Start basket weaving using some of these tips to help you begin:
- Sign up for a class or a course
- Buy a kit
- Gather all the tools
- Set up a workspace
- Start a medium to small basket
- Make a basket with a handle
- Learn a few basic terms
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One: Sign up for a basket weaving class or a course
An obvious and easy way to get into basket weaving is to take a class. Having a teacher in the room to work with you and help you over the difficult bits is extremely helpful.
Search basket weaving classes in your area by doing a Google search. Often local library systems, community colleges, and community centers offer community classes. Check these out as a possibility. Another way to find a class or a basket teacher is to connect with local craft or fiber arts guilds. Search for guilds in your area.
If you don’t have access to any of the above then another possibility is taking an online video course. Do a search for basket weaving courses online.
I have a few basket weaving video courses available. Check out my courses.
Take my free Beginner Basket Weaving: Market Basket Video Course. This is a great way to get an introduction to basket weaving. And you can always send me an email if you have questions or problems.
Two: Buy a basket weaving kit
Start out using a basket kit. Try it out with just the materials you need. Test out basket weaving using a kit so that you don’t have to buy large batches of the reed.
If you are interested in taking one of my basket weaving courses check out my Etsy shop Textile Indie Supplies. I sell kits for the basket courses I offer.
Three: Gather all basket weaving tools
Gather all your tools or alternative tools together before beginning to weave. It’s much easier to have everything ready to grab when you need it than to have to run to another room to find something or stop because you don’t have the tools you need.
Basket weaving tools list
- Cloth measuring tape
- Reed cutters
- Stake weight
- Straight tipped packer
- Box cutter
- Metal clamps
- Plastic clamps
- Spray bottle
- Water tub
For this complete list of tools with more information and resources see Basket Weaving Tools: What you Will Need to Get Started
Gathering the tools
There are a few tools for basket weaving that are hard to live without. These include a pair of sharp reed cutters (also referred to as reed shears), metal or plastic clamps, and a cloth measuring tape.
If you have a pair of very sharp kitchen shears or scissors these will work for your first few baskets.
Metal or plastic clamps are easy to find at hardware stores or online.
Cloth measuring tape
There are alternatives
Instead of using a stake weight, an alternative is to use a hammer. It is heavy and will hold the stakes in place, accomplishing the task, though not as fancy.
A straight tipped packer can be replaced by a flat head screwdriver or even a butter knife in a pinch.
If you don’t have a water tub or spray bottle you can always use the bathtub or sink to wet things down whenever they start to get dry. There was a short period of time when I was weaving baskets on the seat of the toilet because it was the most convenient way to get to the water without dripping all across the house.
Four: Set up a basket weaving work space
Having a workspace laid out will help with your workflow. After gathering all your tools together set up a table, workbench, floor space, or wherever you like to work. As I mentioned I’ve even sat on the floor in the bathroom and woven baskets on the toilet seat because it was the most convenient at the time.
I highly suggest using a table that is hip height as this will raise your work-surface up to you and make it easier to weave. You can also weave sitting down. Though there will be times standing up will give you better leverage on the materials.
Watch this video on how I set up my basket weaving workspace:
Five: Start by weaving a medium to small basket
Starting out weaving a large basket will be overwhelming and frustrating.
If you’re weaving a basket for the first time try something that’s in the small to medium range. Doing this will make the project manageable and give you better success. It will also help you learn the weaving techniques so that you can later take on the larger basket projects you want to tackle.
Six: Make a basket with a handle
This may seem surprising as adding another element into a basket is daunting. But weaving a small or medium basket with a ‘d’ handle will actually help you with creating the basket shape.
The handle will act as a support for two of the sides of the basket. Having the handle as a steady target for two walls of the basket will help to shape the other two walls.
For an explanation of a ‘d’ handle and other handle types see Beginners Guide to Basket Handles.
In my free video course I teach an easy handled market basket: Beginner Basket Weaving Market Basket.
Seven: Learn a few basic basketry terms
Having some of the basket making lingoes down will help you understand what’s going on as you read a basket weaving pattern, take a course or a class, or read basket tutorials.
Consider printing a basket weaving glossary for quick reference.
Here is a basket weaving glossary to read through to familiarize yourself with common terms.
If you want to print a version of the glossary find a printable version here.
Get to weaving
If you want further information about basket weaving checks out our library of articles. We are continually adding and growing our content, so stay tuned. Subscribe to get a twice a month update on new content, courses, resources, and news.