Wooden Wastebasket

More utilitarian woodworking for the home

A wastebasket made of wood

May 2006

horizontal rule


I hate wicker.


Regular 3/8 inch plywood, fastened with bright finishing nails, patched with wood filler, stained with a mixture of cherry and maple stains, and finished with a matte clear poly-acrylic topcoat.

The Process

First, I measured for the sides of the box. I wanted the wastebasket to have the internal size of a brown paper grocery bag, so that such a bag could be used as a liner. So, I basically just laid a bag down on the plywood, and added a half inch to each measurement to account for the thickness of the wood. Then I cut.

Have you seen the error yet? I should have added an inch to the long sides, and just a little to the short sides. I had to do a sort of rotating overlap at the corners to compensate for this error. Also, I didn't add enough to the height of the sides to compensate for the thickness of the bottom. Sigh. Luckily, neither of these errors is fatal.

After sanding all of the pieces, I nailed all four sides together. Then, I measured the inside, and cut a rectangle to match. I sanded this rectangle, and nailed the bottom in place, rasied above the bottom by about 3/8 inch.

Once the wastebasket was constructed, I set the nails and filled all the nail holes. I also filled all the inevitable gaps around the edges so that it would be watertight when finished. (If you dont know why a wastebasket needs to be watertight, you've clearly led a very antiseptic and sheltered life.).

After sanding, I stained the wastebasket with a mixture of Cherry and Maple wood stains from Minwax. I was trying to get a good match for the color of the dresser you can see in the picture above. It worked out pretty well, I guess.

Once the stain was dry, I sealed the project with a water based sanding sealer, and sanded it as smooth as possible. Then I put a finished it off with a couple coats of water-based poly/acrylic finish. I prefer to use water based stuff these days, because they are easier to clean up and don't stink quite as bad.

The bottom of the wastebasket

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