…painting cane tutorial

Hi Friends.

So, I had 2 new clients bring me cane pieces to refinish and as I was working on them I thought it may be helpful to do another, short tutorial on what I found to work when refinishing a textured surface like cane. There actually is a technique to it because if you go to heavy with your paint, you run the risk of ruining the piece.

Here’s what I started out with:


A local interior designer, Caroline McCandish, brought these over for me to refinish for one of her clients. Gorgeous chairs!



And another new client brought over these twin headboards she found on eBay! I know, I was jealous too:)

A few things I’d like to point out when painting cane.

1. Start with the extremities; the solid wood/legs/arms/etc.

2. Use a smaller brush

3. Wipe paint after dipping

4. Work in a very light, circular motion so as not to let your paint clump.

If you put on too much paint what will happen is that all those little holes will fill and the lines/crevices will fill. You will take away from the texture, consistency and overal look of the piece. You want to work lightly and do a few coats for coverage. You want to keep the lines while covering them with your paint. Go slowly & deliberately.


IMG_1716This is after the first coat. You will notice some brown places if you look closely. Let dry and go back in for another coat, working in your circular motion.



The coverage really depends on your taste and/or your client’s taste.

Here is the video tutorial. Hope it is helpful. PS – Thank you to all my friends/reader that have stuck up for me on YouTube. Most people are lovely, but there are a few haters of chalk paint that somehow still watch my work & feel the need to yell at me 🙁



  1. There will always be haters. They are envious of your talent, creativity and tenacity in building a successful business. They feel frustrated because they feel they can’t do the same or don’t know how to. Those feelings are ok I think … I’m envious too. The difference is how people channel that envy. Some, for whatever reason can only seem to focus that emotion in a negative way, through hateful comments. For me and others like me, we just seem to deal with envy more positively, I can be envious and happy for you, admire your work etc and try to absorb as much information as I can so that I can recreate the look on my own and enjoy my own achievements. I often wonder, if the people that put so much energy into negativity and hatefulness, channel that energy into something positive, what they could achieve. I’m going to leave you one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite cheesey films …. ” when life makes you deal with mean and hateful people think of them as sand paper they may scratch you they may rub you in the wrong way but eventually you will polished and smooth and the sandpaper will be worn out and ugly”. Keep up with the great work, ignore the haters, remember those you inspire.

  2. Dorthey says:

    Good grief! I fail to see how one could write such negative things about someone who is so generous with her knowledge and experience. Your tutorials have been so helpful. Please don’t be let the detractors bring you down. I find you refreshing and I am so happy for your success Good for you! You have obviously worked hard to obtain it.

  3. Melanie says:

    Thank you for the tutorial, I found it very informative. I am a residential painter and am just starting to dabble with chalk paint. I have a vintage cained chair that I have been thinking of painting and now I have the information that will help me do so 🙂 thanks!!

  4. Totally agree. You are talented and to be admired for what you have accomplished, especially with the other responsibilities you have


  5. Christin thank you so much for posting this video…it was so very clear and easy to understand! My daughter had purchased a cane chair from our local thrift shop…it has been sitting in our garage for almost one yr. I can’t wait to make it into my very first chalk paint project. This tutorial gave me the confidence I needed to get started. Thanks again! Susan

  6. I am right with the other two commenters. You are a beautiful, talented and fun human being. I love reading your blog as it makes me smile and feel like it inspires me to be creative and explore possibilities in my life. You are a truly engaging person. People with personality disorders like the people who leave nasty comments are the losers as they have no beautiful energy like you. Have a happy day from an avid follower in New Zealand!

  7. Thanks Christen…perfect timing for me. I was just about to start on a cane piece. I’m sure you’ve saved me a lot of trouble had I been a little “heavy handed” with my paint!
    I always enjoy seeing a new video from you!

    Happy Summer 🙂

  8. Hi Christen, I started following you not so long ago. I found you when searching methods for using Annie Sloan’s chalk paints and waxes…and I just wanted to say I simply ‘clicked’ with your video tutorials…they made sense to me! Also very real and honest, thank you, Rachael xx

  9. Diane Burke says:

    Love all the furniture that you refinish I Am new to chalk paint but you have really helped me, love it when there is a new video! You are so talented don’t listen to the haters Diane Burke Tinley Pk. Il

  10. Dorthey says:

    I do not understand how one anyone can be so critical of someone who has been so generous with her talent, knowledge and experience. Your videos have been so helpful! I am so happy for your success. It is obvious you have worked very hard for it. Continued success!!

  11. Angie Anzalone says:

    Hi Christen, I love your blog, painting techniques, decorating style, and your adorable personality! Your home is drop dead gorgeous and I love love your taste in home decorating!! I have followed your blog for a while now and wish I lived in Virginia!! I’m in the Midwest and hope to come to Lucketts next spring, but not without a trailer hooked on to the back of my SUV! I’ll need my hubby to drive though, as I’ve never pulled a trailer;). Anyway, I am soooo excited to see this tutorial on cane. My mother gave me two chairs almost identical to your clients and I’ve been dying to paint them with ASCP. Thank you so much for your wonderful approach to teaching us beginners! You are such an inspiration! Love your work…keep it up and ignore those haters!!
    Much continued success to you!
    Angie Anzalone

  12. JudyMae says:

    I just started following you here and on YouTube you so I have no idea what the haters have said or done. But I cannot imagine anyone hating on you. Not only is your work gorgeous but you even share with us how you accomplish it. How great is that?!!! Love the quote from the movie. Just keep doing what you do. You obviously love it.

  13. Christen love your work, awesome and tutorial very informative! (those 3 shutters in the living room- put hinges on them make a screen!)

  14. Hi Christen

    Your videos were some of the first ones I watched a few months ago. Very good, thanks.
    I just got a cane chair I am going to paint. Do you need to wax the cane as well? If yes, how would you do it?

  15. Hi there, Im wondering, do you wax the cane afterwards?

  16. Also….LOVE your videos, been using them for years! THANK YOU

  17. Hi Christen

    Thanks for the video and info on how to paint cane with ASCP. Wondering…if I don’t want to use chalk paint and if I desire a more refined look versus the shabby chic/antique look of chalk paint, would I be better off applying paint to cane by spraying? I just don’t know if spraying will get get into the nooks and crannies of cane, but on the other hand spraying will provide a light even application and hopefully avoid the clumping risk if I do multiple light applications. Anyone with experience spraying cane, any sharing of advice is appreciated.

  18. David Ward says:

    What a truly lovely lady!
    Thank you so much for sharing you talent and knowledge. I have two very similar chairs and I am definitely going to try out your technique xxx

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