Garden Bird Houses: A Sanctuary for My Feathered FriendsGarden Bird Houses: A Sanctuary for My Feathered Friends


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Garden Bird Houses: A Sanctuary for My Feathered Friends

I'm a dedicated nature lover. Anything I can do to ensure the well-being of my feathered friends makes me happy. Observing avian wildlife in my backyard is even better. This is why I own several birdhouses. My favorite is the acrylic birdhouse that clings to my French patio door. This birdie sanctuary is transparent and crystal clear. It allows me to view nesting birds without disturbing them. The themed birdhouses I've purchased at various garden stores and specialty shops add a splash of color and exciting decor to my yard. In my small collection are farmhouse themed birdhouses, nautical themes, colonial themes and even a birdhouse "mansion". As you can tell, these birdhouses bring me as much pleasure as their intended occupants. You might say these pieces are "for the birds", but I know they're more than that.

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How To Successfully Clean, Repair, And Repaint Wicker Patio Furniture

Outdoor wicker patio furniture that has become weathered and dirty can be restored and turned into a new-looking set. You only need to have the right tools, some patience, and extra time to turn them into attractive furniture pieces. Here are the steps you need to follow to handle the refurbishing of an old wicker furniture set.

Clean

The first step you need to take to restore your wicker furniture is to clean all dirt and cobwebs from its surface and crevices. Because wicker furniture has so many nooks and crannies, you may need to use several steps to completely clean your dirty wicker.

First, clean the wicker by vacuuming off any lose particles. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe off any dust and cobwebs remaining behind. Another great tool to clean dirt particles from within the wicker's crevices is an old paintbrush with all its bristled trimmed off except for a one-inch section. You can use this protrusion of bristles to dislodge items, such as dead spider bodies, old leaves, and any other debris that have become caught between the wicker pieces. 

If your wicker has a layer of old and peeling paint, use a pressure washer with a yellow or white nozzle tip to clean the surface. Depending on the age of your wicker, you may need to use the white nozzle if the wicker is brittle. The yellow tip will create a stronger spray and should only be used on sturdier wicker. Test a small underside spot on a one of your wicker pieces using the yellow tip on your pressure washer to make sure it is not going to damage your wicker. Then, use the pressure washer to clean the wicker from all sides. Allow the wicker furniture to dry completely in the sun, or indoors if the weather is rainy.

Repair

Occasionally, wrapped wicker straps can come loose on a piece of furniture and begin to unravel and fall apart. This damage is easy to repair: 

  1. Place the unraveled piece of wicker strap in a bucket of water until it has become pliable again. 
  2. Remove the pliable wicker strap from the water and dry it on a paper towel to remove excess water. 
  3. Wipe carpenter's glue over the section of furniture you will re-wrap with the loosened wicker strap. 
  4. Evenly wrap the strap around the piece of furniture, covering the glue. Use a push pin to secure the end piece of the strap onto the furniture while the glue dries.

If any of the wicker strands have come unwoven on your furniture, you can repair these as well: 

  1. Brush some contact cement over all sides of the pieces of loose strands. 
  2. Wrap and weave each strand back in place, then allow the cement to cure by following the directions on the container. 

The contact cement is a waterproof glue, so the weaves will stay in place, even after a rain storm.

Repaint 

If you choose to use spray paint on your now clean and repaired wicker furniture, make sure you protect yourself by following OSHA's recommendations. Wear protective eye glasses, a face mask or respirator, long sleeves, long pants, and gloves. Then, make sure you spray your furniture outside. Spray paint can contain VOCs, which can cause serious side effects, including headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea. Some long term effects of VOCs include cancer and damage to your liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

First, place the wicker furniture upside-down on top of a protective tarp or other material as you spray the underside. Allow the first coat to dry, then spray a second coat. Allow the second coat to dry, then turn the wicker piece right-side up and repeat this process by spraying two coats of paint, one at a time. After these have dried, continue the painting process until you no longer see any unpainted spots.

You can also paint wicker with a paintbrush and outdoor glossy paint. The glossy look to the paint gives the furniture a nice look, and by using a paint brush, you can apply a thicker coat. This process is more time-consuming than spray painting, but your wicker furniture will look nicer for longer once it has been repainted.

Use these steps to restore your old and weather-beaten wicker furniture. For more tips on maintenance, you may want to contact your outdoor furniture retailer.