How to Whitewash a Wicker Basket

whitewash a wicker basket

Are your wicker baskets looking lackluster after months outdoors? Whitewashing is the low-effort way to renew them without a full paint job.

It’s important to understand that whitewashing differs from standard painting. When you whitewash, the finish is semi-transparent by design. This allows the natural texture of wicker to show through for a gently worn look over time.

Since you don’t need 100% coverage, it’s easy to achieve beautiful results without worrying about getting every nook and cranny. Just a few thin coats soaked into the fibers are all that’s needed.

In this guide, I’ll show you the simple whitewashing process using basic supplies. I’ll also share tips for customizing your finish, whether subtly faded or charmingly antique.

So whether refreshing favorites or upgrading thrift finds, let me teach you this breezy way to renew wicker baskets. You’ll be stylin’ with vintage charm in no time!

Materials Needed:

  • 1 medium-sized wicker basket
  • 1/2 cup white latex paint
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Paintbrush (I recommend using a 1-inch chip brush for the best control and texture)
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Bucket or other container for mixing whitewash
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper (grit 100-150), optional for distressing
basket preparation


Spread out your drop cloth to protect the work surface. Clean the basket thoroughly by wiping it with a damp rag. Allow to dry fully.

Creating the Whitewash:

In a bucket, mix the latex paint and water together until fully combined. For a translucent effect, do a 1:1 ratio. For more opacity, do a 2:1 paint-to-water ratio. Stir thoroughly.

Distressing Technique (Optional):

Lightly sand the entire basket using the sandpaper to wear down the fibers. This will create an aged look when painted.

Applying the Whitewash:

Dip the brush into the whitewash mixture and gently brush it onto the basket in the direction of the wicker fibers. Work in sections and brush in long, smooth strokes. Apply a second, lighter coat for fuller coverage if desired.

Blending and Removing Excess:

While still wet, use a rag to blend the edges and remove any drips/puddles. Wipe across the grain to blend but don’t wipe completely clean.

Allowing to Cure:

Let the whitewashed basket air dry completely, 4-6 hours minimum. Avoid touching it as it dries.

Optional Clear Topcoat:

Once fully dry, a sealant like polyurethane or water-based varnish will protect the finish. Apply lightly with a brush.

Choosing Your Paint

white paint for wicker basket

There are two primary paint types recommended for whitewashing wicker baskets: spray paint and chalk paint. Both options will produce beautiful, vintage-inspired results, so choosing depends on your preferences and project needs.

Spray Paint is very easy to apply since it requires no brush cleaning between coats. The aerosol spray can also reach tight nooks and crannies that a brush cannot. It is best for projects done outdoors due to its fine mist spray. Lay down drop cloths to contain any overspray.

Chalk Paint yields a stunning distressed finish mimicking decades of wear when done right. It is fast-drying and washable, making it ideal for use indoors. The biggest benefits of chalk paint come from its ability to be diluted with water.

You can control the level of coverage and translucence by adjusting the paint-to-water ratio. A 1:1 mix will give a faded, lightly whitewashed look well suited to treasured baskets. For full coverage, infusing new life into a tired basket, go with a thicker 2:1 or 3:1 paint concentration.

By experimenting with ratios, you unlock versatility in achieving different charming patinas. You’ll be amazed how a subtle wash enhances natural texture while a more opaque coat revitalizes. Both spray paint and chalk paint expertly transformed by hand can make your baskets feel like lucky finds at the flea market!

whitewash a wicker basket

Whitewash a Wicker Basket Tips and Techniques

Play with Color

For a more rustic, weathered appearance, use light gray or tan latex paint instead of pure white. Off-white and pale shades will look more naturally aged.

Distress the Texture

Lightly sanding the woven fibers before painting will allow the whitewash to settle into the lines for a worn look. Use fine-grit sandpaper (100-150) to buff the surfaces.

Try Different BrushStyles

Experiment with chip brushes, stiff bristles, and soft bristles to achieve varied textures. Stiffer brushes pull and drag the paint for a worn hairline effect. Softer bristles yield a smoother blended tone.

Layer it On

For maximal weathering, apply two coats of whitewash, letting the first dry fully before adding the second. The top layer will peel and flake more convincingly over time.

Let it Crack

Once fully cured, whitewashed baskets left in direct sunlight will naturally develop fine cracks mimicking decades of exposure. This adds charming imperfections.

With practice and by following these tips, you can distress and antiquate wicker to look like a treasured family heirloom. Get creative and see what aging effects you can produce!

whitewashed wicker basket

A Fresh Start for Your Baskets

By now you’ve learned how simple whitewashing makes worn baskets new again. With just paint and elbow grease, you transform sad into special. You decide on faded or full coverage – both look vintage and last year.

Customize the look through paint types and techniques. Distress it or keep it smooth, the choice is yours. Take pride in making baskets your own through personal stories shown in the finish. Feel good reusing what others left behind.

I hope sharing these methods inspired you to refresh treasured pieces. Don’t forget to post before and after with Whitewashed Wicker! By fixing up what we have, we protect nature and wallets.

Whitewashing starts each basket down an artistic path. Watch patinas evolve from season to season while your skills grow too. Enjoy giving everyday areas that homemade charm. Your baskets are ready for more memories – can’t wait to see what’s next!