In most instances, wicker is confused with rattan and vice versa. Though these two crafting materials are related to each other, there are notable differences.
Rattan is a tropical vine which produces very durable poles or seemingly wood products which can reach a diameter of up to 2 to 3 inches. These rattan poles are later on processed to create by products such as rattan cane, rattan skin, and wicker. Whole rattan poles are used as sturdy bases and frames of numerous furniture items whether it is a rattan or wicker furniture.
Wicker on the other hand is only a byproduct of rattan. Unlike whole rattan poles and canes, wicker is much smaller or thinner in diameter (only about 5 mm or less than a centimeter). Wicker is derived by dividing a whole rattan pole into thinner and round wicker strips. Since wicker has string-like characteristics most especially its flexibility feature, they are commonly used in natural furniture weaving, manufacturing, and all other applications.
Wicker has also been referred to as a general classification of sticks, hence, wicker sticks or reeds can be made out of other materials aside from rattan. Some examples include bamboo, reeds, rushes, or willows. Both rattan and wicker have their own unique uses in furniture and the arts and crafts industry.