Susan Day Moore of Wicker By Design offers some of her tips learned from her over 15 years of experience of working with portrait photographers
Wicker By Design’s wicker props are designed to be durable and strong. We hear reports from many photographers that have used our pieces for hundreds of sittings. However, all furniture is going to be damaged from repeated use, no matter how careful the photographer. Here are a few tips from Susan on wicker care plus some useful web sites for more advice.
Never leave wicker in the elements or in a hot dry place; even extended exposure to the sun will dry and bake the reeds, and they will break. When the wicker reeds begin to crack or break, it can only get worse.
It is a good idea to wash your wicker down on an occasional basis with a hose to remove dust and to “hydrate” the pieces (dried out wicker is more prone to be brittle and break).
You can reglue the wrappings with Elmer’s Glue.
For small spots or blemishes on the wicker where the paint is chipped, use whiteout for white or whitewash finish or brown artist’s felt tip pen for walnut (brown) stained finishes.
In general, wicker can be repainted. Wicker with a brown/walnut finished can be painted white but you must first apply a stain blocking primer like “Kilz.” Unfortunately, white wicker cannot be stained to look brown or walnut. However, white wicker can be repainted ivory or tan. In addition, it is possible to repaint white wicker to have a “whitewash” look. We know of photographers who have applied ivory/tan paint on white wicker and sponge/wipe off that ivory/tan coat to create the whitewash or two-tone finish.
To prepare the paint job, lightly sand the wicker; apply one or two coats of primer with finish top coat in semi-gloss or gloss paint. Always use an oil based paint. You can use spray paints in a can (look for a high quality brand) or an electric power sprayer. Of course, you can always employ a professional painter.