How to Make a Vintage-Inspired Laundry Hamper

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.

Old lamp shade similar to the ones I found

The linings inside both shades were starting to disintegrate, so I tore the fabric off until I had only the wire frames left.

DIY laundry hamper using a lamp shade frame
Wire frame of lampshade

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.

DIY Laundry hamper
Cutting out the cardboard 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.

DIY laundry hamper bottom
Pressboard bottom with notches cut for wires

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.

DIY laundry hamper detail
Lace around the top

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.

DIY laundry hamper finished

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:


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10 Replies to “How to Make a Vintage-Inspired Laundry Hamper”

  1. I sooooo love this! I’m featuring it this week on Shabbilicious Friday~ Thanks so much for inspiring us…looking forward to all your projects! xo

  2. What a clever idea! I love it!! The added lace is so sweet. I have a fun laundry cart on wheels similar to the rectangular one that was one of your inspiration photos. I’ve had it for years and still love it! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  3. Heidi, I can’t believe you made this! It’s beautiful! I have been drooling over those very same wire hampers and this idea was genius!
    Thanks so much for sharing at Something to Talk About!

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