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How To Change the Color of a Wicker Basket

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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


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  1. 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.

  2. 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. :-)

  3. 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!

  4. 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. 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. :-)