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This British Puppeteer Builds Gypsy Wagons From Recycled Materials

Like a little Fabergé Egg, Basil Smith’s handmade gypsy wagons hold a whole world inside a tiny space.

Basil Smith, a puppeteer originally from the United Kingdom, built these little caravans out of recycled materials.

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Basil has travelled all around Australia in his small, but elegant gypsy caravans. He and his wife, Janet, both love to travel and his wagons are a reflection of the joys of moving around to different locations.

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Basil has three gypsy wagons at his home in Tasmania.

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Basil and Janet attach some of the wagons to trucks or tow them with their vintage vehicles.

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What makes these wagons even more joyous is that they are built primarily with recycled materials. Everything from the framing and trim to the paint and the canvas on the roof has been culled from the trash or found as unused materials.

Even the pretty Yorkshire rose on the back of one wagon was made with old fencing and contains a modern reflector.

The Yorkshire Rose is used as a decorative item on the wagons. This one is made from an old fence post.

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More astonishing, Basil creates his little wagons mostly with hand tools. His wife designs, crafts and cuts the delightful stained glass windows.

Interesting and colorful details can be seen on every part of the wagons.

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The exterior of the wagons are covered with colorful and classic designs featuring flowers, horseshoes and intricate curlicues.

The interiors are just as charming and include curtains, fabric ceilings, handmade wood cabinets, and decorative pillows and art chosen by Janet.

Janet’s in charge of the interior, selecting decorative items and trim pieces.

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The couple have their comforts as well. They sleep on a Posturepedic mattress, watch movies on a small TV and store their food in a dorm-sized refrigerator.

Basil and Janet sleep on a comfortable Posturepedic mattress.

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“I build them for me, not for anyone else. The real pleasure for me is being amongst—in—my ornate gypsy carvans.”

Basil’s love of travel and handicrafts show through his designs!


Hear more from Basil about his Gypsy Wagons.

Video by Stuart Hobson.