Queen of Cane
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
I have memories of being in my first house (I couldn't have been more than 4 years old) just after dinner, delicately pressing uneaten green peas through the holes in my mother's french cane rocking chair. I am more respectful now. I adore French cane. If I could, I'd cover the walls in it. Since my landlord probably wouldn't go for that, I've decided that I'll just have to cover everything else in it instead.
While searching for solutions on how to cover a dreadful old wall heater, I stumbled upon Caroline Burke's cane ikea hack and finally mustered up the gumption to venture down to LA's Cane and Basket Supply, which has been on my to do list for YEARS.
I always figured a DIY french cane project would be out of my budget due the the cost of materials. The best I could find online was $10 per FOOT of cane webbing. That won't get us very far...
Luckily the woman at the shop had several rolls of old, too-dry-to-work-with cane, and was kind enough to let me be a garbage lady and buy up over 50 feet of it for a great rate. It isn't strong enough to hold any weight, and definitely too brittle to stretch, but it can DEFINITELY be glued to things! After I had the rolls in tow, I went straight to Hobby Lobby and walked the isles saying to myself, "I could cane that, I could cane that..." Which brings us to my first, super simple DIY cane project, this sweet little breakfast tray. The tray itself was $7.99 with 40% off. In total, this project cost less than $6 to make. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
I have been eyeing a very similar cane tray from world market for almost 7x the price. This is why I DIY.
You can get a better fit if you measure a piece of paper out first and use it as a template to cut the cane, but I just eyeballed and trimmed. I ended up lining the edges with a .25" wooden dowel to give it a cleaner finish. I soaked them in hot water and used a little fabric softener to get the wood to bend. Mine splintered a little on some corners. Be more patient than me when bending. Also, make sure your water is steaming hot. I boiled mine on the stove and added it to the tub.
I used wood glue to paint on a layer, placed the cane, then weighed it down with books overnight. Wood glue for the dowel edging as well. For this I clamped it in place in two corners. You can paint a layer of modge podge over if you want to add a seal but I left it.
That's it. So easy but boy does it elevate your morning coffee. 10 points to anyone who can guess the book I'm reading. It's one of my all time favorites.