I’ve been working to improve my master bathroom here lately. One thing that my bathroom lacks is a laundry hamper. I have very little floor space in my bathroom, but I do have a space in my cabinet that is intended to be used as a sitting vanity spot; however, I never use this and neither does my husband (of course) so instead of allowing this area to go to waste, I want to build a pullout laundry hamper to utilize this area. I’m going to be making this project from cedar which is a little bit pricier than pine but I’m choosing it because it is extremely lightweight. I intend to be able to pull these baskets out from the vanity spot and carry them to the laundry room and back. If you are needing some baskets for around the house I think these would be great for a kid’s room or even a closet.
I have a set of plans available for these baskets if you would like to make some for your home!
Here is a video showing an overview of the build process:
Before diving into the project, let me talk about my choice of material real quick. I already said I’m going with cedar because I want them lightweight but when I went to the store I realized that I could either purchase 12 1x3s ($42) for this project or 3 1x12s ($81). To save the money I decided to go with the 1x3s which mean I am going to have to do a lot of glue ups in order to get my boards as wide as I need them. This adds on some time to the project so if you don’t want to mess with it then an alternative would be to buy the wider boards for a little more money.
Ok now on to building….
The first thing I did was set up a stop block at my miter saw and cut all of the boards that I will need to length.
Once all of the boards were cut to length, I started doing all of the glue ups. I divided them out to start making up the individual boards. I placed these in clamps and then let them sit until the glue was dry.
To make the end post of each basket, I took two pieces and glued them face to face. I used the smaller quick clamps for these and let them sit until dry.
After a few hours, I took all of my glue ups out of my clamps and I first grabbed the end post pieces and ran it through my table saw on two sides in order to get it down to the width that I needed it. I wanted it to be square.
I grabbed the end post and I swapped out my table saw blade for my dado stack and I ran each end post through the dado stack on two sides. At this point it doesn’t matter which two sides you cut in the dado just as long as they are adjacent to each other.
With the dados cut, now I can start planing down my slats. These slats need to be the exact thickness as the dado slot so keep one of the end posts readily available to test out the thickness and take off more or less as needed. I used my thickness planer for this.
While you are planing down the slats, also grab the four side boards and run them through to be the same thickness.
Now grab four of the slats, doesn’t matter which, and all four solid sides and run in a dado near the bottom. This will be used later to slip in a bottom.
Now take the four solid side pieces and cut in a handle. You can use whatever handle shape you prefer but the way that I did it was I used a forstner bit to drill in two holes then took a straight edge and connected the top to the top and the bottom to the bottom and then used a jig saw to cut along the lines.
An alternative way of making this handle would be to rip a cardboard handle off of a beer box and set it in place to trace. Then you can drill a hole using a drill bit and finish the cut using a jig saw. Once you have the first handle cut, use it to trace the other three. Note: Make sure you cut these handles opposite of the dados! I cut three correctly but wasn’t paying attention on the fourth and cut the handle on the same end of the dado.
I decided to also put in a handle on the front and back slatted sides. This way I would have a way to pull/push the basket when it’s in the vanity. For this I tape four slats together (make sure to not grab the ones with dados already in them) then used the bandsaw to cut out a simple handle.
The next thing I did was make some spacers because I wanted the front and back of my basket to have slats that were not touching each other. In order to achieve this since these slats are in the dado, I grabbed a scrap piece of board and cut some very small spacers that will fit inside the dado in between the slats. To make these, I used my band saw; however, making such tiny cuts on the band saw is pretty dangerous so use a pencil as a push stick so that you can keep your fingers well away from the blade.
Next, I started looking at the end posts that I made and even though they looked fine, I really wanted them to be a little more rounded instead of so pointy and squarish. I grabbed my belt sander and clamped it down to my workbench then I took each end post and used a small, circular object I found in my shop (electrical tape), and used a Sharpie to trace around it to create a curve on both ends. I used this line as a reference to take away material. This might seem like a very tedious process but it wasn’t. Each post only took me right over a minute to complete so it was very quick. You have to really pay attention and constantly be moving the piece or you will end up with flat spots.
Next I took two of the end posts, one of the slats with a dado in it, and started assembling. I first put glue in one dado on each end post and started by attaching the slats making sure that the slat with the dado was on the bottom then I would add in a small spacer inside the dado on each end post then slide in the next slat. I repeated this process until I was at the very top. You will need four slats total for each side. I once again brought out my clamps and clamped them in place and let them dry overnight.
Before assembling I grabbed the bottom and used a jigsaw to cut some material out from each corner. This is so the bottom doesn’t run into the end post when things are put together. It took a few times of putting things together then taking it back apart before I got it all cut perfectly so be patient. You want to make sure the bottom is sitting snuggly in the lower dados and the sides are sitting flush in the vertical dados (in the end posts).
Once things fit perfect, take it apart one last time then add glue to all joints! I found it easiest to join together the two solid sides onto one slatted side then slip in the bottom. Now you can just add on the top. I set both of mine in clamps just to make sure it stayed together nice and tight while drying.
I again let everything sit for a few hours until the glue dried. When I pulled the baskets from the clamps I went over them with sandpaper, making sure to get all the dried glue on the posts and slats. I put a coat of stain on my baskets so if I left the glue then those areas wouldn’t stain. To make this easier you could use a damp rag to wipe away the glue once things are clamped up.
There are several options for a finish but I went with the stain color dark walnut.
To install the baskets so that they could slide in and out of the bathroom vanity, I pulled down some wood left over from a previous project. This happen to be a 2×4 ripped in half. I cut it to length at the miter saw then predrilled a hole near the top and bottom.
I took them inside and attached them to the inside of the bathroom vanity cubby. Tip: I installed the bottom rails first then set the baskets in place and placed a spacer (1″ tall) on top of the basket. This way I could just set the top rails on top of this spacer and screw it down.
I slide the baskets in and it did work, however I didn’t make these baskets the same depth as this cabinet so they wanted to push back until they hit the wall which placed them back further then what I wanted. To fix this I cut a few scraps down in the shop and screwed them directly on top of the rails in the back. This created a stop for the baskets so they would only go in as far as I wanted. : ) Easy fix.
And that’s it! Now i have two baskets I will be able to use to throw cloths instead of on the floor. I know most people probably won’t have a vanity with a cubby like this but if you want to make the baskets for another use they are very light and also strong.
For both baskets I spent a a total of $42 in material.
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