Vinyl Grocery Basket

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Introduction: Vinyl Grocery Basket

About: I like to dabble in a bit of everything: woodworking, metalworking, sewing, electronics.

Since I live across the street from two different grocery stores and around the corner from a produce stand, I wanted some sort of basket to carry my groceries in if I decided to walk there. Also I rarely buy enough stuff to justify a push cart, but often there aren’t baskets by the front door.

Initially I was going to sew it out of canvas, but didn’t want to look like a shop lifter tucking things away into a bag. I figured something out of clear vinyl would be less suspicious.

Step 1: Acquiring Vinyl

I went to Joann Fabrics and picked up the thickest clear vinyl they had. As it turns out, two yards was way too much…

Step 2: Sewing the Box

The main basket was pretty simple, just a big old box sewn from five panels. I left the seams facing out since the vinyl was thick enough I didn’t think it would agree to being turned inside out.

I’d later be putting a metal frame around the top to hold the shape and attach handles, so I folded over the top inch or so and sewed a sort of tube running around the top perimeter.

Step 3: Making the Handles

I picked up these inexpensive tie-down straps to make the handle out of; they ended up being a better deal than just the nylon webbing by itself.

I sewed a small loop at the ends that the frame could slide through.

Step 4: Cutting Space for the Handles

Next was to cut notches in the top tube part where I wanted the handles to attach.

Step 5: Metal Frame

I bent the frame out of 1/4” steel rod. I carefully measured where I wanted to make my bends, heated the corners with a blowtorch, and made my bends in a vice, ending up with a rectangle 15”x11”. I had to make it out of two shorter pieces I had on hand, and just welded them together. If you don’t have a welder, you could either adjust your basket size according to what lengths of frame material you have available, or cut each side separately and not worry about keeping the corners rigid.

Step 6: Inserting the Frame

I left a separation in one of the long sides of the frame so I could feed it through the tube sewn in the top of the basket.

This was definitely the worst part of the whole project, I almost regretted picking such heavy duty vinyl. I probably spent as much time wrestling the frame in as on the rest of the project. I had to be careful to remember to include each handle as I got to their notches. Overall the basket was quick and simple, however if I were to make any more this is the step I’d have to reexamine and probably find some sort of alternative.

Step 7: Plastic Bottom

To give the bottom some rigidity, I used corrugated plastic. This is the same stuff political and yard sale signs are made out of. It cuts easy with a few passes of an xacto knife. I held it in place with a piece of self adhesive Velcro in each corner.

Step 8: Complete

And that’s it! If it weren’t for having to wrestle in the top frame, this would have been a super quick and easy one. Only thing left is to take it for a test run!

Step 9: Test Run

It worked great! All of my groceries made it home, and no one accused me of trying to smuggle produce out of the store, I’d call that a win!

View this project on Instagram.

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    15 Comments

    0
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 2 days ago

    Thank you! I was originally concerned with the thread tearing out of the vinyl, but it's held up great so far.

    0
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 2 days ago

    Thank you so much!

    0
    Pernickety Jon
    Pernickety Jon

    2 days ago

    Attractive and effective solution for the suspicion-less shopping conundrum - no more awkward checking of bags at the checkout.

    Does your basket fold flat for storage? ie top to base with the sides halved like an accordion?

    The strongest fabric bags I've used have the handle strap extending down the side then up the other side to the second handle, like a continuous loop so the 'handles' become the main load-bearing material.

    Spare clear vinyl? If you have a dog or cat 'door' in your house, cut the vinyl into narrow strips about 20mm wide then hang them from the top of the opening, overlapping and two or three deep, for an effective flying insect barrier. Easy for your pets to get through but not the bugs.

    0
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 2 days ago

    Yes, it does sort of accordion down flat.
    I had originally thought about extending the handle straps under the basket, but looping around the metal frame has proven strong enough. No torn seams so far.

    0
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    2 days ago on Step 7

    What's wrong with hauling your groceries in a canvas bag? I got mine from the local library book sale. Wouldn't go anywhere without it. Also made some bags from some upholstery fabric I had. That works great for other things too, like going to the thrift stores.

    2
    Angi2learn
    Angi2learn

    2 days ago on Step 9

    These are so much needed, love the pics too. Pretty sure I will try this one, Thanks

    1
    revmo21
    revmo21

    3 days ago on Step 9

    This basket is such a great idea. So many uses. These would make great organizers in different sizes for different things. Wonder if there is a no sew way like gorilla glue/tape, Velcro, heavy duty staples, or something (fingers crossed). Maybe I can do that with left over boxes and make vinyl windows to see thru instead.
    I have clear backpacks and purses to get through security easier when I go places that don't allow bags and such over a certain size and obscured, so a clear tote bag. A clear resuable lunch bag, because why not.
    Also you could always go retro and just start covering all your furniture in that left over vinyl and only allowing people to sit there on holiday's and special occasions; kidding.

    I need to learn how to sew.

    0
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 3 days ago

    Thank you!
    You could probably attach it with the little rivets and grommets sold for leather working.
    Sewing isn't nearly as complicated as it looks, and once you get the hang of it, it opens up a lot of possibilities! The main sewing machine I use I found for around $15 at a thrift store, so it's only as big of a commitment as you want it to be.

    3
    JudyP63
    JudyP63

    3 days ago on Step 9

    I'm really impressed with this. Since you have lots of vinyl for future projects, I'll give you my tip for sewing on vinyl. You know how the vinyl wanted to stick to the presser foot, so it was kinda hard to feed it through? What helps is putting some invisible scotch tape on the underside of the presser foot. It helps allow the vinyl to slide.

    0
    RobotMitchell
    RobotMitchell

    Reply 3 days ago

    That's a good tip, thank you!

    1
    seamster
    seamster

    5 days ago

    Very clever project, I like the way it turned out. Very useful!