How to Paint an Old Basket

3 Materials
30 Minutes

I am not one of those people who is in love with every basket I see! I would say, I’m more a nonbasket person, or at least a picky basket person! But, because I know how popular baskets are, I always have some in my shop! Sometimes a basket could use a little upgrade or refresh, so today I’m going to show you how to paint an old basket!

So kind of like I don’t love every basket I see, I also don’t think you should paint every basket you see. Or at least the technique you use should depend on the style of basket you have.

I would have never imagined painting a traditional vintage picnic basket, yet the ones I have seen are super cute! White, pink, green, black, I’ve seen quite a few where they’ve painted the entire basket, top included and then distressed with some sand paper. Voila! Instant improvement!

So because I love giving new life to old things, we are going to paint this basket.

Checkout My Inspiration Basket

As a dealer/reseller I often try to sell things as is first. If something doesn’t sell then I like to do something that will help it sell! This basket just screamed to me paint! Because of the shape of the basket you are slightly limited to how you can utilize it for something other than decor.

For example this is a great shape for a trash can, yet due to the handle, you would never actually be able to remove a bag of trash from the basket. Because of it’s woven material, it is somewhat light weight, so you can not go sticking anything heavy in it, like some long spindles.

This texture also makes fabric a little bit tricky as it could snag on the basket. I do think you could use it as a vase for some faux stems, like maybe some fig leaf stems. You could drape an old vintage quilt out of it or some sheep skin too!

And because of the shape of the basket I think it looks great all by itself too! ESPECIALLY with it’s new coat of paint! It totally takes your traditional vintage basket and adds a modern twist!

What You Need Basket

First find yourself a cute basket. If you are reading this, then you probably already go to your local thrift shops or fill your weekends hitting up garage sales. But, in case you didn’t know, that is the perfect place to find a cheap old basket!

If you are nervous about painting a basket for the first time, then I would suggest buying two! Maybe one you love and one you REALLY love! Paint the one you love first. As they say you learn by doing and you learn by failure.

After you tackle painting one basket you will quickly figure out ways you could improve your technique so that you are ready to tackle the basket you REALLY love! Practicing should help you with those nerves and you should still be able to use the same can of spray paint, so there is minimal extra cost.


Now that you have yourself a basket, or two! You will also need to pick a paint color! You can pick a color to match the room you want to put it in. Or pick your favorite color! Still can’t decide? Black and white are always great go to’s and will fit most spaces.

One can should be plenty for this project. But after this transformation, you may be wanting to paint everything in your house!


Basket, check. Paint, check. Now you need tape so that you can have a nice crisp line. I had some wide painters tape laying around like this, so that’s what I used. But any type of tape should work that is wide and sticky. Since the basket is so textured, tackiness really does matter.

Covering for Over Spray

Then you need something to help with overspray. When I’m doing this project, it is the middle of winter with snow on the ground, so I need to be able to run outside, paint the basket and then run back inside to let it set in the heat to dry.

There is such a thing as too cold to spray paint, even if you use the technique I described above, so be sure to read the directions on the can.

I have a lot of random trash bags. Ones that have been used, but not really used. You see, when I ship products I reuse packing boxes and materials. Some of the local businesses, including the dialysis center collect air pillows and bulb wrap for me. When I pick it up, it’s normally been thrown into a trash bag.

Now, me being the recycler that I am, I have a hard time not saving and trying to use all of those bags. I thought this project would be the perfect time to use one of them again!

One more item I would suggest having on hand would be a ruler or tape measure. Depending on what you are going to paint on your basket and how large your basket is would determine which measuring tool would work best.

  • Basket
  • Spray Paint
  • Tape
  • Covering for the over spray
  • Ruler or tape measure

Tip: Be sure your basket is free of dust. Use a toothbrush or other brush to clean the basket.

Steps to Painting Your Old Basket

Decide What You Are Painting on the Basket

Now that you’ve picked your supplies, you need to decide what on the basket you are actually painting. You could paint the entire thing, paint stripes, paint flowers, or do some color blocking like I did.

Typically when you do anything in the artistic field you want to do it in thirds. So for my basket I decided to just paint the bottom 3rd of the basket. Following the rule of thirds I could also have followed the elements and principles of design by painting 2/3rds of the basket. Knowing these design principles can be the difference between a finished product’s success and failure.


Once we have decided what or how much we are going to paint, then we can measure. First measure the total basket. For example, for this basket I would not worry about including the height of the handle. I would just measure the basket and then divide by 3. Then use that number to measure from the bottom. Either measuring up one third of the way or two! This will determine where our tape or line will go.

Measure from the bottom of the basket in increments using a pencil to mark the same distance all the way around. For my basket I went up 4 inches. Then I lined up my tape on those marks.

Cover What You Do Not Want Painted

Next I put the basket in the plastic trash bag, covering up what I did not want paint on. I again used tape to secure the trash bag. I made sure that this tape did not interfere or cover up the tape that I used to make my crisp straight line.


Because there was snow on the ground I was a little limited as to how I could paint the basket. There just happened to be a tomato cage sitting by my back door. I had collected a few to use for a project for my 25 Days of Christmas, but I never got to that project.

I used the tomato cage to keep the basket off the ground and this allowed me to spray paint all the way around the basket. I did decide to periodically turn the basket to make sure that I got most of the nooks and crannies from the weaving.

If you think about where you will put your basket, that will help you make sure that you get everything covered in paint. For example if I am going to put it high, like on top of my kitchen cabinets then I would want to make sure that when the basket is high and I am looking up, that those areas are well covered with paint.

On the other hand if I am going to place the basket on the ground, then I will want to stand above it and make sure everything is well covered from that angle.

Let It Dry

Then, I brought the basket in to dry. Now it’s ready to be used!

  1. Decide what you will be painting on your basket
  2. Measure and tape as needed
  3. Cover any areas that you do not want painted
  4. Paint
  5. Let the paint dry


Now it’s time to show off your finished product! Put it in your home and send me a picture via email, below in comments, or tag me on social @thejunkparlor

How to Paint an Old Basket


  • Basket
  • Spray Paint
  • Tape
  • Covering for the Over Spray
  • Ruler or Tape Measure


  • Decide what you will be painting on your basket
  • Measure and tape as needed
  • Cover any areas that you do not want painted
  • Paint
  • Let the paint dry

If you like this project, then you might also like:

Twine Easter Eggs

Paper Mache Pumpkins

Paper Stack Tree

This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.

Hi, I’m Brooke. Welcome to The Junk Parlor.



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Brooke Johnson
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