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How to Create an Aged Finish on Baskets

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Hey y’all…By now I think you know how much I loved aged finishes and weathered wood. In fact, this post is dedicated to how you can create an aged finish on baskets. I honestly hesitated to write about it. I second-guessed myself and that wasn’t a good feeling. I’ve hemmed and hawed and here’s the reason why. I have altered a Longaberger basket. I know, I know – I can hear some of you sucking in your breath right now…I can hear others cheering me on. Please don’t turn on me 🙂 It wasn’t an easy decision for me. If you are not familiar with Longaberger baskets, they are hand made of maple splints by very talented artisans…and these baskets are never, ever to be altered as it takes away from their value. And so I have altered my basket – and here’s why I did it.

I have a lot of these pretty baskets. Many years ago I hosted a few Longaberger parties and I received ALL of these baskets for free from these successful parties.

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The problem is I have them all over the house…the basement, in the craft closet and the baskets below are stored in the garage.

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The issue is, I don’t use them anymore. They are too yellow/orange to display in my home. Over the years my design style has changed and I haven’t used these baskets in over 16 years! They take up a lot of space to just sit in storage.

So, I decided to do something about it. I decided I own the baskets and I can change them any way that I see fit. I know by changing the finish of the basket I will use it everyday in my home which is so much better than taking up valuable storage space. I hope you’ll agree with me.

I used our steel wool and vinegar recipe.We’ve used it on quite a few projects and you can get the recipe HERE.

I took the basket outside and placed it on a tarp. I used the stain in a spray bottle to be sure to coat the maple splints thoroughly. The key to success is to use this stain on a bright sunny day and let your piece dry completely. I am always amazed by the transformation this homemade stain creates on finished pieces. This is how the basket looked right after I sprayed one good coat of vinegar stain…

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…and this was just three hours later!!! I know – totally amazing, right? The longer this basket sits in the sun, the more ashy and gray it will become. The weathered aged finish is fabulous.

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It looks beautiful hanging on our freshly painted front door. Our Georgia Dogwoods are in full bloom too.

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This is a such a pretty greeting for our guests.

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I love the new finish and I do not regret my decision to stain the basket. I will definitely be using the vinegar stain on a lot more of the baskets from storage and I can’t wait to display them in my home.

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I hope that you support my decision!

Until tomorrow…

XO~Vicki

How to Create an Aged Finish on Baskets

35 Comments

  1. Trina Williams says:

    Well done! I agree with , and support your decision to stain this basket. It looks beautiful! !

  2. Jo @ Simple Pleasures Vintage Reimagined says:

    I read this with interest because I too have baskets everywhere. Everywhere! And I was a consultant for many years. So I had mixed feelings about what you did. I have to say – I love the look! Now I paint future for resale and I bring a basket in now and then. But I think I will try this and see how they sell. Shoot, I know another consultant who paints baskets and sells them. I don’t think I’m ready for that! Lol!

  3. This basket turned out great! I love the darker color so much better and it looks amazing on your front door. Great call! Hugs, CoCo

  4. As a long time Longaberger consultant, I applaud your decision and method!! Your basket looks fabulous. Much better to alter and use these wonderful items than to hide them away because of an outdated stain!! Kudos to you! I’m going to do this to my basket stash in storage!!

  5. What a difference some vinegar stain makes! I still have yet to try this natural stain, but after seeing this, I know I need to!! The pictures of baskets all over your house made me laugh to myself. 🙂

  6. Liz Bonin says:

    Kudos to you for doing this! You are so right to say “this is my basket and I can change it if I like!” It’s not like you stripped or painted a priceless antique. It’s a basket for goodness sake! It looks absolutely beautiful on your front door 💙

  7. I saw you do – and I am still amazed at the transformation. Great job.

  8. I definitely agree with your decision to alter the basket. It looks terrific. I only wish I had done the same to mine before I sold them, for next to nothing, in a yard sale. Ugh…
    Bambi

  9. Vicki, I have to admit I gasped a little when I saw the basket and read your title:). I sold Longaberger baskets for over 7 years and also have them all over my house. The basket turned out great and looks fabulous on your front door!!! Hope you are having a great week and take care, Tara

  10. I love your basket makeover. I have a lot of Longaberger baskets, too and many of them are packed away. I will definitely try this on them. Thanks for sharing this idea.

  11. Vickie, I know just how you felt. Last year I did it too. My place is more primitive/early colonial style than country. I did not stain as you did though, and I do want to try your recipe on the next basket because It turned out so naturally beautiful. I like a bit of color and so used a combination stain and paint (acrylic “Old Century” colors) in several layers and a few tricks that I have for painting a primitive finish on furniture. I just love them now. I still have lots more baskets to experiment with. I’ve been selling some un-altered baskets that I won’t be using. I never would have thought there might be a market for the stained or painted baskets – something to think about…hmm.
    Thank you for the great article and pictures.

  12. What color stain did you use? I was just thinking of the same thing to do to mine but was very apprehensive. After seeing your results, i am doing this as my weekend project. Any helpful tips i would gladly welcome. Love the color of the stain result. was wondering what you picked.

  13. Sharon Pennetti-Hasan says:

    I just made my mixture and will do the project in 3-4 days depending on the sun! I’m so excited! I love all my baskets but have been hating the color for a long time now. They don’t match my home anymore. So excited to be able to use them all again!!

  14. I was a Longaberger basket maker for 10 years, if you have any between 1994-2004 signed PG I’m looking for them!

  15. I have been trying to make this decision for a long time. I could have written this post, these are my sentiments exactly! I have them everywhere but they are too orangey. The only time I use them is sometimes in fall vignettes. I know they will devalue if altered, but since they are mine, why worry about it if they aren’t being used anyway? I still love Longeberger baskets for the quality. They are excellent baskets, and sometimes I can find them at yard sales for cheap and I always pick them up thinking I might get brave enough to white wash them or stain them. I love the idea of just aging the wood with the vinegar/steel wool stain. Thanks for sharing, I will try it out this weekend!

  16. I am getting ready to try this on some of my baskets, Did you stain the leather handle as well.?!

    1. Hey Shirley-
      We are so happy that you are going to do this project! No, we did not stain the handles BUT if some does happen to drip onto them we do not consider this a big deal. In fact it has happened to us. We think this lends to the overall aged look. Just blot the excess off of the handles with a clean paper towel. We would love for you to share a photo when you are done! Thanks for following along.

      Much love ~ The Bees

  17. I’d love to try this on my thrift store basket. If the basket already has some type of finish on it, will this work?

    1. Hi Sandra –

      If there is a finish on your basket, we don’t believe this method will work. The liquid has to be able to penetrate or at least “sit-on” the wood, wicker, etc. in order for it to work. What type of basket is it? Or you can send us a good photo and we will try and troubleshoot this for you. We’d love to help!

      Thanks so much for following along!

      Vicki and Jenn ~ The Bees

  18. Some Longaberger baskets were actually made in this color already, so staining them is no big deal. Looks great!

  19. I make baskets and use a natural dye made of walnuts. I collect black walnuts in a pail when they fall from the trees, put them in an old pillowcase and cover them with water in a bucket. I leave this sit until the water is a dark brown colour, then remove the pillowcase and discard. I dip my baskets in the dye and have the most beautiful walnut finish. My pail of dye lasts years when kept covered and stirred occasionally. Your finish is lovely, and I will try it this summer.

    1. Oh my goodness Chris – this sounds like a beautiful and natural way to dye things! We would love to see some of te things you have created. Thank you so very much for sharing this new-to-us method!

      All the Best,
      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees

  20. Have you ever tried this with baskets that have the colored strips? Like the special holiday baskets, special additions.

    1. Hi Deb –

      No, we haven’t tried this method on those types of baskets. This aging treatment works best on baskets that are unfinished. Hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees

  21. Hello I am currently doing this process and it’s really blotchy. Help.

    1. Hey Danyelle-

      It’s hard to guide you without having more information. What do you mean “blotchy”? Some possible causes could be that the stain needs to be strained more through the cheesecloth. Is this a new piece of wood or previously stained piece?

      We want to help you to achieve the results that you want. Please let us know and we will try to better guide you.

      All the best,
      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees

  22. Did you let it drip dry or wipe off?

  23. Did you sand the basket at all before applying your stain?

    1. Hi Carrie-
      The basket that we used was never stained and it was raw maple wood. Therefore, sanding was not necessary. If you are staining a basket that has a stained or painted finish…you would need to sand it.

      We hope this helps. Good luck with your project!

      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees in a Pod

  24. I have vinegar and fine steel wool in a jar. I followed all of the directions and the vinegar is still clear after three days. Is his right? Thank you.

    1. Hi Connie-
      We aren’t sure what happened. Whenever we mix our Grade #0000 steel wool and white vinegar mixture, we always have great results.

      Is there a hidden spot on your piece where you can add a small amount of your mixture to see if it works? Please let us know if it did.

      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees in a Pod

  25. THUMBS UP! Thanks so much. I bought an antique hanging partridge cage of woven willow. It is old, but it just doesn’t have the color I want and I think needs a little ‘aging’. I am using your recipe on it. Many thanks!!

    1. Hi Mary!
      We are so glad that you found us…and this method helpful. We use this all of the time! Good luck!

      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees

  26. LOL, Longaberger baskets! Oh yes, I had quite a few of those parties in the 80’s and still have one or two of the baskets! Like you, I don’t use them because they are NOT my style anymore. Update—I did make the concoction and I just used it on a splint winnowing basket that was handmade for me, but looked to ‘new’. I just sprayed it well all over and it’s sitting in the sun now! Anxiously waiting! Photos on my website soon: https://www.thecountryladyantiques.com/tour.php
    Planning on doing it on my partridge basket soon!

    1. Hi Mary! So glad that you like the weathered wood stain. We are definitely using our Longaberger baskets a lot more now! Can’t wait to see your creation!

      All the best ~
      Vicki and Jenn ~ 2 Bees

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