This series has tutorials that show how you can weave plastic wire baskets and flower vases. I have chosen the projects carefully to demonstrate at least one new technique in each tutorial.
This series is a walk down the memory lane for me (and I assume for most of us). A couple of decades ago, these plastic wire baskets were found in almost every house. When the baskets were replaced by plastic bags, this craft also died. So this tutorial series is my humble effort to preserve a part of our childhood.
For easy navigation, I have split this page into 6 sections.
You can jump to any of the 6 major sections in this page by clicking on the buttons below. However, if you are new to weaving, you should read through the whole page at least once.
- Frequently asked questions
- Weaving knots – This section is for beginners who want to learn the different weaving knots. You can scroll past this section if you know the knots already.
- Baskets – This section has tutorials for various baskets
- Basket handles – This section lists the various basket handles that you can add to your baskets.
- Flower vases & other woven items – You can weave plenty of things with plastic wires. Your creativity is the limit. This section has tutorials for some of them.
- Helpful weaving tips – This section will grow with time as I add tips and tricks that will make weaving easier.
I have chosen the projects carefully so that in each tutorial, you will be learning some new technique.
So here we go ….
Section 1 – Weaving knots tutorials
With these knots, you will be able to make all the woven projects shown in this page.
Try these knots a few times before attempting a basket. You could also start with smaller woven items before trying big baskets.
Next we will see different kinds of baskets.
Section 2 – Wire Baskets tutorials
Choose the basket you want to make based on
- Knot used to weave the basket
- With or without running wire
- With or without base
You can choose any of the following basket handles for your baskets.
Section 3 – Basket handles tutorials
Any of these handles can be added to your baskets.
The next sections shows what you can do with leftover wire after weaving baskets.
Section 4 – Flower Vases And Other Woven items
These are small weekend weaving projects.
Section 5 – Frequently asked questions
Let me first answer a few general questions that folks asked me when I posted the basket tutorials. This FAQ section gets updated when readers ask the same question a few times.
1. What is this wire called?
This wire is usually called cane wire.
2. Where can I buy cane wire to make baskets?
Since ladies are not weaving these baskets anymore, shops have stopped selling them. So avoid new craft shops and target shops that have been around for a few decades. Strike up a conversation with the old uncle or aunty who owns the shop and they might be able to tell you where you can find them.
No luck? You can try contacting the manufacturer directly. I found this information online based on the company name found on the packet.
M.M. Plastic Udyog (http://www.mmplasticind.net/)
For those living in Chennai, Raja thread stores @Ranganathan street has them.
3. How much wire will I need for a basket?
Check the individual tutorials for this. If you want a bigger or a smaller basket, you will have to adjust the measurements accordingly.
What surprised me was the price of the wire. My biggest basket required two bundles and the total cost of materials was just $2. An eco-friendly basket that can last for decades and yet it costs just 2 dollars. How about that?
Note: Paracord can also be used to make these baskets. An example is shown below.
4. How long will it take for me to complete a basket?
That depends on how much time you can spare for this. The easy ones can be done in a day or two. The bigger ones take about a week to two weeks. To avoid getting shoulder or elbow pain, don’t overdo it even if you feel very excited (speaking this from experience haha). The mind wants what it wants but my shoulder refused to cooperate. Yikes.
5. I am new to basket weaving. Where should I start?
But if you are an adventurous newbie (you go gal!), start with a smaller coin purse with amla knot rather than a big basket.
Here are some tips that will make weaving easier.
Section 6 – Helpful Weaving Tips And Tricks
1. Check wire quality while buying
Examine the packet before purchasing wire as poor quality wire will break while weaving.The basket will also look dull and lack sheen.
2. Getting the running wire ready
When you purchase the wire, you will get it as a roll as shown below (yellow wire). Wind the wire carefully around a stick / a ruler like shown below. The elastic will prevent it from unraveling. This wire that is wrapped around the stick will be the running wire.
You can also roll up a sheet of newspaper and wrap wire around it.
3. Cutting wire pieces
Depending on the type of basket, you will be cutting between 15 to 30 pieces of wire. I have 2 tips to make this process quicker.
- Measuring tape is 1.5 meters but most baskets will require wire pieces that are longer than 1.5 meters. It will take a long time to measure each wire using measuring tape. So cut one piece of wire that is of a contrasting color (green). Then use that as a measuring tape.
- You can also cut at double the speed by cutting 2 pieces of wire at a time. As shown in picture below, you can cut from both ends of the wire bundle.
4. Preventing tangles
This wire will get tangled like crazy and you will see the running wire getting curled. While making baskets that use running wire, you will have to unwind them periodically so it will be easier if they are on a stick. Cut the required number of pieces for making the basket and then wind the remaining wire that will be used as running wire on a wooden ruler or dowel or even rolled up newspaper. Or you could simply use a twig. That is what our grandmas did.
Periodically dangle the bundle of wire like shown below and allow it to spin.
5. Changing color
When we change colors or if your wire gets over and you have add another piece, you will be making joints. You can sew them together or you can tuck them inside.
6. Tucking in excess wire
Lace the wire through the knots and then cut the excess off. To make it easier to lace, cut the wire at an angle.
7. If wire stains fingers
While cutting wire, if the wire stains your fingers, it will stain other color wire that you will use in the project. Soak in warm soapy water and then use.
If you followed any of my tutorials, send photos via email / FB (details can be seen below) I will be very happy to post your creations here.
It was a pleasure making these tutorials. Please share them with your friends. I would love to hear your comments too. So type away in the comment section below.
Have fun weaving!