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I really enjoyed teaching everyone to make a miniature gardening basket recently, and it got me thinking – are there other ways to make miniature baskets? Of course! Here is a beginner’s strategy that uses sewing pins and a simple weave for a modern take on a basket. The final result looks just like the ones at Target!
- You can get all kinds of sizes of foamboard. Smaller pieces work better, so if you can’t find a small piece, cut it yourself with a box cutter or hobby knife. You want a piece that you can rotate while you are working!
- hemp cord
- Make sure the weight of cord that you choose is thin enough to weave easily through the pins. Anything bigger than 36 lb won’t work.
- I used 20 lb for a thicker basket. With anything smaller, you will need more layers but will get more definition!
- Pick a glue that dries clear!
- This is for gluing, so pick a cheap, small one
- paper or cardstock
- pen or marker
- Optional hobby knife
- Optional tweezers
- Optional paint palette
- Super handy for holding glue during this process
Step 1 – Draw the pattern
Draw the pattern onto some foamboard. I drew a 3cm x 3cm square with a Sharpie marker.
Q Why do I need to use foamboard for this project?
A I first tried with paper and cardboard, but you need a material that is stiff enough to keep the pins from moving at all! Foamboard is perfect, and can be picked up for cheap in small sizes!
Step 2 – Place Pins
Stick pins into the pattern. Keep them spaced about 1/8 inch apart. Make sure not to place any pins directly into the corners, but instead place 2 pins very close on either side of each corner. Try to push them as straight through the board as possible – you don’t want them to be leaning!
IMPORTANT: make sure you place an odd number of pins. As the pattern is square, I recommend using the same number of pins for every side except one. I used 6 pins on 3 sides and 5 pins on the 4th.
If you don’t place an odd number of pins, you won’t be able to do an alternate weave. Your mistake will be very evident to you as soon as you start weaving the second layer. 🙂
Step 3 – Start Weaving
Flip the foamboard over. Now you are ready to weave! You can start anywhere, but it’s advisable to start closer to a corner. Weave the cord behind a pin, then in front of the next pin, then behind the next pin. Repeat!
Step 4- Keep Weaving!
Repeat weaving! You will find a nice repetition that works for you. Make sure to pull the cord tight, and push down the layers to keep the weave really tight.
I found myself wishing that I had a thimble, as I kept pricking myself on the ends of the pins.
When I reached about 18 layers, my basket was as tall as I wanted it to be. Also, the pins were running out of room, and it was getting tougher to weave. 😉 So I decided to be done!
To finish the basket, complete your current row back at the position where you started, so the height is the same on every side. Then cut the cord.
Step 5 – Remove and Glue Basket
Now you need to get the basket off the pins. To do this, apply a liberal coat of white glue to the basket. Make sure you get plenty of glue in the nooks and crannies! Try to avoid gluing the foamboard as much as possible – you don’t want to glue the basket to the board!
Before the glue has time to dry completely, you need to remove the pins and remove the basket from the board. I did it 5 minutes after gluing – so that the glue was still tacky, but it was holding the layers together.
Remove the pins from the board by sliding them out from the bottom. Then gently remove the basket from the foamboard and place it somewhere for it to dry.
Q What if my basket stuck to the foamboard?
A Use a hobby knife to loosen the strands from the board, and then glue these loose strands back onto the basket. This side can be the bottom!
Step 6 – Create Inside Bottom
While your basket dries completely, you need a bottom. Cut a piece of printer paper or cardstock in the same pattern as the basket – 3cm x 3cm square. Apply a layer of glue to the paper. Lay a small end of cord in the very middle of the paper, and then wind cord around it, making an oval. Keep winding until you reach the very edges of the paper.
Step 7 – Insert Basket bottom
Your basket should be mostly dry by now. Take the paper and fit it into the basket, with the woven part inside the basket. Glue liberally.
Step 8 – Finish Outside Basket Bottom
Now to finish the outside bottom! Cover the other side of the paper with glue and repeat the oval winding process. To make sure that the cord goes to the very edges, I started from the outside and worked my way in, unlike with the inside.
When you are done, glue liberally!
Step 9 – Make Handles
If you want handles on your basket, cut 2 1.5-2cm lengths of cord. Roll them entirely in glue (your fingers are going to get extremely sticky!) Then place them at the same height on opposite sides of the basket. Make sure that they aren’t stuck to the side of the basket, but rather are only stuck by the ends so that they can move a little.
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Do you have any other ideas for miniature projects you would like to see? Let me know in the comments!
Til’ next time,