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Basket Weaving Projects for Children
Kid's Projects
  • Q: I'm in charge of the bible school craft projects this year, what is a good basket weaving project for kids?
A: For a quick, easy and cheap project; try the drilled wooden bases.
These are great for even the youngest children because you can set up the spokes ahead of time and the weaving can be done with colorful string, yarn, grasses or anything flexible. The top can be dunked into water and a simple rolled border added or the spokes can be pushed down into the weaving for a quick finish.
See the book: Earth Basketry by Tod for instructions on using drilled wooden bases, simple footers and rims.
5 ply birch bases (drilled for #4 round reed)
- Round Round Drilled Base
3" (9 holes)    
4" (11 holes)    
6" (19 holes)     Oval Drilled Base
8" (23 holes)    
10" (29 holes)
(also available in oval, square, rectangle and heart shaped)

NOTE: If having trouble putting the #4 round reed into the drilled holes, cut an angled point on end being inserted into the holes and/or twist a graduated awl or ice pick down into each hole to slightly widen the hole or use #3 round reed.

~ Instructions for a 4" round drilled base:
Spokes - #4 Round Reed
Weavers - Colorful Yarn, flexible Flat Reed, Wild Grasses, Ribbon, flexible Round Reed, Flat Reed, Flat Oval Reed, etc.

  • Setting up the Spokes: Cut 11 spokes at 12" each.
    Place spokes in warm water for 10 minutes.
    Wrap spokes in a towel to remove excess water.
    Place a spoke in each hole on the base. Pull the spokes through the holes so that there are 3-4" of spoke below the base and 8-9" above the base.

  • Weaving the Footer: Looking at the bottom, take any spoke (weaving clockwise) above the spoke (A) to the right and under the 2nd spoke (B) to the right. Now take "A" spoke and go above "B" spoke and under the next spoke (C) to the right. Continue around the bottom until all spokes are locked into place. (If the kids are young, this step is done ahead of time by adults.)

  • Weaving the Sides: All the drilled bases that we sell are drilled with an odd number of holes. This allows for a continuous weaving around the basket. When one weaver ends, overlap the ends for about 2", try to put the ends between the weaver and a spoke, and keep weaving with the new piece.

    If using a flat weaver, taper the end of a weaver when you start. Place the tip behind a spoke. Weave over/under the spokes. Keep weaving until the weaver runs out. To add a new piece, overlap the ends for 2" and keep weaving. When you have reached your desired high

  • Weaving the Rim: The basket is now turned upside down and dipped into warm water to re-wet and soften the spokes sticking out of the weaving.

    Starting anywhere, take a spoke (working to the right) in front of two spokes (A & B). Insert the spoke down into the weaving next to spoke "B". Now take "A" and insert down into the weaving next to "C". This creates a looped rim around the basket. After all the spokes are tucked, the loops can be adjusted to be the same height.

~ Weave place mats from heavy paper or flat reed.
The pattern can be a simple plait of over 1, under 1 or more complicated twills depending on the age group. String can be used to stitch the edges of paper together or lash a "rim" in place.

~ See the free Carolina Candy Basket
pattern: Carolina Candy Basket: freepatterncandy.htm .

~ Weave around a Styrofoam cup.
Round reed can be inserted across the cup near the bottom. A base can be twined for a couple inches or start weaving up the sides right away, using the shape of the cup as a mold. After the weaving is finished and secured, break away the Styrofoam. Voila', a finished basket.

~ Try Plastic Strapping - no water needed. Plastic strapping works great in a hexagonal (or Shaker) weave or try diagonally plaited baskets. Will also work as a reed substitute or for placemats. Mostly white to gray in color, sometimes mixed color (blues, reds, yellows) bundles are available.

~ Weaving a construction paper basket:
Paper Basket
Cut strips of construction or water color paper 1/2" wide by at least 14" long.
Using 2 colors will give the checkerboard effect seen in the photo.
Lay out a base of 12 spokes by 12 spokes, weaving over 1 / under 1. The horizontal spokes are all the same color, the verticle spokes are all the 2nd color.
Paper Basket
Now you have a woven base with 4 sides, each side will have one color of spokes extending away from the base.
Gather all the spokes from one side. Bend them upwards and fan them so they are wider at the base and all the ends come together. Staple or glue and clamp the ends.
Paper Basket       Paper Basket
Repeat this on the other three sides.
Take 4 more strips of paper (2 groups of 2) and attach to opposite corners to make a handle that crosses in the center.
Paper Basket
Form a bow with paper strips and attach to center of handles. Paper Basket
Let you imagination go to work. There are many ways this little basket can be altered and embellished.

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The Country Seat, Inc.
Basketry, Gourd Weaving & Chair Seating Supplies
1013 Old Philly Pike
Kempton, Pennsylvania 19529-9321 USA
Phone: 610-756-6124
Fax: 610-756-0088
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