painting a vintage splint basket

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Antiques, Cleaning & care, Painting & Refinishing, Tutorials | 6 comments

Rewind, if you will, back to the day I went to innocently pick up the pond yacht from a local consignment store.  I ended up buying the pond yacht, an antique post office register, an antique quilt (I’ll share that soon), and this vintage splint basket.  It was all just too good!  This vintage split basket/bassinet was a particularly good buy at just $13.  It had a very faint stencil on it as well as some aggressive spray-painting marks, so I decided this vintage splint basket was in need of painting.  Here is how I gave it a fresh coat without taking away from the aged, chippy appeal.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

I first tried lightly sanding the stencil off before painting the vintage splint basket, but sanding revealed a yellowy-white color that was not really what I wanted.  It was worth trying, though, before breaking out the paint.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

I thought that MMS Milk Paint in Grain Sack would be the best match, so I mixed up a small batch.  (You can find a tutorial on mixing milk paint HERE.)  Grain Sack is an off-white with just the slightest gray undertone that was a nice match for painting this vintage splint basket.  I lightly brushed it on to cover the stencil…

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

…and to blend in some of the obvious marks from spray paint…

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

The trick to painting a piece like this is to feather out the edges so the new paint blends into the old.  This allowed me to retain some of the character and chippiness that drew me to the basket in the first place.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

After a couple of coats, it was coming along!  (This day happened to be “basket day!”)  It was a perfect day for painting and for washing and reshaping the antique German basket.  You can see how I did that in THIS POST.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

I decided to not apply a finish after painting the vintage splint basket.  Because it doesn’t need to stand up to daily use and the matte finish suits the style and age of the piece, it was an unnecessary step.  I know that we want most makeovers to be dramatic, but I sort of love that you can’t even tell this basket is freshly painted.  It looks like I just found it this way.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

For those with keen eyes, I did eventually cut off the little plastic tag holder from the handle.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

Not a bad buy for $13 and not a bad way to spend a pretty afternoon before the weather turns cold.

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed

I’m not sure where this basket will live, yet, but I know I’ll find a use for it.  One can always find a use for a good basket…

painting a vintage splint basket | miss mustard seed



  1. Mary Kaiser

    Oh my goodness it is so beautiful. I have that exact same basket that you have. I think it even has so spray paint on it like yours. I am so excited that you showed me a way to keep all the chippy goodness, but get rid of the failed attempt by some one with a can of spray paint. Now I know exactly what to do to it as I lLOVE how yours came out! Thanks so much for the inspiration for mine!

  2. Irene Kelly

    Yes, I too love old baskets and you have inspired me to get them out of the basement and start to actually use them throughout my home especially now that winter is approaching they are a great place to store extra throws.

  3. Gayle Stewart

    I think you might be correct that this was originally a bassinet. I have the bassinet from my husband’s “babyhood” and it looks identical to this, even down to the size. His is on a wooden base of four legs that fold up under the basket. We used it when both our girls were born, and again when my now 5 year old grandson was born. It is now residing in the attic, waiting for another occupant.

  4. KathieB

    I love this basket. I’ve never seen or heard of these. There are lots of things that never made it to our antipodean shores on mass. I love that it looks old and worn but not too tatty. The “grain sack”colour works so well with the linen and the sectional. I have a basket problem too. I don’t think it’s curable!

  5. Suzette

    I love it!
    I was also thinking it was a bassinet.
    I had one just like it.
    I’ve seen several with gold legs.
    No matter, it’s beautiful!

  6. linda o

    I still have my doll wicker bassinette and stand, plus the matching hamper. They are white with a single blue swan on the top of the hamper. Our two girls played with them and I saved them for granddaughters. We have 6 grown grandsons, 1 great grandson and another on the way. You just gave me a great idea as how to use the bassinette and stand…fill it with throws we use out on the in cool weather. Thanks!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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