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.


Craft Room Fabric Scrap Storage

I am changing my craft room around again!! There is always too much stuff and not enough storage. Along one wall I have a worktop and everything seems to get shoved under it in boxes and bags which looks awful.  I found a brilliant book case on the Argos website. Not the usual with tiny shelves, this one has 3 shelves that are 40cms deep  and 73cms long. It is called the Pagnell Book Shelf and cost £39.99 + delivery. I am so pleased with it, it fits snugly underneath my worktop and will hold 3 of my newspaper baskets giving me lots more storage space for all the small bits of fabric I keep for patchwork and applique.

SAM_2081Please check out my tutorial for making the newspaper baskets and the next tutorial for painting them. I love making these and they don’t cost a penny when you need more storage. Its surprising what you can do with a couple of old newspapers and a piece of cardboard!!

Square Newspaper Weave Basket


I wanted some baskets for my fabric stash. When it comes to fabric I am a hoarder and have loads of tiny pieces that I use for applique. So here is how I made them, please read all the instructions before starting this project:

Newspaper Sticks


You will need lots of newspaper sticks. There are quite a few websites showing how to make these, my particular favourite is this video:
I do sell them in my Etsy shop but postage is quite expensive.

It does take a while to master this, don’t give up, after all you will only be wasting old newspapers whilst you practice. In the video she uses white glue (PVA glue), I use a glue stick which works just the same but dries quicker. And I cut my newspaper with scissors.

A Mould
Measure the size of basket you want to weave and make a mock up, or mould, of one out of cardboard. Make the mould approx 1″ smaller than the size you want your finished basket to be. You will use this to weave round, it will help you to keep the size and shape of your basket as you will see further on in this tutorial.

Start Making Your Basket
Using your mould as a template draw round the bottom onto another piece of cardboard. ( I have used a thick piece of cardboard from a flat pack furniture delivery box, you could glue together several pieces of thin cardboard to make it thicker).

Cut it out.
This piece will be the beginning of your basket.


Now to start making your basket. (Mine is quite large 15″ x 15″ x 12″ deep but you can use this tutorial for any size you want).

Draw a line on all four sides of the piece of cardboard you have just cut out for the bottom of your basket, approx 1/2″ in from the edge. Measure and mark approx 1″ apart along each edge making sure to mark at each corner. Don’t be too worried about this measurement as long as they are evenly distributed along each edge.

Next, using a screwdriver or something similar, push through each mark you have made making a hole large enough to take a newspaper stick. I started with an awl and then pushed a biro through each hole to enlarge it.

Take a newspaper stick, fold it in half and poke one end through one of the holes, with the other end of the newspaper stick poke it through the next hole. Pull it through tight so the loop lies flat, as in the picture below. Keep adding sticks until each hole has been filled.


Turn the cardboard bottom over and these will be the sticks that you will be weaving on, the uprights.


For my basket I use the rope weave, which uses two newspaper sticks at a time. this video shows you how to make a different bottom, but also shows, very simply, how to do the rope weave.

Weave one row all around the outside of the bottom piece of cardboard. Making sure you mould the weaving newspaper sticks round each corner.

This is how it should look when you have finished the first row of weaving, turn the whole piece over, as in the picture below


and carry on weaving making the next row lay on top of the last one while at the same time lifting each upright newspaper stick to make it stand upright. As shown below.:


When you come to the end of the second row take your mould and place it inside of the upright newspaper sticks.


Make sure all of your uprights are on the outside of your mould. I like to put something heavy inside the mould so that it doesn’t move around whilst I am weaving. I have used a couple of full paint tins but you could use anything like tins from the food cupboard, stones or bricks from the garden etc.

Now you can carry on weaving, making your weaving as close as possible to your mould. But not too tight that you can’t remove your mould at the end.


If you find your uprights are too short for the height of your basket, as I have here, you need to make them longer. To do this you need to add more newspaper sticks. Here I have some made from the yellow pages, they are shorter than the newspaper sticks but long enough to reach the top of my measured basket.


To make the uprights longer I insert more paper sticks, with the use of a knitting needle.

Poke in the knitting needle next to one upright and slightly stretch the weaving and just push in another stick (you could add a small amount of white glue (PVA) if you wish). You will need to add new sticks all the way round. Be careful not to pull out these extra sticks as you are weaving.


Carry on weaving incorporating these new sticks as shown.

When you have reached the height that you want your basket to be you need to close your weaving.

Take each end of your two weaving sticks and using a knitting needle or similar, prize open about three rows down and push down one end, pulling it right through, do the same with the other end.



So they look like this. Cut off the excess.


You have now finished weaving your basket. To complete, cut off all the uprights flush to the edge of the basket. Like so:




In the next tutorial I will show you how I finish and paint my newspaper weave baskets.