Create a Flower Wastepaper Basket

Author Photo
By Cathy Callahan | May 14, 2018

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This container can also be used to hold a variety of other things, such as umbrellas, craft supplies, toys, and anything that needs a cute place to call home.
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Vintage Craft Workshop by Cathy Callahan, is the perfect DIY craft book for anyone looking for vintage style crafts and ideas from the 60’s and 70’s.

Vintage Craft Workshop (Chronicle Books, 2011), by Cathy Callahan, is filled with crafty ideas from the sixties and seventies, readers may even find some of the crafts bring back memories near and dear to them. Find the craft that speaks to you and get started today! This excerpt is from Chapter 4: Craft Trends of the 60’s and 70’s.

I remember my mom making wastepaper baskets like these when I was a girl. She would go to the neighborhood Baskin-Robbins ice cream store and ask if she could have the leftover ice cream buckets when they were empty. She would then cover them in burlap and decorate them with bits of felt, yarn, or whatever else suited her fancy. Much to my delight, I found a picture of a very similar project in the pages of Hazel Pearson’s Burlap Bounty (1967). Baskin-Robbins no longer gives their used buckets away, unfortunately. I asked at the neighborhood store, and I’m pretty sure they thought I was crazy. As an alternative, I substituted a plastic trash can I found at The Container Store. A cylindrical form works best to enhance your applied decoration. And you don’t have to use it just as a wastepaper basket. It also makes a great umbrella stand or addition to craft room for storing stuff like bolts of fabric or rulers.


  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric scissors
  • Mod Podge
  • One 2-in/5-cm-wide foam brush,
  • Paper scissors
  • Flower Wastepaper Basket templates (page XX)
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Toothpicks
  • Tweezers (optional)


  • 1 cylindrical wastepaper basket (Mine was 14 in/35.5 cm tall and 10 in/25 cm in diameter.)
  • 3/4 yd/68.5 cm burlap, for the exterior (more or less, depending on the size of your wastepaper basket)
  • 3/4 yd/68.5 cm burlap, in a complementary color, for the interior (more or less depending on the size of your wastepaper basket)
  • Three 14-x-10-in/35.5-x-25-cm pieces wool felt, in complementary colors, for flowers
  • Three 2-yd/183-cm lengths 2-mm jute twine (or yarn), in complementary colors, for flowers


This same technique for applying burlap to a surface can be used on other items—picture frames, boxes, journals, and what have you.


  1. Measure the exterior and interior circumference and height of the wastepaper basket.
  2. From the burlap for the exterior, cut a piece 1/4 in/6 mm shorter than the height and 1/2 in/12 mm longer than the circumference of the basket.
  3. From the burlap for the interior, cut a piece 1 in/2.5 cm taller than the height and 1/4 in/6 mm shorter than the circumference.
  4. As a “trial run,” place the burlap on the outside and inside of the can in the manner it will be applied to double-check your measurements. Adjust as needed.
  5. Using the foam brush, apply an even coat of Mod Podge to the interior of the basket.
  6. Carefully apply the interior color burlap. Smooth it with your hands to flatten out creases and air bubbles.
  7. Apply a line of Mod Podge along the top of the exterior, and wrap the excess burlap from the interior around the lip and smooth out with fingers.
  8. You will want to consider where your joins are. I suggest that the exterior join be directly across from the interior.
  9. When viewed from the front of the basket, the join in the exterior will be on the back of the basket and the interior join in the front inside.
  10. Brush an even coat of Mod Podge on the exterior of the basket. Carefully apply the exterior color burlap.
  11. Smooth out with your hands to flatten out creases and air bubbles. You will notice that the exterior color ends just shy of the top, exposing just a little color from the interior.
  12. Use the flower and 2 center-shape templates to cut each element out of each color of felt. (If your wastepaper basket is larger or smaller than the one used here, use a scanner or copier to reduce or enlarge the templates as needed or desired.)
  13. Arrange as shown in the photo, gluing each set of flower pieces together.
  14. Cut an 18-in/46-cm length of each color of twine, twirl into a spiral shape (referring to photo), and glue to the center of each flower.
  15. Cut ten 3/4-in/2-cm snips of twine of each color twine for the petal details and glue them down (again referring to photo for placement). Toothpicks and tweezers can be of help when applying these tiny details. Cut a 9-in/23?cm length of each color twine for the stems, and three 2-1/2-in/6-cm lengths of each color for the leaves. Gluethe twine to the flowers.
  16. Spread an even layer of glue to the back of each flower and apply it to the wastepaper basket. Make sure that the design is placed on the “front” and that the exterior joinfaces the “back.”

Vintage Craft Workshop:

Reprinted with Permission from Vintage Craft Workshop and Published by Chronicle Books.

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