I live in an area where lots of berries grow wild, and I love to pick them. So I decided to make a berry-picking basket to make the process easier. Duct tape makes it colorful and easy.
You will need:
• 2 rolls of duct tape in contrasting colors
• Acetate or transparencies
• Measuring mat and/or tape measure
Step 1: Preparation
To start the body of the basket, tear off ten 11-inch strips of duct tape in one color and fold them in half to form strips approximately one inch in width. Make twenty 5 to 6-inch folded strips the same way, in a contrasting color.
Step 2: Weaving
Place five long strips on your table and tape down with a strip of duct tape (I use the plain grey kind to save the good, expensive stuff). Weave 10 short strips. To keep the weave tight, use bits of duct tape to hold the strips in place as you weave them.
Step 3: Lining
Remove the strip holding the weaving to the table and flip the weaving over. Place strips of duct tape along the back of the weaving to line it in one solid color. (I recommend a darker color, as berries might stain a light one.) When this step is finished, turn the sheet back over and remove the bits of ugly duct tape. Then cut around the edges to square off your sheet to one solid woven rectangle.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat the previous steps with your remaining strips. You will now have two woven sheets with solid lining on the back.
Step 5: Attach Walls
Attach the two walls of the basket by lining up the sides and putting a piece of duct tape on the outside and one inside. Do this twice. You should end up with a circle at the end.
The reason I don't weave this all as one big piece is that the longer the duct tape pieces get, the easier they are to wrinkle or ruin.
Step 6: Make the Bottom
Fold the walls every five squares so you have a square box. Measure the area of the box; it should be about 5" x 5". Make a duct tape sheet slightly larger than that by tearing off pieces that are around 6" long, placing around three with the sticky sides up, then placing three more on top of them.
Cut the square bottom so it will fit your basket.
Tape the bottom to the basket. Ideally, overlap the colored tape so it goes exactly over the bottom row of squares. Do the outside first, then the inside.
The inside step can be a bit tricky; take your time, and remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. First, tear pieces a bit under 5 inches long, and place them one at a time inside over the seam. I find it helps, before placing them, to fold them with the sticky side out and placing the fold on the seam.
Step 7: Tape the Top Edges
Using pieces around 5" long again, tape around the top edges of the basket.
Step 8: Make the Strap
Use a tape measure or a string to measure the length over your shoulder so the basket will sit on your hip. Add about 8 inches for attaching the strap. I ended up with a 44" strap.
To make a sturdy strap, I like to cut 1" strips of transparencies (the kind used in overhead projectors) for shaping and strength. I cut 5 strips (11" long each).
Carefully tear off a length of duct tape that equals the length of the strap you want. Without allowing it to fold or stick to itself, lay it sticky side up. Place the transparency strips down the middle of it, overlapping so there are no gaps. Fold over the edges. They will not completely cover the transparency.
Then tear off another strip of the same length. Lay it sticky-side up, and place the strap ugly side down on it. Fold the sticky edges over the strap again. You will now have a nice strap.
Step 9: Attach the Strap
Attach the strap to the inside of the basket with duct tape. Bring it as far down to the bottom as you can, making sure it is still comfortable to sling over your shoulder. If it is too long, you can either cut it or run it along the bottom of the basket as well. Secure with duct tape, but don't go crazy on this unless you plan on carrying heavier things than berries.
Step 10: Finished - Go Berry Picking!
This basket makes it super easy to just pick and place the berries. If you want to keep the inside clean, put a produce bag inside it (I wash and reuse mine). Then you will have a ready-made bag of berries. You can also bring multiple bags, like at the height of raspberry season, and use the basket for picking and the bags for storing and carrying home. Enjoy!
Thanks to Rachael, my kind neighbor, who picked mulberries for my photos.