How to "Waste" Papercomments (14) January 19th, 2009
For years I had used an old wicker basket as a trash receptacle beneath my craft table. I believe the piece began life as a small porch stool or side table, but when I found it curbside in New York many years ago, it looked like a basket to me so I rescued it and christened it a trash can.
From the beginning it was an unhappy relationship. To start with, the piece had been painted many times so it was thick with globs of latex and not a very attractive thing to look at each day when I entered my studio. Furthermore, everything from dirt, eraser residue, and pencil shavings went right through the bottom and always left a pile of messy debris to be swept up off the floor. Flecks of paint would fall off it whenever I touched it, and I would end up tracking these all over the house. Worst of all, the wicker had started to come unwoven along its edge, which meant I risked getting stabbed each time I reached for it.
Over the holidays, a friend remarked that my basket would make a perfect complement to some patio furniture he'd picked up at a flea market. Happy to pass the piece along to a new home, I reached down to hand it to him only to have it thank me with one final, very painful sliver that I am still trying to work out of my thumb.
A few days later, still sporting a Band-Aid, I went off to the store to see if I might find a replacement trash can. All that was on offer were neon-colored plastic models or chintz-patterned fiber-board pieces. If the styles weren't deterant enough, the prices certainly were: The least expensive one among them was $26; the most expensive one was more than $60. For...a...trash...can! For a small trash can!
So home again home again, I came, brow knit with indignation and jaw set with determination. I rifled through my tool box and poked around my closets until I came up with an idea and ample materials to do the job myself. The result is a vast improvement over my old wicker basket and, as crafters everywhere know, there is little that comes close to the satisfaction of making something for yourself. That I was able to do so without spending a dime made me doubly happy.
All you will need to mimic my success is an old magazine (one with good-quality, high-gloss pages works best) and a grommet setter. If you don't have a grommet setter—and don't want to invest in buying one—nearly the same results can be achieved using a hole punch and some plastic zipper-ties similar to those used to bind together wires and cables.
I did a little experimenting and found that approximately 10 standard magazine pages offered enough heft to give my project the structure I wanted. Feel free to use more pages if you would like your basket to be more rigid. Also, when deciding what pages should adorn the exterior of your piece, try to find pages that are either colorful or have a pretty pattern. With a little patience and some elbow grease, you can transform a handful of trash into a handsome trash can.
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