How to Weave a Basket

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This is a step-by-step tutorial on how to weave a basket. This is a round basket that is very simple and fun to make. I use it for eggs and tomatoes. It’s a great, fun project for anyone who likes craft and whats to learn the basics of basket making and it’s also a great weaving project for kids. Here is how to weave a round basket…


Basket making has been on my mind for a long time now. It’s such a useful art and a great skill for anyone to learn but especially for those of us who wish to live a little closer to the land.

I don’t like knick-knacks. I do like things neat and beautiful but they need to be useful as well. Maybe it will change later on, but at this point in my life, with four little kids, a home business, and a farm to run I simply don’t want to have to maintain and clean something that I can’t use.

Baskets are beautiful, useful, and natural. And now that the summer garden is done I need to replace it with another project, God forbid I’ll only have 16 projects going on at the same time, it’s gotta be 17… At LEAST 17 delicious projects at all times.

So the other day I went to the Habitat for Humanity store which is my favorite place in town. I buy my kids toys for 25 cents there (when I say toys I mean, pots, pans, wooden spoons, containers, fabrics, stuffed animals, little wooden things – stuff like that because they don’t really care for modern-day plastic kids toys).

They love it because they get to buy a lot of things and I love it because it’s cheap and I don’t mind if they ruin their “new” toys by playing with them in the mud or water or whatever.

It’s also a great place for supplies for projects. I can find anything there from windows to books to fabrics.

Anyway, I was going through the craft area looking for iamnotsurewhat when I noticed a garbage bag full of basket making supplies. I got so excited! It had round reed in there and flat reed and spokes, and clothes pins… So many things and the whole bag cost $1.

You know it came home with me!

How to Weave a Basket…

Join me for a picture tutorial on how to weave a basket. A fun, relaxing, and easy basket weaving project. The result is both beautiful and useful! #howtoweaveabasket #simplebasketweaving #reedbasketweaving #simplebasketweaving

What I really want to do, my end goal, you can say, is to be able to walk around in nature and gather willow or honeysuckle or other materials and use those natural, local materials to weave with. I would love to be able to make useful things like small furniture, storage containers, and backpacks.

There is still a lot for me to learn to get to this skill level but the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, right? So my first step was to learn to use the supplies I found and weave a simple round basket.

Reed Basket Weaving…

Reeds soaking in water

I chose to use the thin, round reed that was in the bag.

The first step was to soak it in water for a couple of hours to make it flexible to avoid breakage when used. I also soaked the spokes which I guess were cut from the same reed.

Reeds for basket making.

Once I was ready to weave I took the spokes out and enough reed for me to start with (I left the rest in the water).

Spokes for basket making.

The spokes were cut from the same roll of round reed that was in the bag. They were about 24” long and I decided to use them at this size for a small-medium basket.

How to Weave a Basket: Step By Step Tutorial…

How to Weave a Basket - placing spokes

I used 8 spokes. The first step is to separate them into two groups of four, lay the spokes within each group flat next to each other and then lay one group on the other group and center them to create a cross.

Starting to weave a simple basket.

Now it’s time to start lashing which is the weaving that holds the spokes together in place. I took my long piece of reed and placed the end of it under the group of spokes that is underneath…

Reed basket making - stating to weave.

Then I went over the group of spokes that are on the top, under the group that is on the bottom, over the group that is on the top, and under the group I started from.

Starting to weave a basket.

I did this three times and tacked the end in so it’s held in place.

Tacking the end at the beginning of a basket weaving project

You can see it better here.

How to Weave a Basket

Now that the three rotations of lashing done it was time to start the actual weaving.

I separated each group of spokes into two groups of two, that gave me eight groups of spokes. When weaving this type of round basket it is important that you have an odd number of spokes…

Easy basket weaving

So what I did was cut off one group of spokes very close to the lashing.

How to weave a round basket - the beginning.

I separated all the spokes and started weaving. As I weaved I tried to make sure that the spokes are spaced evenly around the circle.

A handmade basket base.

I simply went under one spoke and over the next, under a spoke and under the next and so on around the circle. After I went around one time I checked myself by making sure I weaved under a spoke in the second rotation if I weaved over it in the first rotation.

Weaving a round basket.

I kept weaving around the circle of spokes…

Starting to band a handmade basket.

Until I ran out of reed.

How to weave a simple basket.

To change to a new piece of reed I placed the end of the new reed right next to the end of the old reed and kept weaving.

Using clothespins to hold a weaved basket.

Using a clothes pin helped me hold the two ends together in place.

How to Weave a Basket - tacking ends.

Once the new reed was secured I tacked the end of the old reed in between the spaces of the woven reed to hide it. After the basket is done I’ll go back and cut it so it is barely visible.

How to Weave a Basket - banding the sides.

I wanted to make a medium basket with a relatively wide base. I figured I could use it for eggs on my kitchen counter but as I weaved I noticed that the reed I was using was too thin to create a wide, sturdy base. So I had to compromise on a smaller kind of basket and start angling the spokes a bit sooner than I intended.

Handmade basket - the middle of the project.

As I weaved, I gently pushed the spokes away from me to form the basket shape.

How to weave a simple basket tutorial.

Here is a view from the outside of the basket…

Handmade round basket

I kept weaving around and around until the basket looked big enough to me and I still had about eight inches or so of spokes so I could easily finish the basket.

Weaving a Simple Basket

To finish the basket, the first step is to bend each spoke before the one next to it…

Tacking reed ends on basket

And then tacked under it.

Finished project - How to weave a Basket

The next step is to take the end of each spoke and tack it back into the basket.

I thought this would be a very easy step but it was actually the hardest for me because the spokes were so thin and springy that they kept jumping out and I couldn’t really secure them tightly in place.

Reed Basket Weaving

I think that to fix this I should take a piece of twine and sew around the top of the basket which will make the whole basket much stronger.

Finishing a handmade basket

The last thing I had to do was to take my scissors and cut all the ends that were sticking out of the basket off.

Easy basket weaving

That’s it for this simple basket weaving project! Our basket is ready.

How to weave a basket - eggs in basket

It was such a fun and relaxing project and I think the result is not too bad for my first time.

Eggs in a simple round basket

I was surprised that the basket could actually hold a good number of eggs…

Tomatoes in a handmade reed basket

And I also tried to place my not-completely-ripe tomatoes in it and it looked so cute on the counter.

I am definitely hooked! I will be trying to make a square basket with my flat reed soon and I have already ordered another pattern to start work on. In addition, I’ve started researching to learn about the natural materials we have here in NC to do more weaving.

I think that the easiest will be to start with honeysuckle and weave a basket similar to this one. There is so much I want to try but I’ll have to take it one project at a time.

If you would like to try your hand at basket making, here are a few great resources I found:

Basic Beginner’s Guide to Basket Weaving – this is a great basic guide to start with.

Basket Maker’s Catalog – supplies and a whole lot of information on basket making. Also, they have a few really nice free basket patterns including instructions on how to weave them.

Basketmaker’s Weaving – this is an old site that appears is not being updated any longer, but still, there is a lot of great and useful information there. I am linking here to a basic basket maker’s terminology page but look at the sidebar on the right for more helpful posts.

Jill Choate Basketry – A lot of video tutorials especially if you click on her You-Tube link.

NC Basket Works – a lot of information on basket making, free patterns, products, and instructions.

Matt Tommy – this guy is amazing! Especially if you are interested in weaving with natural materials. His blog is really informative and he also offers classes in Asheville, NC.

This list of web sites should keep us busy for a while but if you know of any other site that has valuable information please let me know.

I found a new hobby and I am so excited to learn and explore!

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15 thoughts on “How to Weave a Basket”

  1. Wow, what a great job. I can’t believe this is your first attempt at basket making. I think you have found another incredible talent .

  2. Sheri Cline - WA. State Zone 8b

    Beautiful! and you also found another “cash crop” for your farm. Weaving grasses, reeds & conifer needles….and don’t forget to look into growing some gourds too. They work into basket weaving beautifully and are a lot of fun for kids making bird houses out of them. There are a few local tribal women who do “Basket Gathering Groups” here. They teach basket weaving and it starts by gathering many of the necessary supplies. They teach where and how to collect naturally growing plants without injuring. The California Miwok Indians made some of the most beautiful pine needle baskets.

    1. Those are the people to learn from! I wish I had access to a group of women like that. I’ll keep looking, maybe we had a group like that in NC too.

      1. Sheri Cline - WA. State Zone 8b

        There should be sources in your state especially with local Native Indian tribes, county/ state fairs and community/state colleges. A couple other reasons you should look into this as a cash crop or just personal use is (1) to avoid pesticides and (2) your not going to be young forever, hard farming is hard on the female body. Something like this could “bloom” into a business that can take you into your old age.

        1. I didn’t think about looking for a state source for more information. I know there is a whole Indian area in the NC mountains, about 4 hours from here. I should check.
          My brain already works in the direction of products I can sell! With the kids being young, my time is limited at the moment, but it’s a good time to practice.

          1. Sheri Cline - WA. State Zone 8b

            Winter months with the native peoples was spent doing handy-work, like basket making, tanning leathers & making footwear, spinning fibers for blankets & robes and other articles of clothing. It’s also a good time for story telling and teaching (homeschooling) young children in reading writing and math. It’s too cold for much else and they need to keep their minds in motion…and their hands.

    1. I am sorry, I really don’t know… What I found at that thrift store was reed cut into pieces about two feet long. I can remember how many of them I’ve used…

  3. I’m grateful for so much information. I have tried some natural materials but couldn’t make them work. I’m willing to keep on trying.. I have ordered from Basketry in N. Carolina and Newell Workshop but it’s been a long time . Don’t know if they are still in business.

    1. So happy that you liked this post. Basket weaving is so relaxing and so much fun! I haven’t done it in a while too. have to get back to it.

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