Finishes ~ I have experimented extensively. I used to just leave my baskets “natural” but I didn’t think they looked completed and the color-dyed weavers faded over time.
Then I moved on to Danish Oil which offered several color options. After becoming bored with their selections, I started using MinWax woodworking OIL stain. They have LOTS of color options. The oil-based stain soaks into the pores of the reed nicely ... much better than the water-based stain which was globby. It does, however, take several days to completely “cure” at which time the odor dissipates.
And then I discovered the stain/paint finish. It’s a three step procedure which is time-consuming but well worth it:
1. Dip the whole basket in a dark (walnut) oil-based stain. Hang it kitty-corner to let it drip dry.
2. Duct tape off the rim (optional) and spray paint the basket with a satin or flat oil-based spray paint. Rustoleum or Krylon have great color options: slate blue, Colonial red, moss green, black, ivory, etc.
3. While the spray paint is still damp, dip a rag in boiled linseed oil and rub the basket in random spots. It will pull some of the paint off leaving the stain underneath to show through. The final look is “grungy” or “shabby chic”.