Why sign your basket?
Basketry is an art form, and most artists sign their work.
Basket weavers sign their work as evidence that they created the piece. By signing a basket, the weaver adds value and the legacy of tradition to their handmade object.
Here are a few reasons to consider:
First, sign your creations for yourself. Signing and dating the baskets you make is important as a creator because you’ll be able to look back at your progress as a weaver.
Second, sign your basket to mark it as something you created. For the same reasons an artist puts their mark somewhere in a painting, a basket weaver leaves their mark on a basket. It proves authorship.
Third, signing a basket signifies to yourself and the world that you’re “finished.” As the creator of the piece, you are satisfied with the work you did today. It’s an essential mindset for an artist to honor their process and skill evolution.
Fourth, if you plan to give the basket as a gift, signing it adds a unique element for the recipient.
Finally, by adding your signature to your lovingly created basket, you mark it as a handmade piece, separating it from the mass-produced items found at the local craft mart.
What to use to sign a basket
There are several options for signing a basket, but no matter what method you choose, the most important thing to remember is to use high-quality permanent ink.
Method 1: Markers
Suggested permanent markers
- Micron pens
Method 2: Wood burning
Use the writing tip with a wood-burning tool to leave an indelible and rustic mark on your baskets.
Wood burning will work best on a solid wood basket handle. If you decide to burn your initials into the reed, be careful, you’ll want to sign while the basket is slightly damp. No one wants your basket to go up in flames!
Suggested wood-burning tool:
The Walnut Hollow Creative Versa – Tool is an excellent choice for crafters. It’s inexpensive and includes 11 different tips, a stand, and temperature control.
Method 3: Rubber stamps
Another fun idea is to create a custom rubber signature stamp and use it on all your basket projects. You can create a logo, symbol, or stylistic signature to suit your taste.
I have a video tutorial on creating rubber stamps; it’s fun and easy.
Be sure to use permanent ink.
Method 4: Paint pens
Paint pens are another great option. They’re similar to permanent markers, but paint pens are the way to go for a metallic finish.
These Sakura pens come in copper, gold, and silver. You can also get fluorescent and ultraviolet colors (to each her own). The ink is archival and waterproof. If your basket ends up in a museum in 100 years, your signature will probably be visible!
Method 5: Metal tags
I love these custom hand-punched brass tags on Etsy:
Method 6: Tooled leather label
Commission custom leather labels. Here’s my choice on Etsy:
For makers that love to work with ALL the materials, make your own. Blick Art Supply has everything you need.
Leather tooling set
Rotary leather punch
How to sign a basket
Allow the basket to air dry thoroughly.
If you stain the basket, do so before adding a signature.
Sign, stamp, or add your custom tag.
Wood-burning tools will be safest if the basket is still retaining a tiny amount of moisture.
A clear coat protectant can go on after the permanent marker, paint pen, rubber stamp, or wood-burned signature.
Here is an example of using a Sharpie pen – quick and straightforward.