Upgrade Your Boring Old Furniture With Reed Webbing

Rattan is a natural material made from trees of the palm family, from which reed netting is woven for furniture. The best in rattan? Using it to update furniture can give you a sexy 70s vibe or a vintage boho look without spending a lot of money.

How to choose the right rattan for your furniture

There are four main types of rattan mesh available: tight weave, open weave, radio weave and open weave. Each style has a different texture and appearance, so you can choose the one that works best for your project. You can buy ready-made rattan rattan on a roll from furniture suppliers, and it comes in a variety of widths for different applications.

Typical use of the reed webbing

Reed mesh can be used by stretching it through holes in cabinet doors or drawer fronts, or by attaching it to the surface of your furniture. Rattan is stiffer than most of the upholstery, and when stretched tightly, it can be used as a load-bearing chair seat or small table top. By itself, it is not structural in larger applications – more than two feet across – because it is too flexible, so do not use it on a large scale without additional support.

Choose the right tools (and how to prepare your rattan)

For best results, soak the mesh in warm water for 30 minutes before stretching, unless you intend to stick it to a flat surface. This will help your woven mesh learn to stretch as it dries. Besides the rattan, you will also need a pencil, wood glue, scissors, a stapler, and a rubber mallet.

How to upgrade your rattan countertop

For a quick renovation, a table with a ledge on the edge can be remodeled with glue, dry reed mesh and scissors. A lip will complete the trimmed edge of the rattan without any additional detail. If there is no overhang on your table, you can glue strands of cane material around the edge of the braid to finish off the open strands.

First, place the mesh on the top table and draw a pencil around the inner edge of the lip. Then make an incision along your line. Glue the inside edge of the table edge with wood glue and press down on the rattan. Weight it around the edges with water bottles, cans, or other raised household items.

Be sure to wipe off excess glue before placing the weights, and do not use books or other objects that could be permanently damaged if you put a little glue on them. Once the glue is dry, you can remove the weights and use the table.

How to freshen up boring slat doors in reed mesh doors

To freshen up some old cabinet doors with lamellas, they can be replaced with reed mesh. Start by removing the old planks by drilling a few holes in the center of each plank and breaking them down the middle, then pulling out the planks on each side of the channel. You can achieve similar results by cutting off the middle of the plank with a saw, but I personally like to break things with a hammer from time to time.

After you remove the planks, you should have doors with open frames that you can replace with rattan. At the back of the door, measure the presoaked mesh about an inch larger than the opening in the door and cut it out. Glue the edge of the back of the opening. Then staple the rattan every two inches from the middle of the top of the frame while keeping the mesh running. Repeat this step along the bottom edge and then along the sides. Fill in every open panel of your door and you have a reed mesh cabinet door instead of a lattice one.

Play with lots of rattan possibilities

Once you’ve mastered the art of stringing, the possibilities are endless. Keep in mind that the hardest part is pulling the strap tight enough so that it retains its shape over time, and positioning the braid so that it is straight up and down when you’re done. The tape will stretch as it dries if you soak it first, so this process will help. If you are working with a dry cane, it will be less pliable, so weights or clamps will be needed to maintain its shape while the glue dries.

By using these basic steps, you can breathe new life into your regular or old furniture, while saving you the expense and hassle of going to a furniture store.

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