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Difference between rattan vs wicker cane willow

Rattan vs Wicker, Cane, Willow: Here is the difference between 4 popular terms

Rattan furniture and wicker furniture are the same? Wicker is just all about woven baskets? What are the differences between wicker, rattan, cane and willow? This article will clear the issue around these terms ‘rattan vs wicker’ and help you get updated about each characteristic. Now get started!

1. Rattan vs wicker: They are not the same

Rattan and wicker are two terms that have been frequently used interchangeably for so long. They are quite confusing. However, rattan vs wicker are not the same. In fact, rattan is a material while wicker refers to a techniqueof weaving

What is rattan?

Rattan is a palm that grows well in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australasia, especially South and Southeast Asia in which Indonesia is the main area for rattan production. An interesting fact is that rattan grows faster than trees, as well as it is easier to harvest and transport than timber.

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Rattan is a fast-growing, renewable palm that grows in the tropical regions.
(Photo credit: Danviet.vn)

The majority of rattan is collected in the forest. For harvesting conveniently, rattan is also planted carefully in the own garden of local people. In Vietnam, rattan grown in the garden delivers better quality because it is provided with proper care. Therefore, its price is higher in comparison with rattan growing naturally in the forest.

Unlike bamboo which is hollow and unable to bend, rattan has a solid stem — light, durable and relatively flexible. Rattan is used for many purposes such as food, furniture, shelter, and handicraft. In handicraft, rattan appears in various homeware products with extra sturdiness.

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Unlike bamboo, rattan is solid, strong, durable and relatively flexible.

What is wicker?

Wicker is a method or technique for making products woven from pliable plant materials. Today, wickerwork is made using natural materials like rattan, willow, reed, seagrass, water hyacinth, jute and bamboo, and also synthetic fibers such as vinyl and resin. In other words, seagrass baskets or rattan baskets are all regarded as wicker baskets.

Natural wicker is known for its strength, durability as well as its beauty and natural comfort. Materials can be the whole thickness of plants (willow switches), or just the cores of rattan (rattan core strands). Made from plants, natural wicker is meant for indoor uses only. It also requires special care and maintenance to keep it in good shape. 

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Rattan vs wicker are different. Materials used for natural wicker are diverse, not just rattan.

Wicker can also be made from synthetic materials, or a combination. Synthetic fibers get nearly the same look as natural fibers, especially rattan and willow. The synthetic wickers are durable and weather resistant, so they are often preferred for outdoor use (“all-weather wicker”). 

>>> See more:The New Wicker Collection – Home & Garden Trends 2022

2. Cane is actually from the rattan plant

Rattan cane

Cane is actually from the rattan plant. The word “cane” means the stem-section of plants, so the “rattan cane” is the stem of the rattan plant. Rattan canes (also called stems or poles) with large diameters are mainly used in making furniture

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Rattan vs wicker: Rattan is a natural material with many applications in homewares

Rattan cane strands

In manufacturing, the term “cane” also refers to the strands of rattan’s outer skin or peel. Cane strands are smooth, flat, light, and mold-resistant. Cane is extremely strong and durable for making baskets or wrapping the joints of rattan furniture. This is commonly woven into webbing (also called rattan cane webbing) that functions well as decorative additions for homeware items such as woven baskets, trays, furniture

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The table is decorated with rattan vs wicker cane webbing on its surface.

Rattan core

Rattan stems are also peeled to get rattan cores. These cores will then be split into long round strands for weaving products such as storage baskets, indoor planters, lampshades, or mirror frames. Thin rattan core strands have a matt finish and very strong, sturdy nature, but not as smooth, soft and flexible as rattan peel or willow.

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Rattan vs wicker: Rattan is a material with many parts used for making products

3. Rattan and Willow are two different materials

Willow is found mostly on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere (it doesn’t grow in Vietnam). Willow is a popular option for making homewares, especially baskets thanks to its superb strength, flexibility and durability. 

Rattan vs Willow

As regards characteristics, willow features a more soft and flexible nature than rattan, which is easier to be bent and woven. Rattan needs to be steamed before being twisted and bent. Therefore, labor costs for making willow products are much lower.

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Rattan strands are rough and matt, while willow has a glossy look.

The look of rattan and willow are quite similar, but you will see differences here. In terms of finish, rattan core strands are quite rough and matt; meanwhile, willow looks more smooth and glossy. It’s because rattan strands used for basketry are already split from rattan cores, so they don’t include shiny peels. In contrast, the whole willow branches are used for weaving, without being peeled.

Hope this article will be helpful for you when choosing suitable materials for your products and communicate efficiently with homeware suppliers or manufacturers. To sum up, rattan vs wicker are not about just one thing, rattan is a material, wicker refers to a weaving technique. Cane is from the rattan plant. Rattan and willow are two different materials with each typical characteristic.

five seagrass weaving styles

5 Seagrass Weaving Styles For Eco-friendly Storage Baskets

The tradition of weaving in Vietnam dated back hundreds of years. Our local weavers, as known as artisans, have continuously developed many weaving styles with natural seagrass to create eco-friendly woven baskets that are both functional and stylish. This article will focus on five seagrass weaving styles from our Vietnamese skilled artisans. Now let’s dive in and discover each style in detail!

coiling seagrass fibers with green plastic string
Mrs.Tích is coiling seagrass fibers with a green plastic string, using the frame.

1. Coiled seagrass

This seagrass weaving style is normally known as “Cói xiên” (/koi sien/) in Vietnam, either made by hand or with a machine. So how can we make coiled seagrass baskets? To be more specific, here is the weaving process: After harvesting and processing seagrass properly, our artisans start to split seagrass into thin fibers. Once selected, the beautiful long seagrass fibers will be coiled with recycled plastic strings in a wooden frame (half-round shape). 

coiled seagrass weaving style
Coiled seagrass offers the sturdiest structure for baskets in comparison with other types. 

Coiling with seagrass is the way our local weavers make patterns on each basket, for example floral and geometric patterns.

The coiling technique is also commonly applied by our local artisans in Vietnam because it offers the sturdiest structure for baskets in comparison with other types. Coiled seagrass baskets even keep good shape when they carry heavy items inside for a long time. That’s why it can function as seagrass laundry baskets, storage bins and baby moses baskets. 

baskets with coiled seagrass weaving style
Natural seagrass fibers are coiled around to form functional and aesthetic baskets. 

2. Twisted seagrass

Twisted seagrass, “cói se” (/koi se/) in Vietnam, is a material created either by hand or with a machine. At first, once split, seagrass fibers are twisted to become a cohesive string (as known as a twisted seagrass string). In order to create finished baskets, our artisans either wrap these strings around steel frames or weave these strings with each other.

twisted seagrass weaving style
A closer view to twisted seagrass strings in our Tan Tien factory.

Our artisans often combine seagrass with steel frames to deliver a high level of sturdiness for baskets, turning them into practical storage additions to the living space. Besides, without metal, seagrass baskets are still strong and durable for diverse uses for household essentials from small odds-and-ends, toys to clothes. Can it look more colorful? Definitely yes, our artisans often dye or paint on each basket to add bohemian style to it.

baskets with twisted seagrass weaving style
A combination of steel frames and twisted seagrass after being dyed.

>>> Discover more about Seagrass baskets: Back to basics 2021 – Home storage & Organization Collection

3. Split seagrass

Can you guess what “split seagrass” (“Cói chẻ” (/koi che/) in Vietnam) means? As we already mentioned above, once dried and processed, seagrass is often split into long thin fibers by machines to ensure consistency. Our artisans weave seagrass fibers neatly around a frame to give a better shape for products. 

split seagrass weaving style
Our local artisan is making open weave storage baskets with split seagrass fibers.

Regarding split seagrass baskets, they are soft but super strong for storage purposes in any room from living room, bedroom, laundry to kitchen. The quality can be assured thanks to the seagrass’s characteristics: durable. However, it is true that the shape of these baskets may be easily deformed if put inside with heavy things or used for a long time.

Similar to twisted seagrass, split seagrass fibers can be dyed with colors before being woven into a finished item to make storage baskets stylish and charming. Let’s see split seagrass baskets with many sorts of colors, sizes and shapes below! 

baskets with split seagrass weaving style
Soft and durable, split seagrass baskets are ideal for storage of household essentials.

4. Pressed seagrass

Another seagrass weaving style is “Cói dập” (/koi zap/) in Vietnam, which is called pressed or flat seagrass. As you might know, many belly baskets are made from pressed seagrass fibers. Do you wonder how pressed seagrass is made? Seagrass fibers are pressed to become soft and flat as well, then our local artisans will weave these fibers together, commonly by hand without using a mold.

One of our artisans is weaving pressed seagrass to make belly baskets.

Pressed seagrass is mostly utilized for making storage belly baskets with different sizes from small to large. Impressively, soft belly baskets can be folded in half for extra convenience for your customers when not in use.

Soft and flat, belly baskets are easily decorated based upon customers’ preference. We commonly see belly baskets in the natural color of seagrass with some attached pom-pom and leather handles. That’s not all! Our artisans also dye seagrass fibers before weaving them into baskets, or directly paint or draw patterns by hand to make an appealing belly basket.

baskets with pressed seagrass weaving style
Our skilled artisans turn pressed seagrass into beautiful designs for storage and home decor.

5. Braided seagrass 

Last but not least, here comes the last seagrass weaving style – Braided seagrass, also known as – “Cói dóc” (/koi zok/) in Vietnamese! Now, come and see how we make storage baskets from braided seagrass material.

Firstly, after being split, seagrass fibers are braided into a long cohesive string. Then, these braided strings will be wrapped around steel frames and sewn neatly to form storage baskets. Braided strings are so durable and rustic that these baskets best serve for storage in the houses, no matter what your customers put into.

braided seagrass weaving style
Can you distinguish braided seagrass and twisted seagrass? (Photo: The Basket Maker’s Catalog)

Braided seagrass is either painted or dyed with other colors to make finished products more striking. Like other seagrass baskets, those made of braided seagrass are also designed with built-in or leather handles for ease of use and decorative purposes. 

The creativity doesn’t stop there. Our local artisans can add flowers and decorative patterns that give baskets a natural yet charming accent in the interior space. Let’s take a look at several exquisite braided seagrass baskets and their natural vibes!

baskets with braided seagrass weaving style
Braided seagrass is used for producing storage baskets which are durable and sleek.

If you are looking for more eco-products made from seagrass, particularly seagrass baskets, just feel free to access our 2021 Homeware Selectionhere!

Now it’s time for you to explore how each seagrass weaving style matches any decor and any space!

each seagrass weaving style match spaces
each seagrass weaving style match spaces 01
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artisan creates baskets with seagrass weaving style
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