on the underside of the basket first to see if you like it and how many coats of stain you will need to get the color you want.

  2. Dave Otiende says:

    Hello,I source straw paint from my aunt in the village some 70-90miles from me,I want to add some artwork on the basket without it fading.
    What should I do?I need to kindly know the proportion the mixtures of paints on the straw baskets as well as on reed mats.The reeds are gotten from lake Victoria.
    Kindly help me relieve my artwork dream
    Thanks much,
    Dave Otiende

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dave – Painting on the baskets and reed mats will look great. I would love to help you but I am not sure what straw paint is? Is it an water-based acrylic paint or an oil based paint?

  3. Theresa Skelly says:

    I have a large old wicker basket that belonged to my mother. It has been painted red for many years but I don’t remember what it looked like before that—just not red. I would like to remove the paint so that I can possibly use it in it’s natural state, or else repaint it. Some of the paint is chipped off but it’s not horrible. Do you have any idea how I should go about this? Thanks for any help you are able to give me.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Theresa – To remove the red paint from the wicker, I would use the spray version of Citrastrip. You can see it here:

      It is non-toxic and has no smell. It may take 24 hours for the paint to come off, but it should work just fine. Take the basket outside (in a shady spot or in a garage) and place on a few blocks to lift it off a drop cloth of plastic sheeting or cardboard – anything can be a drop cloth. Spray the basket with Citrastrip from all angles – upside down and sideways and all over. Then let it sit overnight or 8 – 24 hours. You can test to see if the paint is coming off after about 6 hours. Use a paint stick to scrap the wicker to see if the paint comes off, if it does not, respray the area where you removed the Citrastrip and then keep testing every few hours. Once the paint comes off, take the piece outside and hose it off with a hose. Use detergent and a rag over the surface to clean it and remove all the paint remover. Rinse with clear water and let dry. Once the wicker is super dry – then you can paint.

  4. Hello,
    I really gained a lot from this article.
    But i will like to ask can i also use this method to paint my Pp ratan basket?
    Thanks, i will be expecting your reply

  5. Hi, I love the baskets and your instructions! I have a dark stained wicker headboard that I’d like to lighten up to be a color like your baskets. Would you recommend just skipping the glazing and just doing the 50/50 white chalk paint mixed with water, or would you do something else? Thank you!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patti – Since your headboard is dark you and you would like to lighten it, you can skip the glazing step. Apply the 50/50 chalk paint or white primer water mix coat by coat till you like what you see. It may look too white and not driftwood(y) enough. If this is the case you can then apply a driftwood stain over the paint and wipe it off. I think you will like color. Only apply a little bit so the stain stays on top and does not get into the recesses of the wicker. I would use this: You will only need a pint, not a large can.

    2. Kirsta Fontanilla says:

      Patti, did you end up redoing your headboard? I’m in exactly the same situation, and am looking for advice before I take the matter in hand!
      Do you have pics you could post or send me of your project?

  6. Elaine Williams in Baltimore says:

    I love this! Agree with you – books and decorative items on the shelves would spell clutter and collect dust. The baskets are an excellent way to stash items you may need when going out the door. I would love to see that piece of furniture chalk painted.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Elaine – I hope to begin painting the sideboard soon, probably in the next few weeks, once we get the game room done.

  7. Aquaguard RO says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! Quick, easy, simple, awesome! ❤

  8. Picky Stitch says:

    I am in love with the baskets and just how warm and welcoming your entry way is! I love the soothing colors with the touches of wood that you have. It’s so pretty I love it all!

  9. Becky in 'Bama says:

    While I love the lamps on this chest in your entry – they seem to get lost in the white background of the walls and stairs (although in person they may look totally different than they do in a photo). And have you ever considered maybe applying a ribbon band on the white shades? – so that they, too, don’t get lost in all the white background.

    Liking what you did with the baskets.

    I have to say, your blog STILL offers many ideas for re-using and re-purposing unlike many others who seem to have limitless cash to throw out and start over (or do makeovers way out of my expertise and/or budget).

  10. Varsha | Villas says:

    I’ve always been thinking to something with my wicker baskets in the living room storage. But never had I thought the charcoal colour would look so great, gonna try it though. Thanks, Diane:)

  11. I’m a “paint everything white!” girl, but I do love the drama of the peice as it is. I can see it look stunning in a charcoal color!

  12. I like what you did to the baskets. It’s not too dark and it’s not too light. I think it was a good change. As far as the sideboard, my suggestion would be to chalk paint the bottom in an off-white/ivory color and stain the top. I just did a bachelor’s chest for my bedroom that way and I love the way it turned out. You can see it on my blog if you’re interested in how it turned out.
    I definitely will keep this way of painting in mind and your tutorial.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi MaryJean – – I just checked it out. It looks beautiful…very nice and perfect finish for the piece. Thanks for telling me about it.

  13. I’m in total agreement with Theresa. What a great idea and I agree that it would be a good match to your flooring.
    I too am a huge fan of your blog Diane. It was ‘meeting’ you through blog land (I’m from Australia) that I learned about diy chalk paint and transformed almost every piece of my furniture.
    Best wishes, Suzanne

  14. Theresa Stewart says:

    Not a fan of pinks, but have you thought of a subdued driftwood blush color for your sideboard. I was looking at your flooring and it would compliment that and if the shade was right it would be a very neutral color. Personally I love blues and sea colors as I live close to the Gulf in Florida but it was just a thought :-) LOVE, love your blog and have been a fan for years. Keep it comin’ girlieeeee!

  15. This looks great Diane. I wish I had seen your post before I changed the color of my basket with the same chalk paint. I am wondering if I could “layer” another coat of chalk paint, using your formula and if it would soften the overall effect such as yours?

  16. I painted our kitchen cabinets & a chest in the living room a warm medium grey and I adore it! Not sure if grey goes with your decor. What about a soft blue?? Especially if you have a coastal/lake vibe. Ooh blue with the wicker baskets might look lovely!

  17. Mary Ann Howat says:

    You did a great job on the baskets. I’m sure you will pick a great color for the sideboard. Since you have a lot of whit background a color pop would be great but not sure of the color. I am in my turquoise phase so I use a lot of that color, some dark and some light.

  18. I am thinking of painting a wicker basket too! Not sure what color I’ll do but am happy to see the glazing liquid is the ‘key’ along with the white over the top, if desired for the right color. I wouldn’t have thought of that. What a great tip!

    I have a vintage 1940’s buffet (being used for storage and display) in our office. It is in dire need of “something”. One of these days I’ll figure out what color to paint it. ;-) It’s a beautiful and heavy piece that is a great workhorse for all kinds of storage….but the poor finish is truly on it’s last leg.

    Diane you always always have wonderful decor ideas that work for even the smallest budgets. That’s why I keep following your blog. :-)

  19. Linda L Weeks says:

    P.S. I’d like to see what you think of Fusion Paint too!

  20. Linda L Weeks says:

    All of the furniture we had in our family was of a similar color (mahogany?) as your sideboard, until my mom found this product for painting furniture, even back in 1968! She actually painted our Duncan Phyfe (reproduction) the cutest shade of blue, then reupholstered and painted the matching chairs! That was so long ago. I thought she was the cleverest of all possible moms. If i had that little sideboard in my house, I’d probably use some Olde English scratch cover – but I know you are right, whatever color you come up with! It will be lovely!

  21. Hi Diane, Have you ever used Fusion Mineral Paint? I’m getting ready to repaint a coffee table that I got off craigslist and was going to use chalk paint and wax, however, I know from painting other pieces that it’s not an ideal finish for something that gets touched a lot. I saw that mineral paint self levels and doesn’t require much prep and was interested in trying it. Any feedback? Thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Deb –

      I have used Fusion Mineral Paint, but not on furniture yet. I used it to paint a stencil on the walls in a bathroom. I loved the color. I might use the same color for the sideboard in my foyer. I have a friend who uses it all the time. She loves it. She paints furniture and then sells it and likes that you don’t have to seal it with anything.

      As far as using chalk paint. I have painted all the tables and sideboard in my living room using chalk paint and wax. One of the tables is going on 7 years and still looks great. I have never had to touch it up. I realize though that I don’t have kids around anymore using any of the tables, it is just two of us with guests every so often. :-)