Over the last couple of weeks I have been making coiled raffia baskets with my kids. I had been wanting to try some basket making with them for a while because it’s exactly the kind of little craft project that they find really satisfying and in my opinion you can never have too many baskets!
I decided that raffia baskets would be a good place for us to start, because raffia is relatively inexpensive. The trouble with trying new crafts is that there is often a whole list of things that you need to buy. When you times that by the four or five of us who are having a go, it starts to get really expensive!
So I ordered some natural raffia for the core from nutscene, along with a few different colours so that my kids could personalise them and be creative with it.
I had a quick look on you tube for a good tutorial, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. A lot of them were just snippets linking to a paid course. I had made a yarn basket about ten years ago and thought that I could just about remember enough of it, to use the same technique for our raffia baskets. So I tried out a small section one evening and it seemed simple enough.
Now, this is important – I am a complete novice basket maker. This is the first raffia basket that I have ever made. I am sure that there are other ways of making a raffia coiled basket, this is just the way that we did it. But we were all so pleased with the results and people were asking how to get started on their own, so I thought that I would share how we did it in this tutorial.
First you need to start your coil.
You are going to need a needle with a large eye, a tapestry needle would be perfect – but that is the only equipment (along with some raffia of course!) that you are going to need.
To start off your raffia basket get several lengths of natural raffia for your core. We used about 5-6 strands, but they vary a lot in thickness and we were just making tiny baskets, so you may want to use more.
Choose a colour to start off with and leaving about an inch of the end of the core bare, wrap some of the colour tightly around it as shown in the pictures below.
When you have wrapped a section roughly 2cm long, bend the bare end of the core around to join the rest of the length – making a loop. Now carry on wrapping with your colour, so that you bind in the ends. Stop after 1cm and pass the coloured raffia through the loop, to start coiling your basket.
With that done, you have completed the fiddly part of the basket. The rest is simple.
Continue wrapping your coil with your chosen colour and pass it through the central loop 2 or 3 more times – until you have gone around the whole loop.
You will carry on making the basket in exactly the same way, except that you will now pass the coloured raffia through the last round of coil. You want to make the joins about 1-1.5 cm apart and fit them between two joins on the previous round.
Changing colour is easy. Take a length of the new colour and lay about 5cm of it with the core strands. Wrap the existing colour around it 3 times and then put the end of it with the core strands. Take up your new colour and continue to wrap.
If you are starting to run low on core strands just lay some more with the existing ends and keep wrapping.
When you have made the base of basket as big as you would like it to be, you will need to bring the coil up on top of the previous round to start the sides.
We did this gradually between three joins.
Once you are working on top of the base, just continue in the same way, steadily working upwards until you have reached the desired height.
Now you are ready to finish off your basket.
Cut away a few of your core strands, to make your core thinner.
Wrap another 1cm and make a join.
Now cut off the remaining core, leaving about 1cm to finish.
To finish the basket, we wrapped with a join until the ends were completely covered.
Then using the needle pass the end of your coloured raffia through a 1.5 – 2cm section of the previous round and cut the end of the raffia close to the basket.
That’s it! Your basket is complete. We kept our baskets really simple because it was our first time, but we’re keen to try more baskets adding handles and lids etc. I will post any other variations that we make.
My kids are all really pleased with their raffia coiled baskets. The one that I made, is for my two year old’s toy kitchen.
If you have any questions, just let me know and I will do my best to help, but most importantly have fun making your basket. I would love to see any that you make, so make sure to tag me in your social media posts, so that I can have a look at all of your lovely baskets.