What Materials Is Wicker Made Out Of?

What Is Wicker?

The term “wicker” refers to a kind of weaving employed in manufacturing furniture. In fact, the technique of manufacturing wicker furniture was discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. Wicker that is manufactured from plants, grasses, and vines of various kinds is called natural wicker. As a result of the widespread usage of the rattan plant as a source of raw material, wicker furniture is also frequently referred to as rattan furniture. The most common locations for wicker furniture are outdoor spaces and homes designed in a coastal style.

Wicker is versatile enough to be utilized either indoors or outdoors. There are, however, certain distinctions in the materials utilized in the production process, which are based on the intended location of a particular piece of furniture.

Materials Used in Wicker

red apples in a wicker basket

Rattan, reed, willow, and bamboo are the four most common types of organic materials used in indoor wicker furniture construction. Rattan is the material that is most frequently seen being used indoors. 

This material is formed from a palm tree’s thin, flexible stem, which is easy to bend into various shapes (typically after heating the stem). Yet, it is still durable enough to be used in furniture production. 


Triumph Model H motorcycle with wicker sidecar

Rattan is frequently used not only for producing the outside surfaces of wicker furniture but also for constructing the frames around which the weave is constructed.


Bamboo is less flexible than rattan, but depending on the furniture style, this material can be a terrific alternative for creating one-of-a-kind appearances and sturdy frameworks. Bamboo is a renewable resource. 


Reed is created by stripping the pith from the center of rattan stems, and as a result, it retains the robust construction of the stem but has a paler hue. Willow is frequently utilized in the construction of woven baskets and other pieces of furniture and decor that are not necessary to support as much weight as rattan does.

It is not recommended to place outdoor furniture produced from these organic materials in direct exposure to damp or sunshine because this may hasten the process of disintegration. When natural materials are subjected to the weather, they have a greater tendency to dry out and tear.

The frames of outdoor wicker furniture, as opposed to interior wicker furniture, are often made of aluminum. This woven furniture is made with synthetic, sometimes man-made fibers. Aluminum, combined with synthetic vinyl and resins, gives the impression of wicker, but this combination of materials is far more resistant to the damaging effects of sunlight and rain when used for outdoor furniture.

History Of Wicker

a black and white image of women make wickerwork

As early as ancient Egypt, local “reed and swamp grasses” were used to make wicker, which has been confirmed to date back to that period. Families in the middle class could only afford a few key pieces, such as side tables or coffee tables. 

Nevertheless, when excavating the tombs of affluent pharaohs, researchers have found a wider variety of wicker items, such as “chests, baskets, wig boxes, and seats.” Wicker was even used on the battlefield by the Achaemenid Empire, specifically in the form of shields.

Ancient Egypt and Persia were both early adopters of wicker, which helped spread its popularity to ancient Rome. In Pompeii, goods were typically transported using baskets made of wicker. 

The Roman-style was characterized by the use of wicker for the construction of furniture. It has been hypothesized that the widespread application of wicker throughout the Iron Age (1200 BC to 400 AD in Europe) may have played a role in the evolution of the woven patterns utilized in Celtic art. 

In European countries like England, Portugal, and Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries, the use of wicker had reached a “very widespread” level.

The Technique of Weaving

a hot air balloon basket made from wicker, and people around it

Both organic and synthetic varieties of wicker furniture are woven using a procedure analogous to one another. However, the materials that are employed in the building process may differ. To create something consistent and robust, the material of choice is woven in an over-and-under pattern horizontally between the vertical strands. The interior and outdoor furniture will have the same wicker appearance due to this.

You also have the option of selecting from a variety of different weaves and styles. When looking for wicker furniture for your house, you will find modern and classic alternatives. These options can range from designs that feature pieces with straight, even lines to designs that feature designs with more curves and distinctive elements. Wicker is most commonly found in its natural or white finish, although it can also be found in various hues.

How to Take Care of Wicker Furniture

Just like rattan furniture needs proper care, wicker should also be used with care to last longer.  Even if your wicker furniture was constructed to be left outside, it still needs to be maintained properly to remain in good shape. 

When moisture is trapped inside tight weaves, it can contribute to mildew growth. To ensure that your furniture stays as dry as possible, wipe it down after it has been exposed to precipitation or dew.

The sun may have a role in the deterioration process; thus, it is ideal to position your outdoor wicker furniture in an area that is shielded from direct sunlight for most of the day. When certain kinds of wicker are overexposed to the sun, it can cause the material to splinter. 

Along with positioning your furniture in an area shielded from the elements, a huge umbrella can be of assistance in preserving the appearance and condition of your furnishings.

It is also important to pay attention to the cleanliness of wicker furniture. It is possible to maintain its like-new appearance for many years by giving it occasional touch-ups and replacing broken strands.

The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Use

There are pros and cons of using wicker furniture, just like the plus and minuses when using rattan furniture.

Several makers of wicker furniture for outdoor use vinyl and resins made from synthetic materials as an alternative to using organic materials. These solutions help prevent wicker furniture from deteriorating over time because items that are placed outside need to be able to survive variables such as dampness, sunlight, and dryness when used in different regions. Using organic and natural materials is preferable for more secure locations, such as an indoor setting.