Spring Crafts | Make May Day Baskets from Milk Cartons

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As we come around to May Day 2013 I am reminded that I started writing for Yankee Magazine’s Crafty Yankee blog last year at this time.  I wrote my very first blog post about making May baskets.  I am posting another blog this year about May baskets since there are many ways to make them and May baskets are a favorite tradition of mine.

Fill your May baskets with your favorite treats.

Fill your May baskets with your favorite treats.

Bonnie Thomas

May baskets are traditionally left at peoples doors but they can also be gifted and mailed to friends as well.

Materials to Make May Day Baskets

  • A milk or juice carton (1 gallon size)
  • 1 sheet of decorative scrapbook paper of your choice
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pictures of butterflies or flowers (scrapbook sheets, stickers, or clip art images)
  • White piece of paper size sized 2.5” x 3.5”
  • Stapler or clear tape
  • Items to fill the basket (filler, treats, seeds, flowers, toys, etc)

May Basket Pieces

Directions to Make May Day Baskets

  1. Wash and dry the carton thoroughly.
  2. Cut the top off of the carton.  Push one end of your scissors into the milk carton and then use that entry point to start trimming around the carton.  It is best to start near the top of the carton to allow for plenty of error.
  3. Determine how deep you want your basket to be and then trim the rim as evenly as possible to that depth.  Mine is about 3 3/4”deep.
  4. Make the handle.  Save a strip of material from the carton about 10-12” long and 1” wide.  If you do not have enough carton scraps leftover for a handle, you can cut one from a piece of recycled cardboard (such as from a cereal or cracker box).  Trim the handle to be even on both sides.
  5. Cut your scrapbook paper to be wide enough to wrap around your carton.  I needed to use two strips of paper which overlapped.
  6. Glue the paper into place.  Trim any paper that is hanging over the edge or bottom of your basket.
  7. Next, wrap the handle in paper and glue the paper into place.
  8. Staple or tape the handle ends into the basket.  Make sure the handle ends are on the inside of the basket.
  9. Glue an image of a flower or butterfly onto the white paper.
  10. Next glue this paper and image onto the front of the basket.
  11. Cut ribbon for wrapping around the top and bottom of the basket.  You will need 2 pieces of ribbon, about 16” each.  Wrap it around first to make sure it fits, and then trim.
  12. Glue the ribbon into place.
  13. I also glued ribbon onto the handle of the basket.  I did this after the handle was attached—the ribbon ends tucked easily into the sides of the basket.
  14. I added an extra butterfly to the handle of my basket for decoration.
  15. Fill the basket with filler and treats for a friend or loved one.  I filled mine with seeds and flowers.


Decorate your May basket with flowers or butterflies.

Decorate your May basket with flowers or butterflies.

Bonnie Thomas

Happy May Day to all of you!


  • siggiofmaine

    This is very helpful…I was actually looking for where the tradition started in Maine, but this is lovely and for people from away, the instructions are clear.
    Thank you


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