Basket making (also called weaving, coiling, twining depending on the technique) is a craft nearly as old as human existence. It’s hard to tell exactly how long people have been making baskets as the natural materials they used haven’t lasted the test of time.
Stone carvings suggest that baskets were used as a tool to carry objects from as early as 20,000 years ago BC. What we do know, is that people have been learning to make baskets and using them within their communities for thousands of years, it is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of humankind.
Basket making how to
Basket weaving is often used as a blanket term to describe all types of basketry, but there are different basket weaving techniques you can use: coiling, twining, weaving, random weave, for example. Cordage is the art of making rope, which is used in basket weaving also. Cordage, like basket making, is a wonderful craft - and one I teach in all my basket-making courses.
Basket coiling is a technique that suits beginner basket makers up to advanced basketry artists. The distinctive feature of this type of basketry is its central coil, or what we call a ‘starter circle’. If you look at the Craft School Oz logo you will see what a starter circle looks like - your starter circle is the beginning of this magical craft process. Once you have this circle as your foundation, you then coil your material around it, gradually making your basket.
I will show you how to create your starter circle and build your own DIY basket in a way that will have you basket-making in no time. For starters, you can look at our video gallery here. Or enrol yourself in one of my online courses here and get making!
Basket making using fabrics (Textile baskets)
Wanting to use up fabrics in your craft stash? Spare fabrics and old clothes make fantastic materials for coiled baskets. Most crafters will have a fabric stash they can dive into - and nearly all fabrics are useable (personally I love denim). Even if you're not a crafter, you'll likely have some clothes you've wanted to get rid of that you can use. Simply cut it into strips.
Other materials you will need
A large needle - with a big eye
A measuring tape or ruler (to cut your material into strips)
Twine, thread, or yarn
Basket making with natural materials (Baskets from the garden)
Traditionally baskets have been made from natural materials such as reeds, flax, and native grass. Cordage (rope) can be made from plant material and woven together to create structure.
In my Baskets from the Garden workshop, I teach my students what plants to look out for. Traditionally, basket weaving was all about what plants were local to you. I also show you how to do a random weave - so you can let your inner fibre artist shine!
Basket making using raffia
Raffia is a basket maker's dream fibre. It's been used in basketry since forever. I love teaching how to use raffia as it's a wonderful fibre to use. It also comes in so many wonderful colours. I like to dye mine botanically but you can find a lot of different, interesting colours from stockists. My preferred stockists are The Raffia Connection or String Harvest. To find out more about this amazing fibre, we've written a whole post about it here.
Materials you will need:
A large needle - with a big eye
Visit online craft courses and get making!