Sunday, August 19, 2018

Refinish Wicker Doll Furnishings

The finished result after a couple hours of spray painting.
       In the 1970s and 1980s, it was popular to furnish doll houses with small wicker furniture; the alternative to plastic inflatables. Because wicker is not very strong, much of it did not survive the playtime I suppose.
       I picked the stool, side table and one chair on the first day and then I returned the following day to retrieve the second chair. When visiting resale in the city, I always return the day after I have purchased something in order to see if it is a part of a larger set. Doll furniture in specific, was and still is sold in sets from high end toy stores. By the time these little furnishings are donated by former owners, many pieces may be lost or shifted into multiple bags or boxes.
       I have also discovered that employees in my local resale shops, do not always put sets of doll furniture out on display all at once and they don't always bag these items together. So it is best to keep a close watch for matching items once you have discovered one piece that you want.

Old wicker doll furniture tossed out as trash. These items
will look great once they are repaired and repainted.

Supply List:
  • old wicker doll furniture for upcycling
  • your choice of spray paint 
  • terry cloth towel
  • dark green acrylic paint (for metal leaf design)
  • fabric print to compliment the paint color
  • two buttons
  • needle and thread
  • hot glue gun and hot glue (repair work)
  • cotton or polyester stuffing
Step-by-Step Directions:
  1. Wipe down the old wicker with a clean terry cloth towel; try to remove as much dust and dirt as you can before painting these.
  2. You may need to use a bit of hot glue to reweave some of the old wicker back around the arms or chair legs and tack it into place.
  3. Prepare to spray paint this furniture in an outdoor space. I use large old cardboard boxes to spray paint items in. The clean up of these is easier; all I need to do is toss the used cardboard into recycling after the painting is done. The sides of the cardboard box help prevent the paint from coming into contact with anything beyond the object I am spray painting.
  4. When spray painting wicker, it is best to do so very slowly, all the while turning the doll furniture from side to side, upside down and right side up as the wicker dries. It take many light coats of paint and spraying between the gaps takes time. But the results are like new!
  5. After coating the wicker entirely and letting the paint dry, I then used a small paint brush to apply some darker green acrylic paint to the decorative metal leaves at the foot of the stool. This step highlighted the raised areas in the stamped metal.
  6. To make the two tiny pillows, simply draw a circle pattern for the seats and trace it out onto a fabric four times. Make a seam allowance of 1/4 inch around all four circles before cutting the fabric. 
  7. Cut and sew a straight stitch around the circles with their right sides facing in. Leave an opening for each pillow of about 1 inch wide.
  8. Now clip around each pillow's edge to help turn them inside out properly. Be careful not to clip through the straight seam!
  9. Turn the fabric pillows inside out and stuff them with a little bit of cotton or polyester stuffing.
  10. Use a whip stitch to sew shut the opening.
  11. Thread the needle again with a matching thread and sew a button each into the middle of both pillows.
Left, I use large old cardboard boxes to spray paint items in. The clean up of these is easier;
all I need to do is toss the used cardboard into recycling after the painting is done.
Center, It take many light coats of paint and spraying between the gaps takes time.
Right, the results are like new!
Left, I used a small paint brush to apply some darker green acrylic paint to the decorative metal
 leaves at the foot of the stool. This step highlighted the raised areas in the stamped metal.
Center, I chose to sew tiny pillows for each chair as well. Right, Each pillow has a decorative
 button sewn in the middle.
This is the same exact furniture that I have restored above. 
However, these pieces are in excellent condition.

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