DIY: Those great grey aged French baskets

We’ve all seen them on Pinterest and our favorite decorating blogs. those fabulous greyed-with-age baskets in French flea markets. Good news–it’s really simple to age baskets yourself!

I started with a dark brown $1 basket from a thrift store. The dark brown works better for aging than straw colored baskets (they would take an initial coat of dark brown wood stain). The brown adds some depth to the lighter greys. The only paint I used for this was Martha Stewart craft paint (which I got on sale of course). The color is Gray Wolf–I’m going to buy a lot more of it. I put some in a cup and dipped a foam brush in water before I brushed it onto the basket. You can vary the opacity of the paint so it looks more authentic–more translucent in some places, more opaque in others. Start on the outside, but also do the inside and the bottom of the basket, letting it dry before you take on the next part. If you want more paint, you can always add it as a second coat.

That’s it! You’re done. And you’ll love the results.

I went a little farther added a label from a piece of painter’s tarp I had left over from my great-grandmother pillows. I printed out a French flower sign from–you guessed it–The Graphics Fairy (where would we all be without her ?) I printed this on my inkjet (using an 8.5″ x 11″ adhesive label sheet as backing for the fabric–use fray check on the edges of the fabric so the threads don’t get caught in your printer and leave about 1/8 of the edge of the sheet that’s going to be fed into the printer first bare–no fabric. The person I got this fabric printing technique from on Pinterest wisely said to test this on an old printer so you don’t wreck your main printer. Great advice.)

Once I cut the fabric to the size I wanted, I peeled off the adhesive backing and used ModPodge to attach it to the basket. Some bits of the dried ModPodge show on the fabric, but I’m into accidents and imperfectionst! I really like the whole effect. If you’re more of a perfectionist–you could always hand stitch the label on at the corners.

I’ve got some old picnic baskets I’m going to age next. I may trick one out as a Marie Antoinette basket with all the picnic trimmings!


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