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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