How to Paint a Basket: Basket Makeover for under $5 - Before photoI received this basked as part of a gourmet food basket a few years ago for Christmas. I’ve always loved the shape of it and the quality was fantastic. It has a few flaws, like a mysterious red crayon line….we don’t have crayons in the house. Weird. But since I’ve redone our living room, it no longer fit my decor so I figured, what the heck, and decided to paint it.

Painting a Basket - start clean and dry

How to Paint a Basket: Supplies

You don’t need a lot of supplies to makeover your basket. An acrylic paint, a good paint brush, and something to clean or wipe it and you’re all set. I use a stiff bristled brush to get into all the cracks and crevices before painting. Those are the basics and they’ll cost you under $5 to complete.

If you want to age or antique your basket there are a few more supplies and steps, but they’re still not expensive. You’ll need a candle, very fine grit sand paper, tintable antiquing medium, an antique paint color, and finishing wax.

Painting a Basket - Rub basket with wax

An easy way to add age to a basket is to rub areas with candle wax. Generally anywhere a basket would show age – the rim, the bottom, and the sides. Brush away any extra wax and then start painting with your base coat, in my case neutral gray.

Painting a Basket - Wipe away drips

The secret to painting woven baskets is to use very thing coats. If you try to paint too thick of a coat, the basket can absorb the moisture. Light coats dry faster and avoid that mess. As you’re painting, check the alternate side for paint seeping through. Brush it to fan out the paint so you don’t end up with a clump.

Painting a Basket - Base Color Applied

Paint one to two coats of the base coat depending on the paint you’re using and the amount of coverage you want. Be sure to let the layers dry completely before moving on. Once you’re ready, mix your antique color (I chose white for a whitewashing effect) and mix it 2 to 1 with a product like Martha Stewart  Tintable Antique Effect. I like it because it’s waterbased-non toxic, lets you do antique finish in any color, cleans up while wet with soap and water, is UV and weather resistant-for indoor and outdoor use, and provides extra adhesion on glass (which is then top-shelf dishwasher safe), and it works fabulously.

Painting a Basket - Antiquing Candle

You want it thin enough to move around, but not so thin it’s runny. The Antique Effect gives the paint more drying time so you can paint it on and wipe it off.
Painting a Basket - Mixing your own whitewash

It’s always scary when you paint on the antiquing over the base color. I think I always panic just a bit and worry that I’ve messed it up. Generally that’s not the case. As long as you brush it on and start wiping away the excess within 3-5 minutes you should be fine. Leaving the antique on longer will allow it to dry and it likely won’t be the look you’re after.Painting a Basket - removing excess white antique

Using a soft, clean cloth or paper towels, wipe away the extra concentrating on where the basket would have aged over the years and leaving it thinker in the corners and crevices. If the tintable antique is too dry and you’re not able to wipe away as much as you’d like, load a paintbrush with plain tintable antique and scrub it into the area that’s dried. It will reactivate the antiquing paint and allow you to wipe it away.

Painting a Basket - Whitewashing Antiquing

Continue adding antiquing paint and wiping away until you’re happy with the results. Allow the paint to dry for 2-3 hours.

Repainting a Basket - Final Sanding

Use a very fine grit sandpaper (600+) or steel wool to go over the areas that you waxed before painting. This will expose the original basket underneath. Sand VERY softly or you’ll sand away more than you mean to.

Painting a Basket - wax protected areas come through

Continue sanding until you’re happy with the finish and then use a finishing wax like Plaid Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Wax, Clear to complete your project. Most have you paint it on, allow it to sit for 3o-60 minutes, then the buff with a dry cloth to bring out a sheen.  You’ll need to wax it every few years to keep the finish fresh.

Repaining a Basket - After Photo

TPainting a Basket - After Photo

That’s it! My basket now looks fabulous and I use it as a Grandma’s Treat Basket for my grand dogs.

How to Paint a Basket: Basket Makeover for under $5 - after photo

The finished project. I love a worn and weathered look. What would you like to repaint in your home to give new life?