Making baskets can be therapeutic. The repetitiveness of weaving and seeing something take shape is rewarding. As with other things you make yourself, you can make it the size and shape you need. I will show you how I made a couple of baskets from used polyester straps I got for free. I made a small 5x5x4 basket and a larger 7x7x7 basket with a handle.
Step 1: Safety
No fire or sparks in this Instructable, but you will be working with straps of material that can hit you in the eye. Safety glasses will protect your eyes.
Step 2: Materials
There is a polyester strap that is used to secure items for shipping. They are strong and flexible, perfect for making baskets. You can buy 1000 feet of it for 50 dollars, or if you know someone that works in shipping or a factory, they can get you used pieces for free. If you get used strapping, you may have to cut out bad spots and joints where the ends were melted together. It is always nice having free materials to make something.
Step 3: Tools
I used some strong shears to make clean cuts.
I used some regular flat nose pliers and some metal seaming pliers to make folds in the strapping. You could use your hands, but the pliers make it easier to make precise clean folds and help flatten out folds.
Hot glue works well at bonding the straps together.
A slotted screwdriver is useful at prying the weave open to shoehorn in pieces.
I used cable ties to help pull the weave tight and hold it in place until some of the folds were made.
I cut a piece of strap to a length that I needed to make repetitive cuts of the same length.
I also had a "helper", a self proclaimed expert at weaving. And she knew the difference between odd and even.
Step 4: Start Weaving the Bottom
I used the over under method of weaving. I used odd numbers. You can use even numbers, but odd numbers are better. Odd numbers make the basket stronger at the joint between the bottom and the sides. Odd numbers keep the over under over under pattern going. Sometimes with even numbers you get an over under under over pattern.
Step 5: Fold Up the Sides
You can fold up the sides by hand or use pliers. Try and make the folds line up. My little basket ended up being a little off and looked wonky. The larger basket I made with more care and it showed.
Step 6: Make Square Hoops for the Sides
I made square hoops the same size as the bottom of my basket. I used hot glue to hold them together at one corner.
Step 7: Weave in the Side Hoops
The method I used was to tuck all the upright side pieces into the inside of the hoop. Then I would pull every other upright piece to the outside of the hoop, giving me the over under pattern. The next hoop would be put on the same way and alternate the upright side pieces being pulled to the outside, keeping the over under pattern going up the sides.
Step 8: Fold Over and Tuck in the Tops of the Sides
Once you get your side hoops woven in, fold over the tops of the side pieces. You will tuck them in under the second hoop down from the top. Half of the side pieces will fold over the top hoop to the inside of your basket and the other half will fold over to the outside of the basket. Trim off the ends of the side pieces so that they will be hidden inside the hoops once they are tucked in. If everything is woven tight, your basket is ready to be used.
Step 9: Making Bigger Baskets.
Bigger baskets use the same steps, they just use more material and sometimes can make you feel like you need eight hands to manage them. The plastic straps would slip, which is nice when you want them to slip together, but when you want them to stay together and they slip apart, that can be annoying. One trick I used was to use cable ties to hold the side hoops down and help pull them tight. A tight woven basket looks better and is stronger than a basket that is woven loosely. Once the tops of the side pieces are folded and tucked in, the cable ties are no longer needed and can be cut and taken out.
Step 10: A Tool to Speed Up the Cutting
On my big basket, I determined the length I need to cut the upright side pieces to make them fold and tuck in. I cut a piece of strapping that length and used it as a length guide tool for cutting the other upright side pieces.
Step 11: Hard to Tuck Tight Weave
A tight weave is a strong weave but it also makes it hard to tuck in the ends. I used a slotted screw driver to pry open the weave and help shoehorn in the ends.
Step 12: Making a Basket With a Handle
Making a basket with a handle is stronger than making a handle for a basket. I made the center strap long enough that it went up both sides and was able to go over the top and tuck into the opposite sides. It seamed strong enough, but I made it stronger by hot gluing it together in the middle.
Step 13: Have Fun Making Someone Happy
My daughter helped with the small basket, but when she saw the finished big basket she asked if she could have it for her Easter basket. Her bunny and bears fit in the basket perfectly and she was happy. I will be making more of these baskets in the future.
Step 14: Video
As usual, I made a video. It is a long one but I think it will help make the process clearer.
Thank you for watching.
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