New This Month


Decorative Painting on Wicker

Source: Martha Stewart


Mark Uriu, expert colorist and decorative painter, showed us how to create a faux bamboo look by using a painted glaze finish on a wicker table, emphasizing that proper preparation is essential for achieving lasting results with any type of finish.


  • Sandpaper

  • Primer

  • Paintbrush

  • Base paint color (earth-toned satin finish)

  • Artist's oil colors

  • Oil-base satin varnish


  1. Thoroughly sand the table, then paint with a primer; skipping this can mean an uneven finish and peeling paint. After the table is sanded and primed, select and mix the base color.

    Tip: Since Mark is recreating the look of bamboo, he will first paint with an earth-toned satin finish, then apply a layer of glaze on top of that. As a result, the base color will show through a tinted, translucent top layer. To select the right base color, Mark recommends examining the color you are trying to match, then choosing a similar but somewhat paler and brighter shade. Since bamboo appears to have a yellow shade beneath a darker brown, the paint should match that yellow. Mark notes that earth tones, such as yellow ocher, are good for creating bamboo and faux-wood finishes because they look the most natural. He applies two coats of the satin-finish base coat to seal the surface and keep the glaze from soaking in.

  2. After the base paint is dry, prepare the glaze. To achieve a glossy, translucent finish, mix artist's oil colors (powdered pigments ground in linseed or poppy-seed oil) with an oil-base satin varnish.

    Tip: Mark chooses the natural tones of raw umber, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna to match the bamboo. He then adds a bit of commercial glazing liquid. Since the base color is dry, Mark tests the color of the glaze right on the surface of the wicker, wiping it off before it dries. He adjusts the pigments until he is satisfied with the color.

    When applying glaze, start at a point where there is a clear joint or marking, so that you don't overlap when you get back to the starting point. Mark says it's important to keep the edge of your working area wet -- this is called the wet edge -- to avoid an obvious line where the glaze dries.

  3. Once glazing is complete, allow it to dry overnight, so it can harden thoroughly. You can then apply darker colors to accent certain areas of the piece. After the piece is finished and completely dry, add a layer of varnish for extra sheen and durability.

Reviews Add a comment