How to Make Waste Paper Baskets From Old Newspapers

How to Make Waste Paper Baskets From Old Newspapers

How to Make Waste Paper Baskets From Old Newspapers


Reusing old newspapers to make waste paper baskets is a fun and creative way to repurpose what would otherwise be trash. It’s also a great activity to do with kids to teach them about recycling and arts and crafts. Making newspaper baskets requires just a few simple materials and some basic techniques. In this article, I will provide step-by-step instructions on how to make waste paper baskets from old newspapers.

Gather Materials

To make newspaper baskets, you will need:

  • Old newspapers – The more pages the better. Aim for at least 10-20 sheets per basket. The pages should be full sheets, not already shredded or cut up.

  • Balloon – Any standard 9-12 inch party balloon. This will be used as the mold.

  • Flour and water – To make newspaper “paste” to assemble the baskets. You’ll need about 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water per basket.

  • Bowl – For mixing the paste.

  • Paint brush – For applying the paste to the newspaper sheets. A standard 2-3 inch brush works well.

  • Container – A plastic tub, bucket or other container to hold the balloon mold while assembling the basket. It should be at least 6 inches deep.

Make the Newspaper Paste

First, make the paste that will hold the newspapers together:

  1. In a bowl, mix 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of water and stir until it forms a smooth paste.

  2. Add more flour or water as needed until it reaches a glue-like consistency – thick but still able to be brushed on.

Tips for the paste:

  • Stir out any lumps in the paste. Lumps can cause weak spots in the basket.

  • The paste should coat the paintbrush but not be too drippy.

  • Make the paste fresh for each basket. Don’t use paste that has sat for more than an hour.

Shape the Newspaper Basket

Here is how to assemble the newspaper basket on the balloon mold:

  1. Inflate the balloon to the desired basket size and tie it closed. 9-12 inches around is a standard waste basket size.

  2. Place the balloon in a container so it stands upright without rolling around.

  3. Tear newspaper pages into strips approximately 2-3 inches wide. Try to use full sheets rather than already shredded pieces.

  4. Brush a strip with paste and smooth it onto the balloon, overlapping about 1 inch with the next strip.

  5. Continue gluing strips around the balloon until the entire surface is covered. Smooth the paper as you go and wipe away excess paste.

  6. Do a second layer of newspaper strips for extra strength. Make sure to fully cover any holes from the first layer.

  7. Do 2-3 total layers, waiting for each layer to dry before adding the next.

  8. Let the entire mache dry overnight before removing from the balloon.

Tips for assembling:

  • Work in vertical strips from top to bottom rather than spiraling. This helps the basket hold its shape better.

  • Smooth out wrinkles and bumps in each strip as you go for a nice rounded shape.

  • Apply paste to both surfaces being joined to maximize adhesion.

  • Add extra paste and paper over weak seams and holes.

Remove Balloon and Finish Basket

Once the paper mache has dried fully overnight, you can remove it from the balloon:

  1. Pop the balloon with a pin and pull it out segment by segment.

  2. Trim any jagged newspaper edges using scissors to smooth out the rim of the basket.

  3. Apply 2-3 more layers of newspaper strips around the inside rim for strength and a finished look.

  4. Let the final layers dry fully, then you can start using your handmade waste paper basket!

Finishing tips:

  • Check for any small holes or weak points and patch them with extra paper and paste before the final layers.

  • If desired, give the basket an attractive look by painting or decoupaging the outside.

  • You can give the basket a waterproof finish by coating the inside and outside with decoupage or polyurethane.

And that’s it! With some newspaper, paste, and balloons you can create reuseable waste baskets for any room. Get creative with shapes, sizes, and decorative finishes.

Helpful Tips and Variations

Here are some additional pointers and creative ways to make unique newspaper baskets:

  • For extra durability, do 4-5 total layers of newspaper rather than just 2-3. The more layers, the stronger it will be.

  • Consider plastic-coated paper for a more waterproof, flexible basket, like from newspaper flyer inserts. The plastic coating helps it hold shape better.

  • Use different size balloons like 16 inches or larger to make bigger baskets for laundry, toys, or storage.

  • Make cylindrical baskets by using cylindrical molds like oatmeal containers or paper towel tubes.

  • Get creative with shapes – square, hexagonal, bowl shaped, etc. Use any container as a mold.

  • Decorate the dried baskets with acrylic paints, markers, decoupage, stickers or fabric scraps to make them look more finished.

  • Add handles by looping and gluing rope, ribbon, or fabric strips on the sides.

With some creativity and reused newspaper, you can craft custom baskets ideal for organizing any space!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of flour works best for the paste?

All-purpose white flour gives the strongest adhesion for newspaper baskets. Whole wheat or other high-protein flours are also effective options.

How long does the basket take to dry?

Each layer of newspaper strips will dry in 2-4 hours under a fan. Allow the completed basket to dry overnight before removing from the balloon mold.

What can I use if I don’t have a balloon?

Instead of a balloon, you can shape the basket over any rounded object like a bowl, bucket, or plastic container. Crumple newspaper inside to hold the shape.

How do I waterproof the basket?

Applying 2-3 coats of decoupage or polyurethane sealant to the inside and outside of the finished basket makes it water resistant.

Can I recycle the basket when I’m done with it?

Yes! When it’s time to dispose of a newspaper basket, simply recycle it with your other paper items or use it as compostable waste.

Final Thoughts

Crafting creative baskets from old newspapers is an enjoyable activity that reduces waste and teaches reuse. With some simple supplies and techniques, you can make sturdy baskets customized for any need. Add your own artistic touches or get children involved for a fun family project. Your handmade newspaper baskets will be as practical as they are eco-friendly.