Rattan can be wrapped around almost any kind of material, including other rattan when rattan furniture is being made. Usually the small rattan strips are used to provide a grip or as a decorative element. The process of wrapping rattan is simple and easy to understand. Working with rattan does take some practice and knife skills. The finished results can look quite attractive and will remain in place for a long time.
Things You'll Need
Locate rattan wrapping strips. Rattan is a solid wood that is a relative of the palm tree family. It grows in long, vine-like strands. Sections of the cane are harvested and thin strips are mechanically removed from the outer surface. These strips have a rounded hard side and a flat inner side. This type of strip is used for wrapping.
Measure each strip for length. Coil the rattan into a small bundle and hold it together with a twist tie. Place a piece of tape on the bundle with the length measurement.
Soak the coils in hot to warm water for 30 minutes to soften the rattan. Wrap the softened rattan around a plastic pipe the circumference of the real object you want to wrap. The plastic pipe will allow the rattan to dry more quickly than a wooden dowel would.
Lay the first strip so that the flat underside of the end is upward on a cutting mat. Starting one-half inch from the end, use the flat edge of an artist knife to cut the rattan in a taper so that the rattan goes from thick to thin at the end. This taper technique is used for ends and splices.
Place the end of the rattan onto the object you want to wrap. In this example, the object is a cork handle. Position the rattan at a slight angle to the end of the handle. Draw the shape of the last (tapered) one-half inch of the rattan onto the soft wood. Carve out the wood to allow you to recess the rattan using the knife.
Apply super glue to the underside of the rattan and press the tapered end into the recessed area of the cork. If you are wrapping bamboo or a hard surface, you will not be able to carve a gouge; instead, tuck the taper under the first wrapping row at a slight angle.
Glue the underside of the rattan one inch at a time and press the rattan around the object, keeping the rattan straight and touching at the sides. Continue until you are 6 inches from a splice. Taper both ends of the rattan. Glue the old tapered end down first, glue the new rattan end so that the overlap is the same thickness as the regular rattan. Continue in this way until you are near the end of the wrapping.
Wrap the end of the rattan to see where the wrap should finish. Keep in mind that the last few inches will taper in the width of the rattan. Place the last 6 inches of rattan on the cutting mat. Use a metal straight edge held firmly over the rattan along its length and make a cut that narrows the rattan from standard width to a point. Glue this remaining rattan in place on the object. When working with a soft wood like a cork handle, you can cut gouges for each splice and along the end as needed to help hide the end of the rattan.
Decorate the rattan by gluing colored thread between the rattan strips. Use a toothpick to help manage the super glue as you work.