Friday, 1 April 2011

Easter Buckets

I love Easter.  Easter egg hunts, chocolate, a long weekend and hanging out with your family.  Does it get any better?! 

I was in a store last week and bought a little basket ($7) for my daughter and a Spiderman bucket ($7) for my son with the intention of using them for Easter morning. 

When I got home I experienced a smidgen of buyer's remorse, not because of the cost but because I was sure I could do it better myself!

I did a quick Google search for "kids Easter basket" and found little inspiration.  Then I was in Pottery Barn Kids with my mother on Sunday and loved their simple lined baskets and think the personalization with the embroidered names is a beautiful detail.

Pottery Barn Kids - Girls' Easter Baskets 2011
My issue in the past with Easter baskets is that they're hard to store because of those big handles and they're really only used once a year.  I think I've figured out a solution.  Easter buckets!

I was in Dollarama and found these metal buckets for $2.00 each.  They're a little large, but that just gives me more room to fill them up!

The following is a no sewing machine required set of instructions.  Before I taught myself to sew, I used to find it really frustrating when beautiful things needed to be sewn.  For anyone who does sew, you'll simply replace the fused seams with sewn ones.  It took me approximately 30 min for each bucket (excluding the painting time). 
What you'll need:

- Metal bucket
- Spray paint (colour of your choice)
- Heat & Bond (heat fusing material - available at fabric stores like Fabricland)
- Fabric
- Printed initial (or any other image you'd like to use) on paper - choose the font size based on the size of your bucket
- Scissors
- Measuring tape or ruler
- Iron

Step 1  - Spray paint the bucket

Take off the handle and place the bucket upside down on something that will keep it off the floor. I used my bleach bottles.  Keeping it off the floor will prevent the paint from pooling on the edge which makes the finished product look more professional.

Painting progression:
 original bucket, 1 coat of paint, 3 coats of paint 
I recommend doing 3-5 thin coats of paint with 10 minutes or so between coats.  If you try to cover the bucket in one coat it will likely create drips which makes it look sloppy. I painted the buckets the night before and let them dry overnight.

Tips for working with spray paint:
- Work in a well-ventilated area.  (I would have done this outside, but it was too cold on Sunday)
- Use a rubber glove on the hand that holds the paint can and keep your index finger (the one that depresses the nozzle) as far back as possible, otherwise paint starts to build up on the end of your finger tip and drips.
- Spray paint creates a fine mist of paint that travels to areas you wouldn't expect.  If you don't want this mist on something, make sure it's not nearby when you're painting (the bottom of my socks were covered in white when I finished - it was all over the floor surrounding the paper I put down, luckily we have a non-functioning kitchen in our basement that we plan to remove in the next couple years!)

Step 2 - Print Initials

I printed 4 different sets of initials because I wasn't sure which ones I'd like best.

After looking at them against the buckets, I had it down to 2 options.  I ended up using the last set of initials on the right because they looked less formal and had fewer small 'bits' to cut around.

Step 3 - Choose & Cut your Fabric

If I'm at a fabric store and see material that I like, I'll often buy half a meter just to have on hand.  I ended up choosing the polka dots for the initals and the Easter-appropriate birdie fabric for the liner.  I plan to create different liners for different occasions so we can use the buckets year-round.

Material size:  My bucket has a 29" circumference around the top, it's 8.5" tall and the diameter of the bottom is 6.5" (which means the radius is 3.25")

I cut my fabric into a rectangle - 29.5" wide x 14.5" high.  This gives me a 0.5" seam allowance for the side seam, 0.25" for the bottom seam, 0.5" for the top seam and 2" for the material that folds over the top of the bucket.

In simpler terms, add 0.5" to the circumference to find the length of your rectangle and add 2.75" to find the height .  

Tip: You can finger press material to create a straight line to help you cut.  Think of how you fold a piece of paper and press along the folded edge to flatten it - that's finger pressing. 

Alternatively, draw a rectangle on the back of the fabric and cut along the lines.

I folded my fabric along one edge (see blue line in the image on the left) and finger pressed it.
This created a fold line that I used when I cut the fabric in a straight line (image on right)

Step 4 - Fuse the Side Seam

Use a piece of fusing material that's 0.25" wide along one side of your rectangle.  Follow the instructions on your package.  Make sure that the material has the right sides together (this means that the pattern of the material is on the inside) and place it as close to the edge as possible. 

Heat and Bond, is what I use and it's a 5 step process:  1) cut a piece the size that's needed; 2) place it paper side up on one edge of the material; 3) iron it; 4) peel off the paper; 5) place the other edge of the material over and iron them together.

a) Iron the Heat & Bond along one edge
b) After removing the paper backing, iron the two sides together
Image on right: The fused seam after the material is turned right side out

Step 5 - Rouche the bottom of the Liner

Use a needle and thread to loosely straight stitch the bottom of your material together app. 0.25" from the edge.   Push the material together towards the centre of the thread so it looks like an accordion.  Tie the ends of the thread together as tightly as possible.  The inside of the liner will be rouched along the bottom.

If your material has a pattern, keep in mind which direction you want the pattern to show when the top is flipped over the edge. I actually made a mistake the first time (which is shown in these pictures) and when I put the liner in the bucket after this step, the birds were right side up on the inside of the liner but upside down when I flipped the top edge over the outside.  I ended up removing the stitches you see above and re-did this step after I flipped the material.

Step 6 - Fuse the top Seam

With the liner inside out, iron on a 0.25" wide piece of fusible material along the top edge.   Flip the top down and finger press the liner down app. 0.25" so that the fusible material is sandwiched between the two pieces.  Then iron all the way around. 

Flipping the top back down to iron the top seam together.

Step 7 - Cut holes for the handles

Place the liner inside the bucket and fold over the top edge.  Once you have it in a position that looks good, measure the length of the material that's folded over.  You will also need to measure the width that the opening needs to fit over.  For me, the length was 2.25" and the width 1.5".

On left: length - 2.25"                       On right: width - 1.5"
Remove the liner and lay it flat.  I chose to make one opening at the fused seam.  Measure the length where the opening begins and make a cut just over half the length of the width that you need (the material is folded so when it's unfolded it will be the correct length).
On left: length - 2.25"                     On right: width - .75"
Repeat on the other side.  To save time, I folded the liner in half and used my first cut to create the second one.

Optional Step: Use Fray Check on the cut edges to stop the material from fraying (it acts a little like nail polish on a run in your nylons).

Step 8 - Prepare the Initial

Cut out the inital.  Cut a square/rectangle that's approximately the same size of the fusible material.

Place the fusible material onto the back side of the fabric you're using for the initial (see image a).  Iron it on and cut around the edge.  Glue the initial front down (so the letter is reversed) onto the paper side of the fusible material (see images b & c). Cut out the initial.  Try to keep your cuts as clean/straight as possible (see images d & e).  Remove the paper backing from the fusible material (see image f).  The letter from the original initial will come off during this step.

Step 9 - Fuse the initial onto the bucket

Place the initial onto the bucket.  I centered mine between the handles (width-wise).  Once it's in the correct spot, press the letter on so it adheres lightly.  I found that rocking my iron around the side of the bucket worked well.  You have to be careful not to press the iron on and move it front to back like you normally do when you iron because you run the risk of pushing the letter into an odd place.  Make sure all the corners and edges have been fused.

Step 10 - Finish assembly

Put the liner in the bucket & re-attach the handle. 
All done!


  1. Jacq,

    This is entirely too much work.

    Please make me a bucket with the letter "W" and i'll just pay for one :)


    Lawrence H

  2. lol Lawrence - I seem to remember doing your work for you in our Marketing class too ;P I'd be happy to make one for your little guy. On the house.

  3. hmmm, seeing as I am sure that you have extra everything, perhaps I can come over and make one :)

  4. Oh Jax,

    I'm a big idea guy... I was never good with the details. ;)

    If you do make one for Wesley, he would be very happy (and so would I)


  5. I love this site and have already been telling people at work about it. This stuff is amazing.