DESIGN SCHOOL : CANE DOORS
You all blew me away with the response to my crazy idea for Laundry Doors!! Today, as promised, I am going to walk you through MY technique for the art of caning. I say MY technique only because this is the way I did it, and probably not the official text book way to cane furniture! But the end result is something that I am 100% in love with so here we go…
Some sort of frame… A door frame in my case.
(FYI this was one of the many tutorials I referenced to build my own door frames.)
Large Tub of Water
Staple Gun (with Staples!)
Needle Nose Pliers or a Small Flathead Screwdriver
Small Flat Trim Piece
I have upholstered a lot of things in my day. Some more successful than others. So I just assumed that this would be similar to any other upholstery project. The cane webbing would arrive and I would just staple it to the back of the frame. Well, that I almost how it went… But there is one important step you have to do first. Soak it in water!!
Thats right. You have to fully submerge the cane webbing in water for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will make the material a little more pliable and allows you to lay it flat when attaching to your frame. As the material dries, it naturally tightens up. So no need to pull crazy tight!! Just pull as tight as you can & know that it will tighten even more in the end. So go ahead and make your life easier and pre cut your panels before you soak. Allow yourself an additional 2″+ of cane around your opening to provide space for you to be able to pull the material and staple. You will be trimming this off later.
After it has soaked, it is time to apply! Note, the cane was applied on my doors to the back of the door frame. I like to apply my first staple in the center of one of the four sides, and then my next staple centered on the opposite side. Pulling tight each way to ensure the end product is flat. Continue around until you have stapled the entire perimeter of the opening. If you mess up, use your needle nose pliers or small screwdriver to pry up any staples. Just make sure you are careful as to not pull any of the cane with it.
While still damp and pliable, go ahead and trim around your cane webbing. Knowing that it will still shrink a bit… You can wait until dry, but know that it will end up curling a little and it makes it a little tricky to trim.
You can see the difference in color on the cane webbing. The top panel was applied and almost dry by the time I was complete. The bottom panel is fresh out of the bath and therefore a little darker.
Once all the panels are applied, I let them dry for a good 24 hours before finishing off the back of the doors. I picked up some flat trim that was roughly around 1/4″ x 1″. This covered up my ragged edges and staples. I went around the staples with my handy upholstery hammer (but you could use any hammer!) and game them each a couple of good taps to ensure the staples were in as flat as they could be and then placed my trim pieces on top. I tapped them in using some small finishing nails. Tapping them in just past the top of the wood using a nail punch so I could cover them with some wood filler and sand down later. Please note that there will be a gap where your cane is sandwiched in between the door and the new trim piece. I couldn’t find a way to get it completely flush. I solved this by applying some Trim Caulk around all of the outside edges once complete.
After the caulk was applied and the wood filler was dry and sanded, I primed and painted my doors being sure to not get any paint on the cane. The cane will naturally age and darken over the years. Some people have had success staining cane, but as it comes with a naturally ever so slightly shiny surface you would have to sand that down a bit for any stain to take. The thought of sanding down such an already thin surface made me worry about the integrity of the product down the line. I love the natural tone and am excited to let it get even more beautiful with age.
For the DIY hardware, I followed this genius tutorial by one of my best friends, Grace Mitchell. She has a new show on HGTV by the way!! One of a Kind on Monday Nights!!! Be sure to tune into watch her brilliance.