What is a closed basket base?
A closed basket base is the bottom of a basket that is woven tightly together so that there are no gaps between stakes.
This is done by laying out the horizontal stakes. Then adding a shorter length of stake between each of the longer stakes to form a solid base. The vertical stakes are then woven in.
Closed base market basket
Use the directions below to create a closed base for your basket. You can find all other steps explained and demonstrated in our free Beginner Basket Weaving: Market Basket video course.
Or visit Step-by-Step Guide to Weaving a Handled Basket for a tutorial on how to weave a market basket. Substitute the following instructions in this tutorial for the open base instructions described in that tutorial, to create a closed base version.
Gather tools and materials
You will need a few tools to create your closed basket base. The following are the basics to start with.
I am using a 3/4″ flat reed for the basket bases demonstrated in the photos below. The width of the reed you start with will depend on what size or style of the basket you are weaving.
I order reed from The Basket Makers Catalog, an online basket makers resource and supplier.
Setting up to weave the base
Set up your workspace.
Before you begin weaving lay a towel down on your work surface. This will catch any excess water as you work with the damp/wet reed.
Set another towel down to one side and place a bin of warm water on top of this towel. This bin will be where you soak the reed to keep things damp.
Finally layout your tools in easy reach to one side where they won’t be in your way.
For details on tools I’m using visit Basket Weaving Tools: What you Will Need to Get Started.
See my post The Beginning of it all…Learn to cut basket stakes for more information on how to do this.
I use a pair of reed cutters like these:
For the closed base basket, you will need two sets of stakes: horizontal and vertical stakes. These are cut to the measurement of your pattern or your custom design.
You will also need a set of stakes to go between the horizontal stakes. Cut these shorter stakes five inches longer than the completed base of the basket.
For example, if you are weaving a 10-inch wide basket you would cut these shorter stakes to 15 inches long. The five excess inches will be divided between the two ends and will form the ‘crows feet’ pattern shown below.
Mark the halfway point on all stakes, make the marking on the wrong side of the reed. Do this with a pencil.
The wrong side of the reed is rougher, the right side is smooth and looks less “hairy.”
Place stakes in water to soak for a few minutes (only while you prepare for the next steps)
Weaving a closed base
To weave a closed base basket you will be working with three different sets of stakes. The vertical stakes, horizontal stakes, and filler stakes.
Laying out the stakes
Start by laying the horizontal stakes out parallel to each other. Lay the stakes so that the center mark is facing up and the marks on all the stakes line up.
Space the stakes so that there is about a stake width between each horizontal stake. This will get adjusted as you weave, so exactness is not important.
Adding in the filler stakes
Between each of the horizontal stakes place a filler stake. Lay them down with the center mark facing up and lined up with the horizontal stake center marks.
The filler stakes go on the inside of the horizontal stakes. So the base should have horizontal stakes on both outside edges and filler stakes between each stake. Like the image below (disregard the handle).
Weaving in the perpendicular stakes
Once the horizontal and filler stakes have been laid out you can add in the perpendicular stakes. This is where the weaving begins.
If you are working with a handle as demonstrated in these photos then weave the handle so that the outer horizontal stakes are underneath the handle, this will mean all the filler stakes are going over the handle.
Adjust the handle so that it sits right over the center marks- center marks lining up with the middle of the handle base.
If you are not using a handle then weave stakes by starting at the center mark and working out one way and then from the center and out the other way.
Square the base
Using a tape measure evenly space the stakes you just wove into the base.
Do this going in both directions.
Cutting and tucking for crow’s feet
The filler stakes should be about 2.5 inches past the last vertical stake. If the center mark on these stakes is lined up with the center mark on the horizontal stakes.
Once the base is squared and adjusted the way you want, go along the edge of the base and fold the filler stakes up against the last vertical stake edge. This is creating a fold crease in order to create the ‘crow’s feet.’
Once all the stakes have been folded over then using the reed cutters cut the filler stake end in half from the end to right against the vertical stake. This is slitting the filler stakes into two pieces.
When all the filler stakes have been split on the ends use the straight tipped packer to guide the ends underneath the second vertical stake from the edge. The ends will fold over the first vertical stake, extend out and on either side of itself, and get tucked under the second vertical stake on either side creating a v-shape, what is called ‘crows feet’ (also called ‘chicken feet’ or ‘henscratch’).
Do this tucking process all the way across the basket on both sides.
Double check that the base measurement of the basket corresponds with the base measurement in the basket pattern, or the dimensions you want.
And that is your closed base. The next step is twining. Read Twining the Base: Creating a Stable Basket to learn how to do the twining.