Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Tutorial: DIY Wire Baskets with Attempting Aloha

I adore these wire baskets-- they are officially added to my to-do-sies. Thanks so much, Charlie!

Aloha, In Between Laundry friends!!
My name is Charlie (pink, not blue), and I write a little blog called Attempting Aloha.
Today I'm going to share a tutorial on making your own wire baskets! Everyone loves a great knock-off, right?  Well, good old PB and Ballard have some lovely wire baskets I've been coveting but can't part with my cheap-o side and fork out $30 a pop for them.
Pottery Barn
Ballard Design
So I went ahead and made a few of my own!

Here's what you'll need:
1) Hardware cloth (wire mesh thingie stuff). I bought mine at a small local hardware store. It's 2' x 10' and cost just under $8.
 2) Wire cutter thingies. I found these in my husband's tool stash. If yours doesn't have one, just ask your local hardware store for wire cutter thingies, and they'll send you to the right section. ;)
 3) Floral wire. I used both 20 gauge and 26. The 26 was cheaper and worked better. Sweet. ;)
Be aware that the edges can be very sharp, so use gloves if you aren't comfortable working with the wire mesh, and you'll want to cut right up close to one of the verticle wires in order to keep from having sharp edges. :)
First, you will need to decide what size you want your baskets to be, and draw up a little sketch, so you can measure and cut one piece out. I used sizes close to the Ballard and PB hanging baskets, but I also created a few smaller ones for our hair supplies that are 5" wide x 4" tall x 11" deep.
The wall ones I made measured 12" wide x 4" deep x 10" tall. I calculated that to wrap a piece around the 10" tall back and 4" deep bottom and 10" tall front, I would need 24". PERFECT since the "cloth" is 24" wide.  I cut across one side 20" (12" wide front plus two 4" "wings" that will be the sides).
Side note: I chose to cut them this way in order to reduce the amount wasted. This way, the next one could be flipped on the opposide side, and I only "wasted" a small patch.
Here's what it looked like after being cut out (Step 1 for anyone who's counting):

 Step 2: Make your creases/folds along the "wings" and then around the bottom and up the back.
Step 3: Unfold and give it a little bit of shape. Don't stress too much about the form, though, until after we "sew" the sides together.
Step 4: Cut your floral wire about 1.5x the size of the side you're going to sew up. So for your 4" sides, cut it about 6". For the 12" side, cut it about 18".
Start at one end, and pull the wire almost all the way through. Leave about 1" hanging out, and wrap through that first square a couple times, then weave it up the side. I hit every square because I preferred the look, but every other also gets a good effect and saves on time...totally up to you.
Step 5: Trim the ends of your wire, and shape your basket out! Easy as that. So for less than $3, and in under 1 hour, I saved $75-90 (depending on the catalog we're hacking here)!
 And here they are all prettied up in my mom cave. I created a few labels and printed them out on photo paper, cut them out and then cut out a piece of fabric and sandwiched the mesh and some hot glue between the label and the fabric. Easy to swap out, looks like funky chalkboard paint, but no dust. :)
 Curious how I hooked them to the walls??  I researched extensively, tried numerous hooks and nails, and eventually I came up with an innovative idea...wait for it... STAPLES!  Yep. Good ol' staple gun across the top. Leaves tiny holes, so they're super easy to hide and/or paint over without patching when the time comes. I'm sure there are a million other ways to hang them, but this is what I had on hand, and it got the job done.
Check out what else I decided to craft up for some of them:
Ahhh... Lovin' the pleated ruffles and contrast of the drop cloth and wire mesh. I'm actually jealous of my magazines. :)
Here are the smaller ones for our hair accessories:

So with the one $8 hardware cloth, I made 3 large baskets, 3 small baskets, and I also used a couple feet for another project I'll be showing later.
Total cost per large basket with pleated liner is approximately $1.50. The small baskets are about $.75 WITH liners. Pretty awesome, right?
My three baskets:  $4.50
Three PB Baskets: $72
Three Ballard Baskets: $87
(And mine have liners...) can customize mine for any space! Pretty stinking awesome!!

Thanks again, Erin!!



  1. Do you think that I would be able to create a ball/toy bin for the backyard using a similar technique?

  2. Awesome idea! I have an old cabinet that needs a "custom fit" drawer. Would these baskets hold their shape if pulled out every day?

  3. Such a great idea! And really pretty with the liners too!


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