Rattan is an amazing natural material, growing to great lengths and rapidly replenishing at the rate of several feet per day after being harvested. Although many people may be familiar with wicker designs, they may not know exactly what rattan is or where it comes from. These amazing YouTube videos are a great source of information about this fascinating product and its synthetic version which is often used as a substitute to make furniture.

1) Incredible design

A short clip compared to some of the other videos, this YouTube snippet shows rattan being worked on shortly after being harvested. None of the furniture is exported due to financial constraints, but the designs are all created by the owner who is featured in the video. The workers painstakingly weave the strips of rattan in and out, to create every single item entirely by hand. Referred to frequently as “cane”, the material they are working with is natural rattan. The opportunity to see many rattan items still only half-made shows the skill and intricate handiwork that goes into each and every item. The owner of this rattan workshop says that just one chair takes between 3-5 days to complete, an impressive investment of time and effort.

2) From the beginning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdd46hAPHlA This video follows workers in south east Asia, watching the process of the rattan being gathered from the fields and handled back in the factory. The sequence of tasks shows how long it takes for each pole of rattan to be prepared, and the skill of the individuals who work with the rattan every day. The latter half of the video show the weaving process, with weavers using looms to create the base and then special tools to add in cross sections. It’s amazing to think that the rattan chair sitting in your house may have started out just like this!

3) In your home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPBMq2QlltA Rattan has been increasing in popularity for a long time now  but you may still be finding it difficult to visualise how it might transform your interior design. Rattan has been used for some time in the garden but it’s now being used more and more in mainstream furnishings, and has established a presence in every room in the house. This video showcases beautifully the elegance that rattan furniture can offer, and the wide variety of style that can be achieved.

4) Eating furniture?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_-f_cM1nds If you’ve ever looked at your rattan furniture and felt a bit peckish, this video is for you. Although in the UK, rattan is thought of solely as a material to manufacture with, in the countries where it grows, it’s also viewed as a means of food. This fascinating clip shows a local from Thailand teaching some film-makers how to first harvest, then prepare rattan ready for eating. Having to go through a lengthy process of first hacking it down, coring it, cooking it, then removing the tender part before pulverising it, eating rattan is not a meal for those who can’t wait.

5) A traditional approach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdd46hAPHlA If you want to see a traditional rattan processing factory, with workers using and weaving rattan in the same ways that have been done for many years, this short clip is worth watching. Taken in Cambodia, you will notice there’s a number of frames which are ready to be woven, and some which are already in process. The girl sat on the floor sorting rattan whilst her co-worker perches high above her, carefully weaving the top of the cabinet, is a truly compelling sight. With no narration on this video, it’s enough to sit back and watch the incredible items which are gradually appearing between their talented hands.

6) Embracing the outdoors home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqUsyxL9ClU This clip isn’t really just about rattan, but about the importance of taking good care of your garden furniture. The narrator is enthusiastic about the idea of having a well-decorated garden, an outdoors space which looks just as good as the inside. However, she emphasises the importance of keeping your outdoors furniture clean and offers a few solutions on how you might want to do this. Demonstrating techniques such as non-abrasive scrubbing, and suggesting a few different ways to keep rattan and metal furniture clean, this clip is a great source of inspiration to create a vibrant space outdoors, and also to take good care of it too.

7) Changing colours

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6yypY9EmGc Rattan furniture now comes in a beautiful range of colours <INSERT LINK TO TYPICAL COLOUR OPTIONS WITH RATTAN FURNITURE> and the chances are that you wouldn’t want to paint over any of these hues. However, if you have an old and tired piece of rattan which has eventually faded or looks dated, you might want to give it a fresh burst of life by changing the colour. This how-to video offers some handy tips about how to tackle the tricky issue of painting rattan, with its uneven surface and woven design.

8) Weaving on aluminium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_DbMjN3a8s Contemporary rattan furniture is woven onto an aluminium base to provide strength and resilience and to help the item hold its shape for an extended period of time. The use of this framework does not detract from the skill required to create the final item and this handiwork is showed off to its maximum in the fascinating film. The video follows rattan weavers as they create the intricate designs, and slowly build up each item of furniture entirely by hand. Utterly dismissing the myth that aluminium framework makes the finished rattan article less authentic, this clip reveals the dexterity and patience required to create even a single item.

9) Reminder about damp furniture!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlxFiMg6qxw A practical demonstration of how to get into the nooks and crannies when cleaning rattan furniture, plus some tips on how you can restore lustre and shine back into a piece of rattan furniture with a home-made concoction. There’s also some timely reminders here about why you shouldn’t sit on damp rattan furniture and the importance of letting it dry before attempting to use the seating again.

10) In case you were wondering…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvGcelOs4bo This last super-short clip is a succinct explanation of what ‘wicker’ actually means. In many of these videos, rather than use the word ‘rattan’, either cane or wicker is referred to. This mini-clip explains exactly what wicker is and why an item can be both rattan and wicker simultaneously. Conclusion If you’ve watched the above 10 short clips and videos you should now be an expert on all things rattan-related, from knowing how to clean it to understanding where it comes from! This incredible material has many uses and both natural and synthetic rattan is used to create the amazing pieces of furniture that are available today.