How to Create a “Vintage” Wire Basket from a Plastic Coated Caddy

I have a thing for old wire baskets.

You?

Well, if you do too it seems we’re not alone.

Have you noticed how pricey they can be at old-wares stores and antique markets nowadays? Man!

Anyhoo, after I shared this pic of Charlotte’s new bedroom shelves a few weeks back…

DIY Vintage Wire Basket

…I received quite a few comments and questions about the sweet old wire basket I had used.

Wanna know a secret?

It’s actually far from old (as in, it’s completely brand new!).

Though it’s not an expensive vintage replica.

It’s simply one of these…

Plastic Coated Basket Before

…after a few toasty hours in a nice, hot fire!

I bought several of these baskets (for around $5 each) years ago with the intention of experimenting with removing the plastic in some way (I found my baskets at Kmart though it seems they may no longer sell them however they can be found in lots of other stores).

I thought I could probably melt the plastic off using either; a heat gun, a blow torch, an oven or a fire. How hard could it be, right?

Well, our domestic heat gun wasn’t hot enough, nor was our mini blow torch (a commercial grade heat gun or blow torch might do the trick though).

The oven melted the plastic to some extent though not enough before it actually began to “bake”. I don’t know, maybe I had the temperature too high or too low, or maybe I didn’t leave it in for long enough? Regardless, it didn’t seem to be the best method anyway as any melted plastic merely relocated itself elsewhere on the wire.

Note: Just in case you’re wondering, I placed the basket on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper then heated it for around an hour at 150 C (300 F).

As I’d suspected from the start, it seemed a fire would be my best – and easiest – bet!

I was going to wait until we next had a little outdoor bon-fire (I guess you could use a pit or drum fire too) though then decided to simply throw it in my parent’s enclosed wood burner.

How to Remove Plastic From a Wire Basket

Two hours later and my perfectly vintage-afied basket was revealed! And it looked so cool!

DIY Industrial Wire Basket from a Plastic Caddy

Not only had the heat melted away ALL of the plastic it had somehow given the wire a gorgeous, grungy patina.

Industrial Wire Basket DIY

The predominately dark graphite wire is accented by chalky white patches. I don’t know where the white freckles came from though they’re not plastic remnants.

DIY Industrial Style Wire Basket

I was impressed (if I do say so myself).

How awesome is it that any cheap plastic coated wire could receive this treatment and it takes absolutely no effort on our part! The fire does all the work.

Thank you fire.

Signature

How to remove the ugly plastic coating from cheap wire baskets to reveal the "vintage" goodness beneath

Note: I did some research and discovered that fumes released from heating most plastics only become toxic if the material burns. Obviously, putting plastic in a hot fire like I did results in the plastic burning which is why I used an enclosed wood burner which vents directly outside. I wouldn’t advise using an indoor open fireplace however any outdoor pit-fire, drum-fire or bon-fire (or similar) located in a well ventilated area should be fine.

 


22 Comments
  1. Deb from Maryland says:

    Very, very cool! or hot…. ;)

  2. Vanessa says:

    Wow, I would not have guess it. Great idea to get that plastic coating off.

  3. Jillian says:

    Brilliant!

  4. Kay & Will says:

    Very clever!

  5. Pamelotta says:

    I did this once with a plastic coated egg basket. Only I didn’t burn it, I peeled it by hand. Each and every wire. 😩
    Thanks so much for the shortcut!

    • Oh no! I thought about using pliers or something Pamelotta though decided I am way too lazy for that :)

  6. Judy says:

    Please be careful, the plastic coating could produce chemical fumes that may not be healthy for you. Great idea, but I would stick to doing it outside.

    • Thanks Judy. Yes, I did research the danger of the fumes which is why I used a fully enclosed wood burner which vents directly outside. It has an air intake though doesn’t leach any smoke or fumes into the house. As mentioned in my post, I would not advise using an open indoor fireplace.
      :)

  7. Melanie says:

    What a great idea! I just found your website via the I ❤️ Naptime link party. I subscribed. 😊

  8. Julie Briggs says:

    What a clever idea! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  9. Chloe says:

    Hey,

    Really great idea which is so simple and produces beautiful results.

    Thanks,
    Chloe
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/lushaprints

  10. Brenda Young says:

    So simple yet effective, I have to remember this trick next time I come across a few of these, and to think All those i’ve passed up over the years!

  11. Jamie says:

    Neat Idea. My wife does things like this all the time but she will love this! :)

  12. Susie says:

    Oh my stars. What a great idea. I must have a dozen of these plastic covered baskets. And I have the perfect spot for a fire out back. Well. Talley ho. Soon I’ll have new-old baskets. Thanks Kristine! We love having you share with us at Friday’s Furniture Fix….. And I’ll be sharing this idea out again on IG later today. Susie From Chelsea Project

  13. Tammy says:

    Can you share where you purchased the brass shelving brackets?

    • Hi Tammy
      I believe you’re based in the US? I bought my brackets from a local supplier here in Australia. I’m sure you’ll be able to find heaps in the US for a much better price than I got mine for! Just do a Google image search for “brass shelf brackets”, or something similar.
      Kristine

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