How to Make Willow Baskets
- 1). Purchase an adequate amount of willow rods in desired colors for making your basket. One-half to three-fourths of a pound of dried willow should be enough for weaving a medium-sized basket. You can make a larger basket with longer lengths or a smaller wicker basket with shorter ones. Use dry willow. If you buy wet willow, let it dry before you use it.
- 2). Soak the willow till it bends easily at an angle of 90 degrees. If your willow has the bark attached, then you need to let it soak for three to four days. White or buff willow bought from suppliers can be ready to use in as little as a few hours. Cover the willow, keeping it damp while you work with it. Soak only as much as you will need for your project.
- 3). Take and cut eight pieces of willow (the length can be as long as you like; the pieces should be of the same length, though), forming a warp, or spokes, for the wicker basket. To make a warp, crisscross the willow rods as if you were making a rope from threads. Cut a small opening in the center of four of the pieces, laying them flat. After that, insert the four non-slit spokes in the cuts. Now you should have a sturdy cross shape.
- 4). Fold a long piece of willow in half around one of the spokes of the cross-shaped base. Then twine the ends of the piece below and above the basket warp twice. Work below and above each individual spoke on the next wrap, separating the four cross arms into 16 individual spokes. Overlap the new weavers with the old ones as needed to continue twining till you have an adequate base for the basket.
- 5). Use the new spokes (woven in Step 4) to shape the sides of your basket. You can push these simply into place. Then tie the ends of the new spokes together, holding them firmly into an upright shape.
- 6). Add new weavers by pushing them through the woven wicker basket base just as you did the spokes. Start twining round the sides till you reach the desired height. Bend each of the spokes down, and tuck the ends into your woven willow basket in order to form a neat rim.