Hello all, We tend to create first, and deal with any consequences later. So we were caught with our pants down when we confessed to our "quick and dirty" approach to staining things out without finding the right materials. The question is: what is the best way to make these Idea stools darker? Well, with some quick research, we found a great looking site called Refinish Furniture.com. The site breaks down the questions of refinishing into multiple categories, so we went to the "Wicker, Rattan and Cane" section. They told us what we know, which is using spray paint is a great way to get into the nooks and crannies, but we are sure that staining is fine. The site does say, "Deft brushing lacquer is a good clear finish to use. It gives good protection inside and out. It is available at most paint stores or paint departments in other stores and is also available in spray cans. Polyurethane is best avoided, as it dries to a plastic coating which is very hard and brittle and will probably crack with all the flexing of a piece of wicker furniture." Good luck!