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How to Restore Bamboo Furniture (Protect + Repair Rattan)

Learn how to restore bamboo furniture that has been damaged by sun and rain. Repair rattan furniture – and protect it – for outdoor use!

Do you own bamboo or rattan furniture that has seen better days? Today, I’ll show you how to restore bamboo and repair rattan… and how to keep it that way, too!

Last year I found a set of 3 stackable bamboo side tables at a thrift store for less than $40. Sold! The set was on my deck – and holding a refreshing drink – by later that afternoon. Unfortunately, I didn’t take good care of my set… and they were in poor shape by late summer.

How to Restore Bamboo Furniture (Repair Rattan)

Disclosure: This page includes affiliate links.

 

What’s the Difference? Bamboo vs. Rattan

You might be wondering (I know I was!) what is the difference between bamboo and rattan? How can I tell which type of furniture I own?

Bamboo is hollow, while rattan is solid. Both materials have horizontal markings which makes them very similar in terms of the overall furniture design.

Luckily, this tutorial works for both bamboo and rattan furniture. So, even if you aren’t sure which material you own, you can still restore the furniture back to it’s original beauty!

back porch, deck, with neutral sectional and vintage bamboo tables

You might also like: How to Decorate a Porch on a Budget

Restoring Binder Cane

Binder cane – on the other hand – is not quite as easy to restore. The binder cane does not sand well, because it breaks easily.

What is binder cane? Binder cane is the caning which is wrapped around bamboo or rattan furniture joints.

In order to restore binder cane, you have several options:

  • replace the worn cane with new binder cane,
  • delicately (and patiently!) sand the worn binder cane, or
  • paint the binder cane.

For this tutorial, I use the third option: paint the binder cane. I’m not at all patient when it comes to projects like this… so the second was certainly not an option.

Repair rattan furniture that has been damaged by weather

How to Repair Rattan Furniture (Restore Bamboo)

Refinishing rattan furniture isn’t a quick fix. Expect to spend several hours on each piece. It requires time to sand adequately and taping around caning is tedious. However, it’s an affordable method to get a “like new” furniture set.

How to Repair Rattan Furniture (Restore Bamboo Furniture)

How to Repair Rattan Furniture (Restore Bamboo Furniture)

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Learn how to restore bamboo furniture that has been damaged by sun and rain. Repair rattan furniture - and protect it - for outdoor use!

Materials

Tools

Instructions

  1. Wash the bamboo or rattan furniture with dish soap and water. bamboo furniture damaged from rain and sun, how to repair rattan
  2. Once dry, sand down the glossy finish. Also, sand off any hard-to-remove dirt or grime that wasn't cleaned in step #1. sand bamboo furniture, how to repair rattan
  3. Next, cut off any loose binder cane with scissors. cut binder cane, how to repair bamboo
  4. Once the loose pieces are removed, apply painter's tape around the binder cane.
  5. Paint the binder cane in a durable paint, such as exterior paint or door and trim paint. paint binder cane, how to repair bamboo
  6. Once the paint is dry to the touch, use a utility knife to cut between the painter's tape and cane. Peel off the painter's tape.
  7. Let paint dry 24 hours.
  8. Finally, wax the entire piece to restore the natural wood/cane and to protect the finish. wax binder cane, how to restore bamboo furniture

Protect Bamboo and Rattan Exterior Furniture

Once you’ve completed all of that hard work, make sure to protect rattan furniture. Last year, we bought outdoor furniture covers and were incredibly pleased with the quality (see my full review). It only made sense to buy furniture covers for our bamboo side tables from the same brand.

outdoor furniture covers handle

Like this exterior DIY project? Pin it to save it!

How to Repair Rattan Furniture (Restore Bamboo)

Janet

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I don't want to paint my antique cane chair seats. How can I restore the work down seats?

Lora Green

Friday 1st of October 2021

Hi Janet! I always love an antique cane chair! Try a light sanding followed with the wood conditioner recommended in this post. That will give them a fresh finish without paint.

Stephanie

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

What kind of wax did you use on the bamboo & rattan? Thank you

Lora Green

Sunday 23rd of May 2021

This beeswax furniture polish - https://amzn.to/34aaUL8 (affiliate link)

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