While the prices at mass-market decorating stores are unbeatable, sometimes the wares can seem a little too mass-produced. I love the sturdiness and size of these baskets, but the lacquer finish was too shiny for my taste. So I created instant personality by artificially aging the baskets with brown paint. Using a few different dark colours with the same process will give more depth and character, and you'll find this easy technique works on almost any type of wicker.
Baskets; fine-grit sandpaper; track cloth; a medium-size paintbrush; Behr's Chocolate Sparkle (770B-70) and/or variations thereof; rags; and clear varnish or glaze, if desired.
1 Lightly sand the baskets to roughen the surface. Wipe them off thoroughly using the tack cloth.
2 Apply a semithick coat of paint, then randomly dap it off with a rag. Don't try for precision or symmetry with you're removing the paint - the more slapdash it looks, the better. You can even sand the baskets a little after rubbing off paint for more interest and depth.
3 Let the paint dry completely. If you like, brush on a coat of clear varnish or glaze to seal the finish and prevent it from fading or rubbing off.
TIP: This technique can be used to age all sorts of art and accessories. Also try using other products to age, such as Old English scratch and dent polish, artist's oil paints, and wood stains. Just be sure to put a sealer on the finished product.
Excerpted from Doug's Rooms by Douglas Wilson Copyright © 2004 by Douglas L. Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.