When I started thinking about our master bathroom makeover, I wanted to change the vanity. Not that it was not good, but I wanted something with more character and warmth instead of the pure white one we had.

After searching for a while, I came to the decision that I will try to upcycle it instead. Most of the ones I wanted were over $6,000 and I did not want to invest this kind of budget knowing that what we had was still good.

So, after looking for more inspiration on Pinterest, my initial thoughts were to have fluted vanity facings. But I decided to go with cane webbing. It’s a material that I love, natural (made from the skin of the rattan plant), a classic, it gives the retro feel I was trying to achieve while being modern since it’s still very much on trend – not that I necessarily follow trends, but I love it! it’s also a material that is strong yet delicate, and this kind of duality in materials and pieces I choose is something I love!

With all the other materials and finishes I had in the bathroom, I decided to paint the vanity as well and change the hardware to something smaller and more subtle so the focus remains on the look of the cane webbing.

There are two most popular kinds of cane webbing… the hexagonal and the radio weave, the latter being more tightly woven. Because I did not want things to be seen through the webbing, I opted for the radio design. Cane is also strong, making it a durable material. It can be stained or painted, but in this case I decided to keep its natural color.

So, what are the tips and tricks to use cane?

Well, to start with, cane needs to be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes to make it malleable and easy to work with. Also, cane tightens when it dries, so soaking it ensure you will have a tight, well-stretched piece when you’re done. I usually tap it dry lightly with a rag or towel so it doesn’t drip.

The second important tip is to ensure you cut about 1-2 inches longer on all sides than what you need to cover your surface. This will be used to secure the cane in place properly and cover all your surface.

The third tip when using cane is to glue or staple once you cut it. Since it can easily fray when cut, it’s important to secure the edges with glue or staples. For the bathroom vanity, I used a different technique that holds the cane even better, and has a more finished look on the inside.

I started by measuring the surface I wanted to cover with cane and bought the quantity I needed, plus some extra to account for any potential damage along the way or loss with the cuts.

Then, using a router, I cut the parts of the doors and drawers I wanted to cover with cane. I made sure the inside edges were all round since I wanted a softer look. On the inside, we cut a groove about 1/2 inch around the part that was cut off, ensuring it didn’t go through the facings.

I also wanted to change the hardware from handles to small knobs, so I used wood filler to fill the old hardware holes, sanded lightly and was ready for the next step.

Then I primed the vanity inside out as well as all the doors and drawer fronts with a water base primer & sealer. Next, I painted two coats with Benjamin Moore Creamy White in satin finish. And only when everything was completely dry, I started working with the cane.

So after the soaking, I cut all the pieces I needed to cover a little more than the surface as previously mentioned. I placed them on top of the surface to be covered, put some wood glue into the groove and inserted the edges of the cane into the groove.

This technique uses of a spline to hold the cane in place and provide a more finished look on the inside. Since I did not have any spline handy, I went with a 1/4″ wood dowels that I cut to the length of each grove and inserted it after the cane and glue. This worked perfectly and the cane was well stretched over all the facings when dried.

When done, you just need to cut off the excess cane on all sides with a cutter.

I finished everything by adding the new hardware that I spray painted black with Rustoleum Matte Black spray paint because they were only available in gold.

Where do you find cane?

I got this question a lot while sharing the progress of this project on Instagram. You can find them on Amazon, on Etsy and even Lee Valley if you’re from Montreal. I got mine from an Etsy seller who happens to be in Montreal, so I was able to go pick them up and move faster.

All in all, I have no regrets at all transforming this vanity with cane. It’s such a timeless material that adds both warmth and character. Coupled with the wood beam that we added above the window and the antique decor pieces I have as well as the modern look of the rest of the bathroom, it turned out just as I had hope it would. I love it!!! and would redo it anytime!

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