Painting cane is not that different to painting any other type of wooden surface. The first thing that you will need to do is to prepare the surface for the new paint finish.
You will therefore need to remove any flaking existing paint, rub down and key the surface. It is a good idea to undertake this process on a test area first, preferably in an inconspicuous spot. You can remove the flaky paintwork with a soft brass or wire brush, and then light sand of the rough edges so that they blend in with the rest of the piece.
Before you begin to paint, you must apply at least two layers of oil based wood primer. If you skip this step then the paint will absorb into the wood, providing an ugly looking finish. Primer is especially important if you are altering the piece from a light to dark colour, as the colours may otherwise mix.
Some paints are not compatible with each other. When mixed with a new, different, type, an old layer of paint can sometimes change colour, crack or even curdle. In the very worst case scenario, mixing two different types of paint can even cause glue joints to loosen.
The fibres within cane furniture are flexible and often move as the material ages. This can cause paint to crack and flake, as it loses its grip on the fibres. The problem can get worse if your furniture is regularly exposed to damp or rainy conditions, as the paint can trap moisture.
Even though it is very difficult to see, microscopic cracks allow the fibres of the piece to absorb water. The pain then causes this water to be held within the fibres, as it cannot escape. This allows the fibre to weaken and change. To avoid such effects, simply ensure that your furniture dries thoroughly.
Once your furniture has been painted, it is essential that you keep it in good condition by cleaning regularly.
Begin by using a soft brush and a vacuum to remove any loose dirt or dust. Then use a damp cloth dipped in warm water, along with a soft bristled brush to clean the surface. You should always be sure to work on small areas at a time, letting them dry thoroughly before continuing to clean the rest of the piece.
If your wicker is excessively dirty, you should apply several light cleanings, allowing the piece to dry in between these cleanings. This is because if you clean with an excessive amount of water, you risk warping the fibres.