Without fail, every time I visit my Grandma I leave with a trunk load of random goodies. That random assortment can be everything from Mini-Wheats and succulents, dog biscuits and curtains, to frozen perogis and 1960’s lights. And it’s almost always awesome/delish/nice to have.
One of my latest visits wasn’t much different; I’ve (and we’ve all) become adept at deflecting items that we don’t actually need for ourselves, but when I saw a wicker basket sitting behind her house, I claimed it as my own and smuggled it home for safe keeping.
“It’s just trash,” she told me “and it’s been sitting out here for a year, that’s not something you want.” But I did. I wanted it more than the glass top table she was counter-offering with. And so I took it.
Having survived last summer’s beating sun, the ice and snow of winter, and the rains of the springtime, it was still in surprisingly good shape with just a few frayed and snapped pieces. In fact, being naturally aged made it smoother and more attractive, kind of like a beach cottage’s weathered shingles. Wicker’s radical.
Pretty as it was, I still wanted to update it a little bit to make it my own, and I decided on adding silver accents to the base of the basket to make it shine, and make it look a little more modern.
After thoroughly washing it with dish soap and the hose sprayer’s JET setting, I used a simple brush to get in the crevices and applied leftover oil-based Rust-Oleum Aluminum paint to the wicker. Stationed in the breezy backyard and propped up on a cinderblock (a cinderblock that now permanently looks like it was wrapped in tin foil), I kept the wet paint from getting covered in grass and dirt. Working outdoors in the breeze kept the fumes moving too, making the job totally manageable and clean.
The initial intent was to paint the inside and outside only part way up for a color block effect, but once I got started I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, and considered painting the entire thing silver. Instead of going that far, I took the silver up a bit further, making the basket about 75% silver and keeping 25% natural weathered wicker.
The wicker-to-silver balance was finally starting to make me think differently about the piece; I liked it.
I’m still a huge fan of this aluminum paint; it’s concentrated enough to make anything it touches turn to silver including your hand and knee and that left butt cheek on your running shorts that you accidentally touched to the wet paint when you were leaning over to clean the brush. It’s also runny enough to flow into tight places, like where pieces of wicker overlap and are hard to wiggle a paintbrush into, and it never becomes the least bit gloppy.
The basket itself could serve many purposes; maybe eventually a real laundry basket (since based on its shape, that’s probably what it was used for originally), or maybe stuffed animals or extra pillows and blankets, but for now it has found a home beside our sliding glass door on the porch as a place where we can kick off our sandy and dirt-covered sandals all summer long.
It sits far enough beneath the eave that rain isn’t so much an issue unless it’s a northern-blowing wind. And it’s already sat outside in the weather for a year, so what’re a few more months.
How’ve you been making use of found treasures?