How I Made A Vintage-Inspired Laundry Hamper

7 Materials
4 Hours

Moderate sewing skills are needed for this fun project that uses an old lamp shade frame as the foundation for a vintage-inspired laundry hamper!

I came up with this idea a few years ago when I was surfing the web and drooling over all the cute vintage and vintage-inspired wire laundry hampers out there.

Suddenly I realized that I had what I needed to make my own: The large and ancient lamp shade that was lurking in our basement storage.

It was the heavy-duty kind with a thick wire frame between the fabric. The lining inside the shade was starting to disintegrate, so I tore all the fabric off until I had only the wire frame left.

It would become the wire cage for the hamper. Now I needed a bottom piece and a fabric insert. And to make those I needed a simple template.


I’m a big fan of making cardboard templates to use as sewing patterns. So the first thing I did was trace the outline of the top of the lamp shade (which, since it was the narrowest point, would be used as the bottom of the hamper) onto a piece of cardboard. I then cut it out to make a template.


The center cross-braces of the lamp shade frame would not be needed and would get in the way, so my husband removed them with wire cutters.


Then he used the cardboard template I made to cut a round piece of pressboard to serve as the bottom of the hamper. He carved out notches where the frame wires would be so that the bottom would fit snugly.

Pressboard bottom with notches cut for wires


I cleaned the wire frame with steel wool and spray painted it with Rust-Oleum Antique Brass Metallic.

I spray painted the pressboard bottom piece with Rust-Oleum Hammered Dark Bronze.


I would be throwing the liner into the washing machine from time to time, so I didn’t want to use a fabric that might bleed, fade, or wrinkle. I got a natural cotton utility fabric and pre-washed it.

Using the round cardboard template as a pattern, I cut a round piece of fabric for the bottom of the liner.

Then I measured around the circumference of the frame (at its widest point) and from top to bottom to cut the proper dimensions for the two side panels.

When sewing the side panels together, I tapered them slightly since the frame was tapered. Then I attached them to the round bottom piece. I attached some vintage-looking lace to the top and folded the top over the basket.

Lace around the top

I played around with a few other, more complicated ideas for attaching the liner to the basket, but luckily simply folding it over worked. (If it hadn't worked, I might have sewed on an elastic band.)

It fits snugly but has been easy to remove and replace when it needs washing.

The project cost of $35 that I list assumes that all materials and tools are already on hand except the fabric, the lace, and the spray paints.

My favorite thing about this project is that it repurposed the lamp shade and kept it out of the landfill.

If you like repurposing, check out the wall of built-ins we made using salvage shop pieces.

And if you want to see the room where this laundry hamper ended up check out our laundry room remodel. (Although photos in that post were taken before I actually added the hamper to the room.)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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2 of 51 comments
  • Eddie Coffey
    on Mar 1, 2020

    We put casters on ours, works great. Just use plywood for the bottom.

  • Anna Ibarra
    on Mar 5, 2020

    Wow, how cute is this idea. I’ve seen so many huge ugly lamps at thrift store. Now I know.

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