Updated: Apr 26, 2022
When I'm teaching, I'm often asked how much raffia is needed to make a basket. It's a good question, because, I assure you, once you start making your own baskets, you will always want some raffia at the ready!
Now, firstly and quite obviously, the amount of raffia you need to make your own basket depends on how big your basket is going to be - I always buy at least 1kg (2.2 lbs) of raffia at a time and dye it myself as coloured raffia can get expensive. So, think a better question would be, how many baskets can I make with a kilo of raffia?
The answer: the five baskets in the picture above were made using just under a kilo of raffia (the top three were made using natural dyes). On the right is a kilo of raffia which has been tightly packed for shipping.
Now, the term raffia is often used as a generic term for fibres that may look like raffia but aren't the real deal. Paper, plastic and other plant fibres can be referred to as raffia but none of them is quite as magical as the real thing, so don't be fooled if you're looking for quality materials.
There are varying qualities in the type of raffia you can buy - the best quality certainly comes from Madagascar from a raffia palm, Raphia teadigera. Try and purchase good quality raffia fibre as it will make a big difference when you are creating your basket. It will be easy on your hands and be less likely to break.
I always buy my raffia from String Harvest and The Raffia Connection which are both quality suppliers with a stunning range of colours. You know that you're getting the real product too. If you're in the US, we've been told Joseph Stern sells raffia in kilos in a few colours for a reasonable price.
So what does a kilo of Raffia look like when you open a bundle? Below is a video of me demonstrating what it looks like at a workshop.
You probably won't want to make natural coloured raffia baskets all the time so we have a workshop that shows you how to create you own colours using plants, vegetables and fruit.
And remember, we offer a range of raffia related workshops where you can use up your home supply of stunning raffia! (See below).
Raffia courses we offer:
Throughout this course you will learn:
What tools you'll need for your natural dyeing projects
How to dye cotton, linen and raffia
Three different dyeing processes
How to create five colours from a plant source
How to adjust colours
How to dye your own materials for stitching and basketry projects
Learn more about this course here.
How to Make Raffia Baskets Courses 1 & 2
Our How to Make a Raffia Basket Courses 1 & 2 teach you how to make raffia baskets using 5 different techniques. The first course is for all skill levels while the second is for more advanced basket makers wanting to add a few more exciting skills to their raffia basket making toolkit. It's recommended that you complete course 1 before enrolling in course 2.
You can purchase both in a course bundle here.
In our first workshop, How to make a Raffia basket No 1 you will learn:
How to work with raffia
The tools you will need
Five different starter circles
Five different coiling techniques
Shaping your basket
How to create handles
Finishing off your stunning basket
In our second workshop How to make Raffia Baskets No 2 you will learn
How to make oval baskets
Shaping around a form including bottles and a container
Creating coloured patterns
The cutest rectangle bag
How to make cord/string
And some more handles and straps to incorporate into your work.
Want more info about raffia?
If you want to know more about the fibre itself then you can read our What is Raffia? Blog post.
Or a YouTube clip we made Let's Talk About Raffia
If you need to know more you can email us at email@example.com and happy to answer any of your questions