Taking a Basket-Case to the Rodeo…

So, the big blue plastic laundry basket had to go… I’d picked up a Lloyd Loom basket a few years ago, slapped a new top on it and forgotten it could do the job perfectly until this weekend. This is a perfect afternoon project requiring little skill and the pleasure of thwacking stuff with a hammer.

A patriotic yet weary box.
I always take furniture on a night out…

First, gather all the stuff that you need and bung it on a clean surface -this saves buggering about running to the garage/shed for pliers etc. Tools I find essential are a smallish hammer (less damage in the long run) an industrial stapler and staples, a good pair of sturdy pliers, scissors, upholstery tacks and fabric big enough to cover the top. Other oddments are ace for applique on the top -I had some leather scraps I bought in a big bag from a bookbinder for £20 about 10 years ago. A leather needle is great, especially if you are using oilcloth (that plastic-ey tablecloth stuff).

I’d love to be a dentist…

Carefully take off the old cover, then draw around the shape leaving an extra cm margin (better to trim excess than wonder how to make more fabric out of thin air). Make sure that if it has a specific design, it’s the right way up on the finished lid, and the most interesting part of the print is where you want it…This isn’t always in the most logical place!! Cut out the new fabric and add a bit of applique detail if desired (I always like adding stuff, makes it interesting).

The tricky bit is to get the fabric onto the lid without making it look like a complete mess. I’m no upholsterer (which is very obvious when you look at it) but a bit of common sense means your finished effort is at least passable.

I know my limits and accept battered fingers.

Start at the back,  right in the middle. Add your first tack, then a couple spaced evenly either side. Then flip to the front, grab the stapler and pulling the fabric taut (but not enough to make it look like a poor 1970’s face-lift) staple on the underside. Work round the lid, spaced at about hours on the clock and staple under. Trim the excess. (You will have to accept some ‘pleating’ where the fabric gathers over a curved lid, especially with a thicker or plactic-coated cloth. Try pulling a couple of ways before you are happy to staple)…

Now get hammer happy and thwack the rest of the tacks in on the outer rim, evenly spaced. Add a sombrero and some old Wrangler boots and you’re good to go…Who needs therapy when you have a hammer?

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