Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcycled Brown Grocery Bag Basket

Now for a new and exciting NO SEW tutorial that I have been planning for a while. I think this project is so easy and fun and it can be used in so many ways.

I came across a baggie of Paper Twist at the thrift store a couple years ago and remembered these brown paper bag baskets my mom taught me how to make a long time ago. I found out they still sell the paper twist at the craft stores.

So I decided to revisit this pattern but I updated it a bit since the ones we made in the 80s were mauve and country blue calico with big bows ;)

I used red burlap, brown paper twist and this music fabric I found at Hobby Lobby. The fabric was black and white so I dipped it in a bucket of hot water with a little tan dye to age it some.

To make the basket you will also need 2 large brown grocery bags and a glue gun. So next time you go to the store if they ask "paper or plastic" you know. I go to self checkout a lot and they have paper bags there too, so I take one or two when I have heavy items.

I tear my fabric strips so they are a little ragged on the edges. Just measure 4" and snip through the selvedge edge and then rip it the rest of the way. You will need 3 strips for weaving around the outside. I also cut 3 strips 4" wide of the burlap.

Measure up about 9 1/2 inches on the sides of your two bags.

Cut off the top so your sides are 9 1/2" the put one bag inside the other to make it doubled.

Fold the top of the bags down about 2 inches and hot glue the two bag tops together then glue the folded edge down all the way around.

So your basket base will look nice and neat like this.

Now go turn on the TV to your favorite show and sit down and untwist the paper twist.
This takes a little while. You have to untwist it and gently pull it open so it looks like this.
Then I roll it up so it is ready to work with. Measure two pieces of the paper twist to go from the inside front of the bag, under the bottom and wrap up the back side.
Glue the ends of the first piece to the inside of the bag.

I am totally stupid when it comes to using glue guns and always end up with at least one nasty blister. I hope you are better than me at this. But you might want to find a plastic knife or something to use to push the paper down on the glue so as to avoid the blister part of this project.

And you also might be smarter than me and not leave it laying on your $60 Olfa Cutting Mat. Apparently they warp from heat. But I will worry about that tomorrow. Sigh...

Glue the other pieces on to cover the front and back of the bags. Don't worry if they don't fit exactly because you will want to scrunch them a little anyway when you weave the fabric through.
Now you want to weave the side pieces through the bottom before gluing them down.
Just do an over/under thing and then pull the ends up the sides and glue.

Take your ripped fabric strips and starting at one corner weave it all the way around the bag. Leave the ends loose for now.

Add the other two strips, scrunching them a bit as your go so they all fit in there.

Now glue the ends down under the corner pieces to hide all of them.

And put a couple dots of glue here and there to secure everything.

Step back and admire your basket weaving skills. You might want to fluff it and cut off some loose threads too.

Cut 3 strips of paper twist about 24" long and glue the ends together. Braid them together to make a handle.

Glue the ends of the handle to the inside of the basket. Press it down as flat as you can get it.

I made a lining for my basket from some tea dyed osnaberg linen. Since I promised a "no sew" project I did it with hot glue, although I probably would have found it easier to zip this up on the sewing machine. Or you could line it with tissue paper or wrapping paper if you don't want to use fabric.

I cut a rectangle about 22"X26" and folded the 26" side in half. Glue the side seams together.

Now open the sides out to make a point in the center.

Place the bag on top to find the width of the bottom of the basket, fold and glue the triangle up to the side seam.

Fold under the top of the lining and glue to the top edge of the basket. It won't fit perfect so do a little scrunching where needed to make it fit.

I added a little paper twist rosette and glued it to a burlap leaf. I am thinking about glittering it, but haven't made it that far yet.

This makes a cute gift basket for Christmas gifts, but I also use them for centerpieces and even for holding guest towels and extra TP rolls in the powder room, or anything else you need a basket for.


I am linking up to:


freckled laundry

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special



  1. Hermoso trabajo!!!
    Muy original! y gracias por el tutorial!
    Un beso!

  2. Oh, I so remember making those back in the late '80's/early '90's! My sister and I made tons of them and sold as many as we could make! Your updated version is very, very cute!



  3. I made a basket like this a long time ago. I remember using wide paper twist to cover the outside of the paper bags. Very sweet!

  4. did you think of this.pretty cool

  5. I love this! Great tutorial, too. Thanks so much for linking to air your laundry Friday again!


  6. very cute! I can't wait to try this out!
    visiting from JaG.

  7. Beautiful! Great idea for recycling bags . . . these would look beautiful under the Christmas tree. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have to try some of this paper twist stuff. I seem to remember it from awhile back. But I've never seen anything like this beauty!

  9. What an innovative basket! I love this idea. Well done.

  10. I am sitting here with my jaw hanging on my keyboard (makes it hard to type) in amazement! This is so cool. I could just hug you right now for this tut. Thanks heaps.

  11. I featured you over at Sassy Sites Trash to Treasure TUESDAY! Come by and check it out... don't forget to grab a featured button! :) Great job on the transformation!

    -marni @ Sassy Sites! xoxo

  12. I really like this. I featured it on my blog tonight...thanks for sharing!

  13. This bag is so cool! Thanks for sharing!

  14. This looks like such a cool and fun craft! I would love to publish it for you on! We have a lot of readers who are looking for projects just like this. Let me know if you’re interested!

  15. I remember making these w/ my mom as a kid, but could'nt qwite remember how. So this tutorial is exactly what I needed. found on pinterest.

  16. I loooooove this!! This is a fantastic way to give a gift: knitter/crocheters would love this as a gift with yarn and needles/hooks, teachers would love this as a beginning of the year gift filled with stuff for him/her and/or the class, and of course it's great for a Christmas gift filled with homemade/baked goodies. You're awesome!!

  17. You are great... I can totally relate to the hot glue gun blisters! Thanks for the tutorial.

  18. You are great... I can totally relate to the hot glue gun blisters! Thanks for the tutorial.

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