Sunday, March 5, 2017

How to finish your fiber rush crafts

This will be a quick (but hopefully informative) post for those of you dabbling in fiber rush crafts. For me, that's been all about restoring adorable stools and footrests... and bringing these heirlooms back to life! Whether you're looking to customize the color, or simple protect your work; I've tested a few options to help you get that project done right ;D

What is fiber rush? It's basically just twisted up brown paper... so you can imagine why it might need some protection, especially when used on furniture that you will really use!

To protect from minor spills, and gentle wear, a clear coat of polyurethane or shellac are likely what you're looking for... But there are a few other things to consider! Shellac is an all natural product (made from bugs) and comes in both clear and amber color. You can purchase it already mixed, or mix your own using the shellac flakes and denatured alcohol (not the kind you probably have in your medicine cabinet). Either way, this will give you a shiny finish that will retain it's color over time.
If you prefer a product that cleans up easy (soap and water) and gives you the option for a satin or gloss finish, you may want to choose the poly. This is available just about everywhere you can find stain, and is available in small amounts so you can give it a try without spending too much!

But what if I want to dramatically change the color of my fiber rush? Well, there are any number of dyes that can be used to color paper, but in order to find something that would hold it's color over time I tried wood stain. Wood stain comes in so many colors now it's amazing! Two that I find myself using most often are a very dark brown/black called "ebony" and a light gray called "sun bleached". The challenge in using these is that you will want to brush it on, and then wipe off the excess. The good news is that in most cases you can achieve the desired look in just one application!
I tested each finish by wrapping a small amount of fiber rush around a paint stick. I left enough room on the handle to write the names of each finish so I could use as a reference later!
Here's my latest project, just awaiting the finish!

So what did I choose? I went with the gloss poly for my latest project... giving me an almost bamboo looking finished seat, which I love against the dark walnut finish on the frame... and yes, this one will be listing soon in my etsy shop;D

OK, that's all for now; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ for more on my DIY projects through the year! And if you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here, on twitter, or on my boards, just head over to my etsy shop!


  1. Is it possible to have natural rush without back looking like the hand woven look?

    1. My rush chairs really don't look like a paper and I see minor breaks in the back that look very natural

  2. Hi Mykel, not sure I understand the question here, but you can have a drop in woven rush seat. This is where the rush weaving is done on a separate frame and added to your chair, rather than woven right onto the chair frame.

  3. When you use shellac, do you dilute it at all?



  4. Please keep updating this blog, it's been too long. Great post! We adore this blog and This information is very good.




  5. Have you used paper splint? If so what type of finish would you recommend - oil based like linseed oil or shellac?

  6. i have used paper splint on two small child stools. It is way easier to work with than flat reed and looks good. I used a tung oil finish

  7. Is there something that I can put on my rush seating to keep it from further wearing. The rushing is in tact but the seats are showing some surface rubbing. Maybe a satin poly??