Basket Weaving

We wove baskets from reeds.

This huge project took several long days to complete, but we jumped right in with both feet and enjoyed it. Seven years ago, a very generous basket weaving hobbiest taught my mom, my oldest daughter and I how to make a simple woven basket from reeds. Here's a link to the technique which works just as well using paper. Since my youngest missed the first opportunity (she wasn't even born yet) we had to do it again, but this time it was on our own.

For us the first step was untangling the bundles of reeds. I'm not sure we did it correctly because we used the brute force method, but after a few hours, they were all separated.

Next we boiled some water and dumped in the powdered dye packets we purchased along with the reeds. The reeds were soaked for 5-10 minutes and then rinsed in cold water. (Untangling and dying took an entire afternoon.)

One big difference between working with paper and working with reeds, was that the reeds must be soaked for at least 30 minutes prior to weaving. They have to be kept wet during the weaving process so they remain pliable.

Not remembering exactly what we did seven years ago, I ended up purchasing a bundle of rounded reeds which we intended to use on the body of the baskets. This was a big mistake as they don't bend as easily as flat reeds. I believe the rounded reeds were used for the trim work at the top.

Luckily, we also purchased flat reeds. They were wider than the round reeds, but worked very well. We easily followed the paper technique linked above with the wide reeds. The photo above shows my daughter soaking her basket during the process to keep it pliable.

Once the body was woven, the reeds were bent over and tucked into the reeds woven around the basket. A butter knife works well as a tool to assist in putting the reeds in place.

All finished baskets should be signed on the bottom with a permanent marker - (name and date:)

Since I already made a basket like my daughter's above, I had to try something new. Plus we needed to try something with all the round reeds. I selected an interesting basket from the house and tried to duplicate it.

The most challenging part for me was creating square corners.

My final basket is shaped more like a diamond than a square. It has lots of character. This project was lots of fun and perfect for warm weather as it involves water.

My 13 year old daughter also tackled the round reeds. Here's her finished basket.

Check out these great blogs full of educational activity ideas.


  1. They are so beautiful! I know how hard that is to do.

  2. They are so beautiful! I know how hard that is to do.

  3. I'm impressed - it's always a challenge to salvage a project when you discover that the materials you have are no the ideal ones for what you want to do.


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