diy project: sunset-dyed basket liner + pouch

This is the second project in Brittany’s summer DIY series! You can see the first project from last week, a copper tubing side table, by clicking here. — Kate

Picnics and bicycles are an absolute must in Denmark. I’ve been wanting to combine the two, so I decided to maximize the space in my bike basket by creating a liner that could also act as a drawstring bag for the inevitable waste that comes at the picnic’s end. I came up with a liner with pockets for cutlery and additional holders for napkins and whatever else your heart desires. I ran a ribbon through it so it would be a cinch to pack up at the end. The best part of the project was creating the sunset effect, which I’ll show you here. Since all baskets are not created equal, I will explain how I did it to my basket and then you can customize it to yours. — Brittany Watson Jepsen

Photography by Hilda Grahnat

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • white fabric (1 yard was enough for my basket)
  • 2 yards of contrasting ribbon
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  • fabric paint
  • spray bottle
  • pencil
  • safety pin



1. Trace the bottom of your basket with a pencil, leaving an extra 1/2″ and cut out. I’ll call this A.

2. Hold the basket against the fabric on its side, and roll it over and trace the shape of the roll on the fabric. This will be the main piece. Cut it in half so you have two pieces. I’ll call this B and C.

3. Cut the same shape but make the height lower so that if a fork was sticking out, only the head would show. Again, cut the shape in half so you have two. I’ll call this D and E.

4. With B and C, sew 1/4″ in to leave a nice edge on one side. You can even tuck it under so you don’t see any raw edges. Do the same with pieces D and E.

5. Place D onto B and pin in place.

6. Pin A onto the bottom edge of D and B, and sew around D and B around the circle of A.

7. Repeat with E and C.

8. Sew the new merged pieces together on either side so that the raw edges are facing in. You should now see the bag starting to take shape.

9. Sew single lines at intervals where you’d like your utensils to go, making sure you make a few larger ones for larger items, too.

10. Fold the top edge down and sew 1/2″ down. There should be enough room to slide two ribbons through. Make sure you leave a hole on either side for the ribbon outlets.

11. Put a safety pin onto the edge of one ribbon, slide it through one hole and go all the way around until it meets back where you started.

12. With the second ribbon, start on the opposite hole and do the same. You should now have your simple drawstring bag liner!

13. To paint your bag, fill your sprayer with a few drops of paint. Add about 1″ of water and test it out on a scrap piece of fabric.

14. With another sprayer, add a different color and repeat the process. I used four colors total (red, pink, yellow, orange).

15. Move on to your final drawstring bag and spray at random. Spray on top of other colors to create a nice layered effect. Leave some parts white, too.

16. For a stronger color, let it dry and then try it out again.

17. Fit your lining onto your basket, and voila!

It’s been so nice using it for easy clean up at the end of our picnics. Enjoy!

  1. Constance says:

    Yay for picnicking! Too bad I can’t sew to save my life. Sheesh, I have literally had 3 sewing machines with smoke coming out of them. For the safety of sewing machines, I stay away from them.

  2. Jee says:

    This is brilliant. Love these DYI projects.

  3. Clara says:

    Hi! the spray paint is such a good idea!
    but… does it last? is there any risk it might ‘leak’ when it’s raining?
    please tell me it’s perfect and there’s no need to worry…!!

  4. rachael says:

    This is fantastic! So brilliant! Love the spray method of dyeing – I cannot wait to try this!

  5. Hug says:

    makes me want to go on a nice picnic

  6. Angela says:

    Not only a nice idea. It´s also very practical.

  7. Marjan says:

    Great idea to ‘air brush’ your fabrics with a sprayer!

  8. Scissors, obviously, this basket was intended for something else when the designer started out…like knitting or crochet. But then she changed her mind. Food was more important. So forks,spoons and knives went into the pockets which should have been used for crochet hooks, DPNs, knitting needles. And the center should have been filled with yarn? Who needs food when you’ve got knitting? Just bike to a restaurant or fast-food joint if you’re hungry. Priorities, people, priorities!

  9. Jessica says:

    Am I the only one that got totally confused by these instructions?!? :(

  10. Tracey says:

    Jessica…you’re not alone…I couldn’t follow either…and I’ve been sewing since I was 6. Sewed my own pair of Elvis Presley pants for my first day of kindergarten and now I design my own patterns and I got lost at step 1.5ish…#[

  11. katie says:

    Oh so lovely, just right for my Poppy Pashley, the sewing machines coming out now!

  12. Amie says:

    I cannot understand these instructions. The photos do not follow. I’ve read it through 5 times now, and nothing makes sense.

    1. Kate Pruitt says:

      Hi Amie,

      Sorry for the confusion! I went back to inspect the project, and you are right that the first few images were placed incorrectly. I made the adjustments and placed the images in the proper place. Is there a step you need us to clarify, or is there anything we can elaborate on to help? Let us know!

  13. Diane Moore says:

    Still never answered the question on whether the spray paint wil run when it gets wet!

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      no, it shouldn’t run. but i suggest a GLOSS finish on the spray to ensure that. sometimes the matte finishes are prone to rubbing off or leaving a residue.


  14. this is such an awesome use for my old sheets. Loved the pattern but it was time to switch fabrics, and this is a fun way to keep my favorite patterns current around the home. Thanks!!


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