diy project: mail basket


Spontaneous piles seem to form around my house. Mail is probably the most often piled culprit. Why worry about opening mail and filing it when you can stack it up for a week? If you feel the same but are looking for a way to appease the neat freaks in your life, why not make a cool-looking basket for it? — Matt

See the full how-to after the jump!


  • 5/8″ wide hardwood dowel
  • 1 x 2 hardwood board
  • leather straps
  • heavy waxed thread
  • tacks



  • saw
  • drill press
  • pocket screw jig
  • drill
  • tack hammer
  • leather hole punch or awl
  • heavy waxed thread
  • leather needle



1. Cut your wood pieces first. Grab the 1 x 2 and cut a 12″ piece and two 6″ pieces. Cut a dowel piece to 12 1/2″.

2. Time to drill holes: Measure the centers and 3/4″ from the front end of the 6″ pieces, and drill a 5/8″ wide hole that’s 1/2″ deep to accept the dowel. Drill your pocket holes on the ends of the 12″ back piece.

3. Cut your leather strap piece to 11″ lengths. I used six pieces. On one end, punch four holes — two close to the end, and two about 2″ in. You can wrap a piece around your dowel and judge how close you want to punch your holes. After punching holes, I ran some waxed thread though three or four times, tied it toward the back with a square knot and cut the ends.

4. After sewing up all your straps, assemble them to the dowel piece, spacing them evenly, and then you can tack them to the back board. Lay them nice-side down and nail some tacks to the top edge. Make sure to nail them near the top so you can lift them up to screw the frame to the wall and so your screws will be hidden underneath.

5. Lastly, we’re ready to assemble the frame. Attach one side piece using pocket screws in the pocket holes you drilled earlier. Insert the dowel to the attached side, then screw together the other side piece. You might need to tap the dowel with a mallet and ensure that it’s squared with the back piece. After assembly, you can attach it to the wall simply by drilling through the back — the screws will be hidden if you center them under a couple straps.


Super cool looking and great instructions. I could see making one to fit a roll of paper towels as well.


This is cute. I wonder if you could make an easier variation of this nice idea by attaching some ribbon to a paper towel dispenser…


Love this! And it really doesn’t have to be leather, does it? At least, I can’t see why any other fabric wouldn’t work… Totally bookmarking this for future creation, thanks! :)


This is really lovely and simple, plus it looks pretty manageable to make…I’ve got some leather that needs to be worked into a project, think this is just the thing!


I wonder if you could make an even easier version out of a paper towel holder. Maybe some ribbons too?


oh my great looking & smart…also some great ideas in comments!
Thanks for sharing!…beats my drawer of shame!


Matt, you always make the best stuff on here. I never get sick of your DIYs or instagram posts.


adding pegs on the side would let you hang your keys too. would love to buy this on etsy – i’m not handy with tools…

Reimo Leiger

Great job!

In case you haven’t seen it yet. A really cool and rustic handcrafted wood furniture maker has surfaced. Check it out: I just ordered a couple of lamps :)


What a great tutorial I bet you could recycle old leather belts and use those as well!


Does anyone have a good resource for the leather straps?? I have some great chairs that need new ones and can’t find them anywhere. Thanks!

J Markley

Cool! I’ll bet there is even an IKEA paper towel rack that can be approriated for this! Yeh, I’m just that lazy! ;)


Ok, I know DIY is the name of this column but after looking at this project I thought that buying an already made wooden paper towel holder would work well too. Only suggesting this as I don’t have the wood working tools. It’s a great project!


Yes, if you can come up with something this elegant for kids’ mitts and hats – especially for the mitts that i feel like i’m forever searching through our basket for matching pairs. Sigh… It would make my year!!

Annabella Merlin

Wow this is really really cute! But I am not quite sure if I am capable of making those holes. But al least I have an idea on how to make a mail basket. I’ll figure something out from this concept without having to make those holes. Or maybe I’ll have to ask my husband to do the wood work for me. :)

Annabella Merlin
Creative Photo Albums


Vey cool but could you please explain how to drill the “pocket holes” annd what kind of drill you would use?


I think I may make a couple of these in a slightly larger version for the kids to throw their shoes in by the door. Super clever!

depending on how much mail you get, you could make this out of a decorated shoe box. Just cut off the bottom and hot glue the ribbons where the straps are.