Painting My Newspaper Baskets

I finished weaving the three large newspaper baskets that I needed for some of my fabric stash.
This tutorial shows you how I finished them.

Materials used:
PVA wood glue or white glue, very cheap and easy to use. I dilute the PVA, one part water to one part PVA glue.
Primer or undercoat.
Quick Dry Satin Paint. (Look for paints that are water based, these only need soap and water to clean the brushes. The oil based paints are messy, very smelly, need spirits to clean the brushes and take ages to dry properly on these baskets)

When I had finished weaving the basket (see my tutorial) and cut off all of the excess uprights on the top, I painted about 2″ all round the top, inside and out with some of the diluted PVA glue. Making sure that I got some glue into the holes which were left after cutting the uprights. Leave to dry overnight. (This is the boring bit, the waiting!)

You will find , once the glue is dry, the newspaper has gone nice and hard and the top of the basket is secure. It is also very sturdy, even though there isn’t any glue anywhere else.


A full can shows how strong the newspaper weave is before any treatment.

The next step is to dilute some more PVA glue, one part glue to one part water, and paint the whole basket. I usually paint all of the inside of the basket, including the cardbaord base, going over the glue that has already dried at the top, then all round the outside of the basket, leaving the base until later. This way you can leave the basket standing upright to dry without the bottom sticking to everything. When you are painting, do it in a circular motion so that the glue gets into all the nooks and crannies of your weaving.


Mix one part water to one part pva glue

Leave to dry overnight, the next day turn the basket over and paint the bottom with some diluted glue.

Again, leave to dry.

Once dry you could leave the basket as it is, or you could give it a coat of clear quick dry varnish. I wanted my baskets white to match the shelves that they will be sitting on.

Painting the basket:

Before you paint the basket, with a coloured paint, you will need to give the paint a base to ‘sit’ on, otherwise you will have to do a lot of layers to cover the print of the newspaper.

I used a primer, or undercoat, that we had left over from decorating the house. This will give a chalky finish and something for the coloured paint to cling on to.

I did the same as I did with the glue layer, paint all of the inside and outside of the basket leaving the outside base until the basket was dry.


Primer or undercoat for a base coat before final colour

(You will still be able to see some of the newsprint through the primer, so don’t try and put it on too thickly)

Every time I do a layer of paint I leave it overnight to completely dry even though I am usually very impatient, it is worth it!!

Now for the finishing layer, I used a quick dry white satin paint, but you could use any colour you like, or have left from decorating.


Final coat using quick dry satin paint

Again using a circular motion with the paint brush get into all the holes, you won’t be able to cover everything inside the weaving, but once this layer is finished you won’t be able to tell that this basket was once a couple of old newspapers and a bit of cardboard!!!
When this layer of paint is dry, again overnight, the basket is finished. It is lovely and strong, the newsprint doesn’t show through and if it does get a little grubby you can use a damp cloth to wipe it over.


Finished basket

Now to paint my other two baskets to complete the set.


In the next tutorial I will show you a quick way of doing removable labels for the baskets.


2 thoughts on “Painting My Newspaper Baskets

  1. Thanks so much for this article. I was worried I’d have to paint my rolled paper before I wove it but I haven’t decided on the colours yet.


    • I’m glad this has helped. I did try painting the rolls first but found that they cracked when weaving. Although you can use a wood stain to colour them first if you are doing intricate patterns, but you need to keep the rolls damp. Decoupage is a nice idea also after you have painted your basket, there are many Youtube video’s on this. Good luck


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