Refinished Cane Bed Tutorial

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How to refinish and add cane to a bed.  #canefurniture #canewebbing #refinishingfurniture #serenaandlily #potterybarn

Refinished Cane Bed Tutorial – A Serena & Lily Dupe

For the longest time, I have wanted the Harbour Cane Bed from Serena & Lily for our guest room. Unfortunately, that particular bed was not in my budget, so I set out to make my own. I don’t consider myself savvy enough to construct my own bed, so I started scouring the internet for a bed that I could refinish, apply cane, and call it a dupe! Here’s how I did it.

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Finding the Perfect Bed for a Refinished Cane Bed

Week after week, I went to all of the local consignment and thrift stores, looking for the perfect bed to makeover. I searched Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace daily. I finally put out an “In Search of” post on our local Facebook mom group and a local person sold this bed to me for $50.

A gorgeous dark wood bed complete with a bedframe, headboard and footboard. This bed is perfect for my DIY cane bed makeover.

When searching for the perfect bed to refinish, it needed to meet these criteria:

  • Complete bed set including a headboard, footboard, and side rails.
  • Rectangular shaped headboard and footboard with minimal details.
  • Cutouts or flat spaces where cane would sit.
  • Constructed of real wood or the ability to strip the finish.
  • Price tag less than $50.

How to Make a DIY Cane Bed: Step-by-Step Instructions


Step 1: Removing Old Wood Stain

Part I – Refinishing Items Needed

  • Rags (you will need several rags)
  • Cheap paintbrush
  • Appropriate protective gear (per instructions on products used)
  • Water bucket
  • Soft brush or sponge
  • Saran or cling wrap
  • Citristrip
  • Plastic scraper or plastic putty knife
  • Small wastebasket for stripping waste
  • Klean-Strip After Wash
  • Clorox Splashless Bleach

Part 1 – Refinishing Instructions

  • Step 1: Using a paintbrush, paint on a thick layer of Citristrip.  Work in sections and cover with Saran Wrap.  Start by letting it sit for twenty minutes. Some pieces of furniture respond better if you let them sit for hours.
  • Step 2: Gently, use the scraper to remove the first layer.
  • Step 3: Use a water bucket and soft brush to gently wash off some of the goo between the layers, being careful to not damage the wood.
  • Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 as necessary.
  • Step 5: Apply Kleanstrip Afterwash to remove all remaining finish and Citristrip (follow the product recommendations for proper safety recommendations).
  • Step 6: Apply thin layers of bleach with a rag and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. Repeat a few times and then wipe clean with vinegar.
Using a cheap paintbrush to apply coats of Citristrip to the bed footboard.
Painting on the Citristrip with a cheap paintbrush.
Covering the bed frame in saran wrap after applying Citristrip allows the chemicals to work, stripping the bed of the dark wood finish.
Covering it with saran wrap and letting it sit for 20 minutes.
During the process of refinishing my cane bed, I used a scraper to remove the dark wood stain finish. Do this carefully as to not scratch the wood.
Scraping the finish off with a scraper (I prefer a plastic scraper to avoid damaging the wood but I didn’t have one in the garage).
After using Citristrip to remove the wood stain, I used a scrubbing brush to remove the rest of the stain and Citristrip from the wood headboard of the bed.
Using a brush with water to get some of the finish and remaining Citristrip off of the bed.
In order to properly remove the wood stain and refinish this wooden headboard, I reapply the Citristrip stripping gel for a second coat.
Repeating the Citristrip process.
An overhead view of the bed footboard with Citristrip applied, while removing the dark wood stain.
Removing another layer of Citristrip.
In order to remove stain from harder-to-reach areas on the bed footboard, I used a towel soaked in after wash and a screw driver
Using a flat screwdriver wrapped with an after wash soaked rag and removing the finish from difficult areas.
The next step in refinishing this bedframe is bleaching the wood using regular bleach.
Wiping the bed with bleach and letting it sit in the sun for hours at a time.
The wooden headboard is sitting in our driveway, out in the sun, after soaking in bleach to lighten the wood and wood stain.
Sitting in the sun with bleach.
This gorgeous wood headboard is bleached and stripped of wood stain, revealing the natural wood tones underneath. Now it's time to refinish this bed with cane!
Look at the beautiful wood tones that were under all of that finish!

I repeated the Citristrip process several times and then lightly bleached the bed. Bleaching the wood was easy. All I did was wipe bleach on the wood and let it dry in the sun. I repeated this a few times and wiped the wood with vinegar. I stopped here in the refinishing process because the color of the wood was perfect!

If you are unhappy with the color of your wood after stripping it, you can find how to refinish and bleach furniture here. If you’re refinishing furniture with veneer, you can find how to sand and strip veneer here. I also skipped sealing this piece, which I never recommend. This bed will sit in our guest bedroom that is rarely used. It is recommended to seal natural pieces to protect the wood from watermarks, etc. I plan on sealing it eventually when we use it for my daughter. Find out how to seal furniture here.

I have found that each piece of furniture varies and sometimes leaving Citristip on for longer periods of time works better. I suggest starting with twenty minutes and testing a small area for results, then adjusting the duration as you continue with the project.

Step 2: Applying Cane to the Bed Headboard & Footboard

This refinished wood headboard is ready for cane! Here, a sheet of cane sits unrolled on the wood headboard, ready to be attached.

There are several methods for applying cane to furniture and the method you will use honestly depends on your specific piece of furniture. Ideally, furniture pieces with cutouts are recommended when applying cane. However, this piece had perfect rectangular shapes with wood backing. I decided to apply the cane on top of the wood, then cover the edges. Covering the edges became a task but I was able to think outside of the box. By using small staples, I was able to paint them to match the cane and they blend perfectly into the natural texture. There are several other methods for applying cane and I will provide a round-up of those soon.

So how did I apply the cane? You will find the steps I used for applying the cane here. As a reminder, this is very specific to this bed and will need to be adjusted for your piece of furniture.

Part II – Cane Items Needed

Part II Instructions – Applying Cane

  • Step 1: Measure the detailed spaces where you will apply cane.
  • Step 2: Cut pieces of cane for your detailed spaces.
  • Step 3: Lay the cane flat and staple the cane as close to the edge as possible. I put one staple every 1/2 inch to 1 inch around the edge.
  • Step 4: If your staples are not flush, hammer them flat. The point of this is to make them blend into the natural cane texture.
  • Step 5: Paint the cane and staples (see below, you can omit this step or I recommend performing this step PRIOR to applying the cane, if possible).
  • Step 6: Using a tiny detail paintbrush, paint the staples.
Measuring a sheet of cane to fit into the rectangular cutout on my wooden headboard.
Measuring cane to fit the rectangular spaces on the bed.
A hand holding up a sheet of cane placed in the rectangular cutouts of a wood headboard. We will attach these pieces of cane with a staple gun.
Cutting the cane to fit the rectangular spaces on the bed.
Sheets of cane stapled to the rectangular inlays of my refinished wood headboard, attached with a staple gun.
Stapling the cane to the bed, every 1/2 inch to 1 inch all around the outer portion of the cane.
A full look at the wood headboard with can attached. You can stop your DIY cane bed project here if you love the natural look of the cane with the wood.
Cane is attached, you can stop here if you love the natural color.
With a spare sheet of cane, I tested out paint colors to paint the cane to match the natural color of the refinished wood headboard.
Testing paint on a spare piece of cane.
Comparing painted cane to unpainted cane on my refinished wood headboard. The painted cane perfectly matches the wood color, while the unpainted cane is lighter in color.
This is the perfect color to match the refinished bed.
A look at the finished cane headboard and footboard! I painted the cane a light brown to match the color of the refinished wood, giving the headboard one cohesive look.
Using very small amounts of paint on a paintbrush and painting the cane. Also using a small detail paintbrush to paint the edges of the cane and staples to match the cane.

Please read: It works best if you paint or stain the cane FIRST, before applying it to the furniture. It is recommended to soak the cane prior to applying it so that it stretches and then shrinks when applied. I did not paint the cane first because I was planning on keeping the natural color, but did not like the yellow of the cane with the refinished bed. I did not soak the cane because I did not need to stretch it when simply placing it flat on the furniture. Also, you may notice that the cane appears slightly wrinkled in places when wet with paint, it should dry flat and lose the wrinkles.

Also, note that using staples really only works if you plan on painting them to blend in with the cane or covering them with trim. You can try spray painting them before installing them. Or, you can cover with a small piece of trim. For more options and tutorials for applying cane, I will post other methods soon.

Print out the steps to my refinished cane bed tutorial using the craft card below!

Refinished Cane Bed Tutorial

Refinished Cane Bed Tutorial

Love the look of cane furniture? If a designer cane bed is out of your budget, here's how to create the perfect cane bed dupe! A full step-by-step refinished cane bed tutorial.

Active Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours

Materials

Refinishing Items Needed

Cane Items Needed

Instructions

Part 1 - Refinishing Instructions:

Step 1: Using a paintbrush, paint on a thick layer of Citristrip. Work in sections and cover with Saran Wrap. Start by letting it sit for twenty minutes. Some pieces of furniture respond better if you let them sit for hours.

Step 2: Gently, use the scraper to remove the first layer.

Step 3: Use a water bucket and soft brush to gently wash off some of the goo between the layers, being careful to not damage the wood.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 as necessary.

Step 5: Apply Kleanstrip Afterwash to remove all remaining finish and Citristrip (follow the product recommendations for proper safety recommendations).

Step 6: Apply thin layers of bleach with a rag and let it sit in the sun for a few hours. Repeat a few times and then wipe clean with vinegar.

Part II Instructions - Applying Cane

Step 1: Measure the detailed spaces where you will apply cane.

Step 2: Cut pieces of cane for your detailed spaces.

Step 3: Lay the cane flat and staple the cane as close to the edge as possible. I put one staple every 1/2 inch to 1 inch around the edge.

Step 4: If your staples are not flush, hammer them flat. The point of this is to make them blend into the natural cane texture.

Step 5: Paint the cane and staples (see below, you can omit this step or I recommend performing this step PRIOR to applying the cane, if possible).

Step 6: Using a tiny detail paintbrush, paint the staples.

Final Thoughts on This Refinished Cane Bed Project

Looking Back – What I Would Do Differently Next Time

If I could go back and do this over, I would try to find a bed with actual cutouts. Or I would figure out a way to remove wood and create cutouts. In addition, my biggest regret is painting the cane after applying it. I highly recommend performing this before applying the cane. It worked for us, but it could go wrong for you!

The Perfect Serena & Lily Dupe

I am so impressed with the final result of this bed. I love the natural wood finish and the texture of the cane! I feel like you can customize this bed to your needs and it is a win for everyone.

this DIY cane bed is the perfect  Serena & Lily dupe! The gorgeous bed is refinished to lighten the wood, with cane applied and painted on the headboard and footbard.
A close up look at the footboard of this DIY refinished cane bed. The cane is painted to match the color of the refinished natural wood grain.
An overhead look at the footboard of the DIY refinished cane bed! The cane is painted and set in the rectangular inlays on the footboard.
this gorgeous refinished cane bed tutorial is perfect for anyone who loves the look of cane furniture, but doesn't have the budget! This refinished cane bed looks perfect in this white bedroom, dressed with white linens and pillows.

That’s it for this project! Honestly, I think this is an easy project to complete, with proper planning, tools, and patience! Have you completed a cane bed recently? I would love to see your projects, please comment below with your link or send me an email with results!

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7 Comments

  1. I love this! I have the exact same bed in a King. Can you give me an idea of how much cane you ordered? With shipping being slow right now I want to get it right the first time. Thank you so much for posting this! I was about to order a still expensive dupe for this bed, perfect timing!

    1. Hey! I recommend measuring the exact spaces you plan to cover and calling Frank’s Cane and Rush Supply. They can tell you exactly how much you will need order! Sadly I did not write down the amount I ordered, they told me over the phone and sent it to me!

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