Repainting rattan

I have a real wicker (not resin) patio dining set. It's painted a glossy whitish color and is yellowing. I'd like to paint it a different color, I'm concerned about preparing the surface. It seems like using a stripper or physical sanding to roughen the existing paint might damage or weaken the wicker. Suggestions?
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Oops, sorry - it's wicker, not rattan, alto I'm not completely sure they're different.
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Body shops use a paint softener on in-accessable places of cars when doing a color change. The softener gives decent paint adhesion where sanding is next to impossible. Available at any auto paint supply place. Thoroughly wash the piece first, let dry, wash it with the softening agent (usually sprayed) and spray your paint on as per instructions from the softener supplier and the paint being used.
Test the piece with the softener in a small area before commiting yourself.
Pete
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