DIY / Tutorials Home Decor Repurposed Sewing Thrifted

DIY Insulated Picnic Basket with Napkins

In life there are things that we can find ourselves drawn to and we have no idea why. haha. Am I right? Well, in this case I think I know why and I know how it started. Let me begin by showing you how I’m going to turn this thrifted goodie into a DIY insulated picnic basket. {{ooh…aaah…ooooo}}

Thrifted Basket Before Picnic Makeover by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |

You would have bought it too, right? I mean it’s a basket and no one passes up baskets – at least any one sane, that is. ahem. I can honestly say that I came by my fetish thru my mother. Yes, thank you Mom.


I remember a transitional time when JC and I were living with my parents. If you remember, I mentioned in my last post that they built a gorgeous 6 K log home. Well, there was plenty of room for us. They had a full basement that housed a fun place to play with a billiard table, workout area, ping-pong table, second kitchen, woodworking shop, and much more.

However, my mom decided to create her own business down there selling handmade crafts. Part of her inventory was baskets. Lots and lots of baskets. They multiplied like Gremlins, it seemed. So, I took it upon myself to organize them for her. It was so fun!

Plus, she used handmade straw hats to decorate my bedroom, which also started a new fascination. haha. A girl can have these kinds of innocent vices and be perfectly normal. Just sayin’.


Anyhoo, I’ve always preferred a basket to stow away my items as opposed to…awful plastic. Natural fibers rule in my world. In addition, I love to support local artisans as well. This basket, however, is probably of the overseas factory kind. But, I couldn’t resist the utilitarian design of it.

It has handles and a stout structure making it perfect for what I envisioned. If you’ve not seen how I love to make insulated lunch bags for my shop, stop and take a peek at this upcycled linen skirt post.

Handmade Striped Insulated Lunch Bag by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #handmade #shopping #style #bag #lunch

This project is very similar in basic design. Here’s what I used to create the innards of this DIY insulated picnic basket.

DIY Insulated Picnic Basket Layers | #prodigalpieces

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)


Notice I’ve taken the measurements of the basket and translated them into 3 lining layers, plus the top flaps. Since there’s no way I can give you instructions how to make one for every basket you find, I’m just giving the basic idea to inspire you.

My layers have boxed corners that allow for the lining to have a square bottom. My basket interior measured 13″ L x 7″ W x 9″ H, so I cut to suit my needs. See diagram below.

Cutting Layout for DIY Insulated Picnic Basket by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces

For each lining layer, two pieces are cut and then serge (or zig-zag stitched) together in the sequence below.

Serging Layout for DIY Insulated Picnic Basket by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces |


First, to box the corners, simple open up the “box” and pinch the corners together. Next, sew it shut with your serger or sewing machine.

Boxed Corner Before |

Serging Insulated Layers |

Serged Boxed Corner for DIY Insulated Picnic Basket |

Now we have our first layer complete. Also, you’ll need to do the same with the PUL and cotton. Last, for added reinforcement (totally optional) I added an extra layer of plastic mesh. I thought it would make it fun to be able to remove the lining and use it as a bag too.

Plastic Mesh for DIY Insulated Picnic Basket |

The layering order from the outside to inside is: cotton, mesh (anchor-stitched from the inside), Insul-brite, then PUL. Just make sure when you’re working on the cotton and PUL linings that you have them right sides facing each other. Then, turn right side out for assembly.

Boxed Insulated Layer for Picnic Basket |

From here I’m just going to say you can add top flaps as I’ve done, add handles, add…whatever your heart desires. In addition, you can embellish in any way you see fit. The WHOLE idea is to have fun with it. Really!


Here’s my spiffed up thrifted basket turned DIY insulated picnic basket with coordinating cloth napkins. woot!

Handmade Insulated Picnic Basket with Four Cloth Napkins by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #handmade #diy #farmhouse #summer #picnic

Picnic Basket with Cloth Napkins by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Visit #prodigalpieces #lunch #picnic #farmhouse #fashion

See how the inside has the PUL lining? PUL comes in all sorts of colors and patterns, so feel free to jazz it up a bit with color fun. It is a moisture-resistant fabric, but not waterproof. I use it for diapers, women’s products, snack bags, etc.

Inside DIY Insulated Picnic Basket with PUL lining | #prodigalpieces #sewing #picnic #home #sewing

Larissa of Prodigal Pieces Takes a Thrifted Basket and Turns it into an Insulated Picnic Basket with Style | #prodigalpieces #diy #sewing #handmade #home #summer

If you’d like to own this basket set, you can find it, my lunch bags, and much more available in my online shop. (SOLD)

Shop Prodigal Pieces |

Farmhouse Picnic Basket with Set of Cloth Napkins by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | #prodigalpieces #sewing #home #summer #homedecor

My goal is to inspire you, so please feel free to ask questions if you have them. These baskets would make for wonderful wedding, graduation, or birthday gifts stuffed full of goodies.

Also, do pin and share with others so they can be inspire too. Share the love!

Grab that thrifted basket and turn it into a DIY insulated picnic basket. Perfect for gifts! See more by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces at #prodigalpieces #diy #crafts #home #summer #homedecor #farmhouse #gifts

Up next, I’ll be having my Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION fun. Stay tuned!

Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION series hosted by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Come learn to create for you and your home | #prodigalpieces

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop. Until next time!

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Also, more projects like this DIY insulated picnic basket:

Create a DIY Rolling Laundry Cart with a thrifted basket. Full details at Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.comLooking for the perfect gift for mom? Blow her socks off with this Easy & Affordable Mother's Day Flower Basket | Full video tutorial by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | Head to #prodigalpieces #mothersday #giftideas #home #homedecor #budget #crafts #flowers #mom


12 replies on “DIY Insulated Picnic Basket with Napkins”

Oh Boy!
I’m feeling a little like yogi bear wanting that picnic basket!
Lunch on the go, shopping, diaper bag, purse duties, sewing/knitting projects…oh the uses are endless!
Love it❤️
Blessings to you!

Cute basket by itself but what you had done with it, it’s outstanding.
Great little basket to have a small picnic outside or in the house with your kiddos. Lay down an old sheet or blanket on the floor and have yourself a little picnic with the kids.

I am a confirmed basket-head! I have collected them since my teens and love their utilitarian origins and their natural beauty. Some of my most treasured pieces were made by my grandmother, She took a basket weaving class in the late 1980s and went kind of nuts (wonder where I got it from?) I also love to collect the old picnic baskets with the wooden lids. They are getting harder to find so whenever I do, I snap it up. Your basket was lovely as is but you made it even more special. Thanks for sharing!

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