HOW TO MAKE plaited paper baskets

materials used, clockwise from top: 
heavy plastic with an enclosed strand of green yarn; 

large scenic calendar; cereal box; heavy packaging paper
I love these soft sided baskets* that can be made from all kinds of recycled materials. I've used old calendars, the wrappers from office photocopy paper, wall paper, travel brochures, maps, cereal boxes and the huge plastic wrapper from a new mattress. The construction is based on simple over and under weaving. 

To make a basket, you will need 16 strips or more (must be a multiple of four). About three inches wide and at least 21 inches long cut from the wrappers from office photocopy paper was the most manageable size when I was learning. Measure and cut the width of the strips accurately to make the weaving easier. 

Once you have cut your strips, prepare them by folding each one in half lengthwise to make a good crease. Open it up and fold the edges in to meet at the centre. 
Then fold it along the centre again. The strips end up one quarter of the original width with no cut edges showing.

For the weaving process you'll need a heavy book for a weight, some string, and clothes pegs. To start weaving arrange half of the strips side by side under a weight. The edges with the open fold should face toward the centre. Weave the other half of the strips across the first half, gradually working the strips very close together. 
Hold the weaving in place at the corners with clothes pegs

I forgot to photograph the following stages in the
basket, so I start these instructions from 

the same phase in a different basket!
You will now use a string to hold the weaving together temporarily. The string should be about three times the circumference of the woven square. Start at the middle of the string and use the two ends to twine around the edge of the square, crossing over each other as they go around each strip. Tie the twining string in a bow  which can be untied easily. You will remove it from the weaving when the basket is done.
This next part is a little tricky at first. Once the woven square is anchored by the twined string, start in the MIDDLE OF ONE SIDE and begin to weave the two halves of the strips together. What was once the centre of a straight side of the first woven square becomes the CORNER of the basket. As you get each strip woven in, anchor it with a clothes peg. Move the peg up to the next level as you weave the next strip across.
With all the strips from one side woven together and pegged, you have the first corner of the basket done. Now do the same for the other three sides. 

When all the sides have been turned and anchored, begin weaving the strips in between always keeping the same over and under pattern. Anchor with a peg at every intersection all around the top. Work until the the pegs are at the same level all around. Now continue weaving all around by moving the pegs up a level as you gradually turn the basket.
Weave to the level where you intend to stop. You will need to leave ends long enough to weave in under two intersections.
To finish the edge fold each strip downward into the basket and insert it into the weaving. Trim the extra bits off inside the basket to finish. Finally untie the string and draw it out.

*I learned to make the plaited baskets from the excellent book Time to Weave by Jane Patrick. (Have a look at my books and links page.)

1 comment:

  1. Your directions are better than the book directions which were not as good. I had to try to weave it about 6 times before I got my first basket. I am dying to do another one.
    I love the look of the grocery bag one. My bags were two different colors so that looks cool! ThankSsfor the excellent tutorial