Recently I was surfing the web, drooling over vintage and vintage-inspired wire laundry hampers, when it hit me: I can make my own.
And I had just the right wire cage in my basement – an old lamp shade frame.
Why a Lamp Shade Frame?
While in the process of organizing my basement last fall, I came across two large, ancient lamp shades – the heavy-duty kind with thick wire frames between the fabric.
The linings inside both shades were starting to disintegrate, so I tore the fabric off until I had only the wire frames left.
At the time I wasn’t sure what I was going to use the frames for, but I knew they would eventually be good for something.
How We Did It
With moderate sewing skills and a few tools, this project is surprisingly easy.
Cutting a 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.
Removing the Cross-Braces
The center cross-braces of the lamp shade frame would not be needed and would get in the way, so my husband, Chris, removed them with wire cutters.
Making the Bottom
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.
Cleaning and Painting
I cleaned the wire frame with steel wool and spray painted it with Rust-Oleum Antique Brass Metallic.
I spray painted the bottom with Rust-Oleum Hammered Dark Bronze.
Sewing the Liner
I will 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 stitched some vintage-looking lace to the top and folded the top over the basket.
I played around with a few other, more complicated ideas for attaching the liner to the basket, but simply folding it over worked. It fits snugly but will be easy to remove and replace when it needs washing.
We are planning to remodel our laundry room sometime this year, and this cute little hamper will be a nice addition.
As for the other frame, it is still in our basement while I wait for more inspiration to come my way.
Want something nicer than a lamp shade frame? Check out these cute laundry hampers, which were my source of inspiration:
Affiliate links used.
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