Laundry Room Project Part 5: DIY Laundry Hamper

DIY Rolling Laundry HamperRight from the start, I had a vision for how this laundry room would come together. With the major components out of the way, the fun began. I envisioned the room having many contrasting elements of old versus new in a shabby chic sort of way. I love upcycling and really wanted to include many re-makes in this room. One of the simplest projects involved the custom wire laundry basket I made for the space.

I found this great tutorial on Apartment Therapy and was able to create an awesome industrial looking laundry hamper. The best part was that I actually had everything I needed on hand with the exception of the fabric.

Materials Needed:

  • Galvanized Square Mesh Fencing
  • Wood circle (about 15″)
  • 4 casters
  • sandpaper, stain and urethane (for the circle) – optional, depending on where you get your circle
  • wire cutters
  • staple gun (tutorial suggests screws, but I used my staple gun)
  • heavy string (for my version of the hamper)
  • binding ribbon ( another adaptation)
  • laundry bag to fit (I made mine)

wood circleWhen I began this project, I decided to start by checking out my stash and sure enough, I had a circle left over from the wooden Lazy Susan I bought for my homemade Rumoli Board last Christmas. I didn’t care about the hole in the middle as it would never be seen. It was the perfect size and would not have needed any sanding, stain or urethane if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted the wood to be a darker tone. It was a simple fix and I like the rustic look of the darker stain.

The casters were originally purchased for another project, but ended up not working so they had been sitting in one of my project bins and would be the perfect size for this hamper.

The wire was bought several years ago and used in lieu of glass/wood in the shaker style doors my husband made for an 80’s dresser that we converted in to a TV cabinet.

With everything I needed at my fingertips, I set to work and had this baby done in record time.

I followed the steps in the Apartment Therapy tutorial exactly. The description and pictures were spot on and easy to follow. I will say that working with the wire is a bit tricky. Mine was rolled up and it was not easy to get it to stay in place while I worked. In addition, the little ends are sharp and you need to be careful. Wearing gloves is probably a good idea, but I found them cumbersome and opted for the pain and discomfort.

When you wrap the wire around the circle, you need to make sure you leave enough wire to overlap. Once you have the sides overlapped, you need to fold the wire ends back over the wire from the other side to secure it. (Sounds complicated but the tutorial makes it easy to understand.) I was really struggling to secure the wires because the fencing just wouldn’t stay in place. In fact, it created so much tension that some of the wires were snapping when I tried to bend them. I was worried that I was not going to be able to secure them properly and I didn’t have enough extra wire (in the overlap) for other options. I ended up running string the length of the overlap. I intended to place the string there temporarily while I bent the wires, and then remove it when I had it all secure. However, I actually liked the look of the string through the wire and ended up re-stringing it in a more patterned look. So in the end, the string serves two purposes, it adds strength to structure and is a nice finishing detail.

I made a second adaptation to the original tutorial, when I added white binding ribbon to the top rim of the finished basket. Although I had trimmed the sharp wires off, I still felt that the fabric of my newly sewn laundry bag might catch on the wire ends. I was going to use hot glue to attach it, but ended up doing a simple stitch all the way around.

Laundry Bag Fabric

The fabric and the binding ribbon were the only things I had to purchase for this project, so the cost was minimal.

The bag was simple enough to make by tracing the base of the hamper and adding an extra inch or more to the edge of the circle to allow for seam allowances and ensure it was a generous fit. The circle becomes the base of the bag. When cutting the fabric for the bag itself, be sure to make it big enough that it fits over the top of the bin. You don’t want to make it too small and then learn that it won’t sit nicely over the top. (You can always “take it in” if it is too large, but too small is a problem.) I also added several extra inches at the top to create a very tall bag (maybe a foot or so beyond the top of the basket) because I wanted to see the printed fabric folded over the edge of the hamper and down a few inches inside the basket.  I simply finished the top seam and folded it over to the desired finished height. I stitched a pocket for the string and then secured the folded over piece for a finished look.

Although I don’t really have a reason to roll my hamper around my tiny laundry room, the wheels work great and I love the finished look!


Laundry Room Project Part 2: Antique Washboard Upcycle

Upcycled Washboard

AFTER: Upcycled antique washboard for my new main floor laundry room.

You may remember my beginning of summer post with so many lofty goals I hoped to accomplish this summer. Although I have definitely fallen short on my scrapbooking goals. I did manage to plow through many of the items on my “to do list”.

I have to say that purging is what took up most of my time. I went through tubs and boxes and old toys and extra linens… name it, I purged it. I posted many items on Kijiji and although there are still lots of items that are up for sale, I have sold a ton and it feels so good to de-bulk. All that accumulated stuff just feels heavy and I must say it is so cleansing to rid your home of all of those things that are not essential and that you just don’t like. As with any great purge, I also came across several great items I forgot I even had. Such was the case with this old washboard that actually once belonged to my mom. (I’m not really sure where she got it, but I do know it once belonged to her and having lost her over 17 years ago – it was a great find and something I wanted to hang on to.)

Finding the old washboard during my summer purge was perfect time with the relocation of our laundry room to the main floor. The washboard was not in great shape and the words on the front plate were faded beyond recognition. I decided to upcycle the washboard to go into my new laundry space. This involved a simple coat of paint and application of the words I wanted on my washboard. I can’t say this was my idea, I saw it on Pinterest and copied the words verbatim. I used the same process when I created the homemade Rummoli board last Christmas. The tutorial I followed for both was from Little Bit Funky.

Letter Transfer:

  1. Create the word art for your project using Word or Pages. To get the curved LAUNDRY word, I inserted a circle and stretched it into a large long oval shape. I used the top edge of the shape to place my letters in the desired shape. To do this you need to place each letter in its own text box and then rotate the box slightly to match the curve of the oval. (In Pages, you hold the command button while clicking a corner of the text box in order to rotate it. )
  2. Carefully glue a piece of freezer paper (waxy side up) t0 a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock. Make sure it is cut to exact size and glued down on all the corners.
  3. Place the paper inside your printer. (If you don’t know if your ink lands on the top or bottom of your page, you may want to do a test run on a blank sheet of paper so you place it in correctly.) *I place my page with the waxy side facing down.
  4. When you go to print the document, you need to choose: BEST quality on plain paper and FLIP HORIZONTALLY (mirror image). Once you choose this option, your print preview will display your image in mirror image. Press print.
  5. Carefully place your image ink side down on the desired surface. You must be very careful not to smear the ink as it is just sitting, wet on top of the waxy surface. You can not adjust it once placed so do it right the first time.
  6. Use the edge of a spoon to press/transfer the lettering/image to the surface.
  7. Spray with a clear coat (urethane) to seal the image and prevent future smearing. Do not drag a brush over it.

I love how this method is not perfect ~ it gives a great vintage look! My laundry room is certainly not at the decorating stage, but I can’t wait to hang this up when it’s ready for the finishing touches.