What is Wicker?- 10 Facts about Wicker Furniture

Introduction

Wicker furniture is a beautiful and popular choice for many homeowners, but what exactly is it? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at wicker, including its history, how it’s made, the materials used, and more. Whether you’re a fan of natural wicker or prefer the durability of synthetic materials, you’ll find everything you need to know about this versatile and timeless craft. So sit back, relax, and discover the world of wicker furniture.

What is wicker?

“Wicker” has two meanings. It can refer to the weaving technique used to create furniture and other crafts, or it can refer to the products made using this technique.


Wicker is a type of craft that involves weaving together different materials to create various products. The most common use of wicker is for furniture, which is created by weaving together materials such as rattan, willow, bamboo, or reed to form the desired shape.

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In addition to furniture, wicker can also be used to create baskets, storage containers, and other decorative items. The weaving technique used in wicker is a complex process that requires precision and attention to detail. It involves weaving strands of material over and under each other to create a tight and durable weave. Despite its intricacy, wicker is a popular choice for many people due to its natural and rustic look, as well as its durability and strength.

1 round wicker rattan table and 2 chairs of a natural colour
round wicker rattan table chairs

What is wicker made of?

Wicker furniture has a long history of being made from natural materials such as rattan, reed, willow, and bamboo. These materials were readily available and easy to work with, making them the ideal choice for making furniture. However, these natural materials have some limitations, especially when it comes to outdoor furniture. They can be prone to damage from the elements, and they require more maintenance than synthetic materials.


This is where synthetic wicker comes in. Made from materials such as vinyl and resin, synthetic wicker offers a more durable and weather-resistant option for outdoor furniture. It can withstand exposure to the sun, rain, and wind without becoming damaged or losing its colour. Additionally, synthetic wicker is less expensive than natural wicker, making it a popular choice for those looking for high-quality outdoor furniture without breaking the bank.


Despite its many advantages, some people still prefer the look and feel of natural wicker. It has a timeless quality that can add warmth and charm to any space. And with proper care, natural wicker furniture can last for many years. So whether you choose natural or synthetic wicker, you can rest assured that you are making a wise investment in your home and outdoor living space.

A handful of HDPE particles, a raw material for synthetic rattan.
HDPE, a raw material for synthetic rattan

Differences between Natural vs Outdoor Wicker

Natural wicker furniture is a beautiful addition to any indoor living space. However, it is important to note that natural wicker furniture is susceptible to moisture, which can cause damage and deterioration over time. Exposure to rain, snow, and direct sunlight can cause natural wicker to become dry and brittle, leading to easy breakage. Additionally, moisture can cause natural wicker to become mouldy and fade in colour. Due to these concerns, natural wicker is typically not recommended for outdoor use.


On the other hand, outdoor wicker furniture is designed to withstand the harsh outdoor environment. With its high durability, weather resistance, and colour-fastness, outdoor wicker furniture can be used in outdoor spaces for extended periods of time without any damage or deterioration. This makes it a great choice for those who want to enjoy the beauty and comfort of wicker furniture in their outdoor living spaces. Not only is outdoor wicker furniture practical and long-lasting, but it also adds a touch of elegance and style to any outdoor setting.

cosy brown natural wicker rattan sofa with soft cloth cushions in an indoor setting
natural wicker rattan sofa (Source: unsplash)

Are rattan and wicker the same thing?

There is a distinct difference between rattan and wicker. Rattan is derived from a tropical palm tree and is a natural material that is often used for homewares and furniture. On the other hand, wicker refers to a technique of weaving various materials such as rattan, bamboo, and cane, or synthetic materials such as resin. Wicker products are made by weaving these materials in a particular pattern, and the items produced using this technique are also known as wicker products.

Therefore, while rattan is a material used in making homewares and furniture, wicker is a technique of weaving or the name given to woven products.

Is wicker furniture eco-friendly?

Both natural and synthetic wicker materials have environmental benefits.
Natural wicker materials, such as rattan, reeds, and bamboo, are harvested from plants that are rapidly renewable and biodegradable. These plants can grow without pesticides, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint and other environmental impacts.


In addition to the natural wicker, synthetic wicker is also eco-friendly. One of the most commonly used raw materials, HDPE, is non-toxic and highly recyclable.
While PVC is another commonly used synthetic fibre in outdoor furniture, it is not as competitive as HDPE in terms of properties. This makes HDPE a more advanced material than PVC.


Overall, the use of natural and synthetic wicker materials in outdoor furniture is a great way to promote sustainability and protect the environment.

both synthetic and natural wicker rattan  products have a distrinct eco-style look.
synthetic wicker rattan dining set

Can wicker get wet?

Synthetic wicker is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability and resistance to water. On the other hand, natural wicker, although appealing due to its unique and intricate design, can be susceptible to damage caused by high humidity or exposure to moisture. In case your indoor wicker furniture or home decor gets wet, it is important to take them outside to dry in a well-ventilated area to avoid the growth of mould and mildew.

Additionally, it is recommended to clean and treat natural wicker with a protective coating to prolong its lifespan and maintain its aesthetic appeal. By doing so, you can enjoy the beauty and functionality of wicker furniture for years to come.

Will wicker furniture last outside?

Synthetic wicker is a great option for outdoor furniture as it is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. In fact, it lasts much longer than natural wicker which can get brittle or break easily if exposed to the elements for an extended period of time.

Additionally, synthetic wicker is made from materials that do not fade or discolour. So, it can retain its original appearance for many years. It is excellent for those who want to enjoy the beauty of wicker furniture. Another advantage of synthetic wicker is that it requires very little maintenance. Natural wicker requires regular cleaning and oiling to keep it looking good. Synthetic wicker, however, can be simply wiped down with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.

So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, long-lasting outdoor furniture option, synthetic wicker is definitely worth considering.

Rattan weave outdoor sofa, including 2 armchairs and 1 two-seater sofa, in a residential garden.
rattan weave outdoor sofa

Why does wicker furniture go mouldy?

Natural wicker is a popular material for furniture and decor due to its durability, lightweight, and aesthetic appeal.

However, it is important to note that wicker is a hygroscopic material, meaning it can absorb moisture from the surrounding environment. Over time, this can lead to the growth of mould on the surface of wicker products, which not only look unsightly but can also produce an unpleasant odour.


To effectively remove mould from wicker, there are a few steps you can take.

Firstly, it is important to wear protective gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling any harmful spores.

Next, you can make a solution using either ammonia or bleach, both of which are effective in tackling mould.

Once you have your solution ready, spray it onto the affected areas of the wicker and let it sit for a few minutes.

Then, using a clean and damp sponge, gently scrub the surface of the wicker until the mould spots disappear.

Finally, rinse the wicker thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely before using it again.


In addition to removing mould, it is also important to prevent it from growing in the first place. This can be achieved by keeping wicker products in a well-ventilated area, using a dehumidifier to reduce excess moisture in the air, and wiping down wicker regularly with a dry cloth to remove any surface dust or dirt that could contribute to mould growth.

wiping rattan with a cloth, a daily maintenance routine
wiping rattan daily maintenance

How do you repair wicker furniture?

Repairing wicker furniture can be a DIY project, depending on the extent of the damage. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clean the furniture: Before beginning any repairs, make sure the furniture is clean and dry. Use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any dust or debris.
  2. Assess the damage: Look closely at the damaged area and determine the extent of the damage. If it’s a small area, it may be possible to repair it using simple techniques. If the damage is extensive, it may be necessary to replace the entire piece.
  3. Repair small areas: If the damage is minor, you can use a small paintbrush to apply wood glue to the broken area. Press the broken pieces together and hold them in place with a clamp or tape until the glue dries. Once the glue is dry, you can sand down any rough edges and apply a coat of paint or varnish to match the rest of the furniture.
  4. Replace damaged areas: If the damage is too extensive to repair, you may need to replace the damaged area. To do this, carefully remove the damaged section using a small saw or knife. Cut a new piece of wicker to fit the hole, making sure it’s slightly larger than the hole. Soak the new piece of wicker in water for a few minutes to make it more pliable, and then weave it into place.
  5. Finish the repair: Once the new piece of wicker is in place, use wood glue to secure it to the rest of the furniture. Let the glue dry completely, and then use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth down any rough edges. Finally, apply a coat of paint or varnish to match the rest of the furniture.
    By following these steps, you can repair your wicker furniture and extend its lifespan. However, if the damage is too extensive or you’re unsure about the repair process, it’s always best to consult a professional.
A worker is repairing loose rattan ends with a custom stapler at a workshop.
repairing loose rattan ends

LTR: Your PE Rattan Supplier

About Us

LTR has been a leader in the production of PE rattan material since 1993. With our base located in Guangdong, China, we are proud to be one of the largest suppliers of PE rattan and PS plastic wood materials in South China. Our brand stands out from others in the industry due to our commitment to excellent products and unparalleled customer service. We believe in innovation and making a difference, rather than simply settling for the status quo. Our mission at LTR is to provide our customers with the highest quality outdoor furniture materials available on the market.


In order to achieve this mission, we have invested heavily in research and development to continuously improve the quality of our products. We continue to explore new technologies and materials to ensure that our customers receive only the best. Our team of experts is dedicated to ensuring that every product meets our high standards of quality and performance.

Our Services


At LTR, we believe that our customers are our partners. As such, we strive to build long-term relationships with each and every one of them. We are committed to providing personalized service and support to help our customers achieve their goals. Whether you are a small business owner or a large corporation, we are here to help you succeed.


In addition to our commitment to quality and customer service, we are also dedicated to sustainability. We believe in protecting the environment and minimizing our impact on the planet. That’s why we use only eco-friendly materials in our production process and strive to reduce our carbon footprint.


When you choose LTR, you are choosing a company that is committed to excellence in every aspect of our business. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals and provide you with the best outdoor furniture materials on the market.

Leisure Touch Rattan Co.'s rattan produciton workshop. A large roll of brown PE plastic rattan is spinning at the end of a production line.
LTR rattan production workshop

Conclusion

Wicker furniture is a beautiful and versatile craft that has been used for centuries. Whether you prefer natural or synthetic wicker, there are many options available that can suit your needs and style preferences. With proper care and maintenance, wicker furniture can last for many years and provide comfort and elegance to any indoor or outdoor living space. So whether you are looking for a new addition to your living room or want to create a cosy outdoor retreat, wicker furniture is definitely worth considering.

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