Vintage Picnic Basket Centerpiece


Vintage Picnic Basket Centerpiece

Remember the days when picnics were packed inside picnic baskets like this one?  Fried chicken… potato salad…  raspberry pie…?

Well, to be totally honest, I don’t remember it either, but I think there was a time when folks did things with out plastic coolers, right?  It sounds lovely, but we better skip the potato salad.  No mayo could ever tolerate the heat going on up here in Michigan, that’s for sure.

Picnic basket

So, this vintage picnic basket has been in our family for over 40 years.  I remember my Mom packing it up with sandwiches & drinks for the beach.  Here’s a photo of my brother & I during one of those fun days:


My big brother Bobby is no longer with us, but I sense that he’s not far.  I’m not positive the picnic basket made it on that trip, but you get the idea.  The picnic basket holds a lot of good memories for me, so it’s very special.  When my Mom gave it to me recently, I couldn’t wait to get it home and repurpose it in some fashion.  By repurpose, I don’t mean paint, or change.  No way, this basket will stay the way it is.  However, I wanted to try something pretty with it.

Introducing my “Vintage Picnic Basket Centerpiece”…

Sunflower Basket

This honestly turned our way prettier than I imagined.  It has that “country-chic” vibe going for it.  I think it’s the black mixed with the yellow that does it.

Those are real sunflowers I happen to come across for $7 bucks.  Isn’t that crazy?

This idea is so simple it literally took me 15 minutes to set up.  The hardest part was cutting the sunflowers because they are rather thick.  (See where to purchase all supplies to make this centerpiece at bottom of post.)

The first thing I did was tie some wide black ribbon through the opened flaps so that they would stay open. Then I nestled a little black & white checkered fabric inside.  I used 2 yards.  Next, I found 2 large vases-one for each side and I placed them inside filling them with water.

Picnic Basket w Fabric

Lastly, I gently tucked real sunflowers into the vases (faux sunflowers will look pretty too).  My little secret is the green part.  Can you tell what type of leaves those are?  I needed a “filler” so I went outside to see what I could find.  My hydrangea bushes were calling my name so I clipped a couple stems and they made a beautiful filler.

It’s like they were meant to be together.

I ended up pulling some of the fabric out just for a little more drama.

Vintage Picnic Basket Sunflower Centerpiece

*** Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.  Read full disclosure policy here.

This Vintage Picnic Basket Centerpiece lasted for about 1 week.  Everyone loved it, and it would be pretty for any occasion, fancy, casual, inside, or out.

Here’s where you can find the supplies to make one yourself.  It’s up to you what size you want, and maybe you already have a basket?


White Picnic Basket

Black & White Gingham Fabric

Glass Vase 

Black Ribbon

Faux Sunflowers (I used real)


Wait!  There’s more thrifty styling going on today and you can view all of the Thrifty Style Team’s projects below…

Sunflower Basket

Thrifty Style Team Faces

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38 Responses

  1. Dad says:

    The basket came from Mexico in the 1960’s Your Grandmother, Nano and Papa got it. love, Dad

  2. Pamela says:


  3. Vanessa says:

    I love it Julie! What a treasure!

  4. Erma says:

    I love this idea. I have a picnic basket, but I still use it for picnics once in a while. I may look for one at a flea market to paint like this. Love it!!!!!

  5. Joy says:

    So cute, I have seen baskets like that estate sales. I will be on the look out now 🙂 You did a great job with it!

  6. Shirley says:

    Great photo Julie. Love the sunflowers & the rug. .

  7. Charlotte says:

    Those colors are amazing! It’s so easy to forget how simple a gorgeous DIY can be! Great tip!!

  8. Angie Walsh says:

    Loved the way it turned out. I’m going to try and find when too.

  9. Erin Spain says:

    What a pretty idea! It turned out beautiful. I love the fact that it’s an heirloom too. We actually got a nice picnic basket as a wedding gift 10 years ago and we’ve never even used it! This has inspired me so maybe we will put it to good use soon.

  10. Dad says:

    This was very well done, love it, great job, Love, Dad

  11. Leslee rau says:

    Absolutely love it! Just makes me smile…..No make that a grin?! I have a picnic basket in the garage that I’ve been thinking that it’s time to
    pass it on to goodwill. Not anymore. Wow. What a wonderful creation. Can’t wait to repurpose it now. The sunflowers take it over the top. Love them, fresh or faux. ???Thank you again for sharing your creative gift. ?

  12. Doris Raab says:

    Very cute! I love it.

  13. Ivory says:

    I love it! I don’t know how you do it, but you keep knocking it out the ballpark with your beautiful creative designs.

    Thanks for sharing your family gems.

  14. Crystal says:

    I love baskets& sunflowers ! This is beautiful.

  15. LOVE IT!! You did an outstanding job. Thank you for your great ideas. I have several old such baskets. Guess I’m going to have paint one up, get some pretty fake flowers, and some black check fabric and get to work 🙂 Thank you again.

  16. Jessica says:

    It turned out beautiful. Such a stunning arrangement and special too. Loved the story.

  17. It looks gorgeous! You did a fabulous job! Imagine a picnic basket that has lasted 50 years and is still in remarkably good shape! What a nice family treasure that elicits such great memories. The sunflowers look so perfect you don’t believe they’re real, so glad you mentioned that they are. And, how cute is your dad!

    • Julie Fiato says:

      Hey Carole, I was thinking that they looked fake, too!! Ha Ha…usually they are, but not this time. Still can’t believe they were $7! They literally flew into my shopping cart. Have a great weekend! ~ Julie

  18. Mary Beth says:

    Oh, Julie, your basket, the story and your centerpiece are beautiful! I love the sunflowers and the colors you used – absolutely stunning.

  19. JaneEllen says:

    How sweet your Mom is to pass basket on to you. Love your arrangement, black and white are very striking looking. Our City Mkt/Krogers has had real sunflowers for $7 bunch off and on this summer. Meant to get some other night but somebody was hurrying me. Love having big bunch of sunflowers in house, look so happy/cheerful.
    Your basket and story are great, love how arrangement looks on deck table. Have awesome week

  20. Kae says:


  21. Melanie says:

    Your picnic basket centerpiece is absolutely Beautiful!

  22. Robert E Urtel says:

    PS I think rhey paid $2 fot it in 1963, love to all, Dad in NY.

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