Alright, I will get straight to it, DIY tobacco basket making is not for the faint of heart! This has been one of the most challenging projects I’ve attempted. I do however think it could have been a lot easier and I could have gotten way better results, so don’t give up just yet!
Let’s start with what you’ll need. I used the following items for my basket:
- ½” basket reed
- measuring tape
- stain or paint
- ½” foam brush
- wood glue
- binder clips
- a heavy book or object
If you do your basket exactly how I did you’ll also need PATIENCE! If you would like to have an easier time making your basket and if you would like a nicer (even) looking basket, you’ll need a cardboard box the same size and shape you would like your basket. Now, I didn’t do this but based on my experience, I think this would be a way easier way of making your basket. I do plan on trying this method out as well but I need some more time to forget about how frustrating making this one was 😂😂😂!!
Once you find a box in the shape and size of basket you want, you’ll want to trim the height of the box, to your desired height, I would recommend 2-3”. I’m going to continue this tutorial using the box, as I don’t want you to have the difficulty I had and I want you to have a gorgeous basket that you are proud to display in your home!
You will need your box, reed, scissors, binder clips, and measuring tape. To determine the lengths of your reed, use a binder clip to clip one end of the reed to the box and tightly pull it over to the opposite side and cut at the other end at the edge of the box. If you are making a rectangular box, following the same steps for the other side of the box. If you want to add a big decorative X or two smaller X’s as I did, follow the same steps.
Now that you know the lengths of reed you will need, you can decide how many strips you want for each direction. This will depend on how large you want the holes in the basket to be. I did 5 long and seven short. I also did two smaller X’s so I needed four strips for those. You are also going to need two long strips that go all away around the edge to the box.
Measure and cut all your lengths. *Very important* make sure that all of your lengths are the same length, or you will end up with a wonky basket like mine. I had a few strips that were “close enough”, wrong wrong wrong! Don’t be tempted…all the same length.
Now here comes the fun part! In case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm! Staining or painting your reeds. Now I don’t know if paint would be easier to work with, but I used Artminds Antique Wax, and it was difficult to get all the pieces a similar colour.
No special instructions here, just paint or stain and wait to dry. This felt like it took FOREVER!
So…this is where I totally messed up my basket and why I recommend using a box as a template. I free handed my weaving, which makes it more difficult to even out spacing and keep the weave smooth.
With your box for a template, reed strips and binder clips, this is where your basket is going to take shape. As you know, I didn’t use a box so this is what I would have done if I had, hopefully it works for you.
Take all your long strips and clip them to the box, spacing them out evenly. Now take out your small strips and and start weaving them through the long strips. Don’t forget to alternate the weaving pattern with every strip (i.e. under, over, under, over, under, then the next strip would be over, under, over, under, over).
Once you have weaved all the short strips, you are going to want to even out the spaces between each strip and then clip each strip to the box at both ends.
For this step you are going to need one of your extra long strips for the edge, wood glue, the binder clips and your heavy object. Essentially what we’re doing here is gluing the edging around the outside edge of the basket. For this step I used wood glue, you can also use staples, but I personally don’t like how this looks. If you want to use staples, you can use a regular old stapler, the staples go through the reed very easily.
Pick any reed to start with, wherever you would like a seam. If you don’t want to overlap the reed at the end you’ll want to only want to start the edge by gluing to only half of the first reed, so at the end you can butt the edges together. Once you’ve selected the reed you want to start at, remove the clip while holding the reed to the box, apply a small amount of glue to the reed and replace the clip. Continue doing so all the way around the basket. When you get to the end, either butt the edges together or overlap the reed and clip.
Check your bottle of glue for drying time, usually about half an hour to an hour will do. You can always test the hold by removing a clip to see if the glue is dry enough. While drying you can put you heavy object in the box to help flatten out the bottom of the basket.
For this step you will need your X strips, wood glue and binder clips. Once the glue has dried enough you can remove all the clips. Now you can layout your big X or two small X’s. Once you’ve figured out your placement, glue and clip. Again, let sit long enough for the glue to dry.
This is your last step!! You will be attaching the inside edge of your basket. You will want to remove the clips from your X pattern and follow Step 4, but on the inside of the basket. Glue and clip all the way around. Again, you can place your heavy object in the bottom of the box while you wait for the glue to dry.
Once you’re glue has completely dried, remove your clips. Now, hopefully you have a beautiful, even, display worthy basket!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and I hope the box template worked out well for you.
Please post a picture in the comments so I can see your baskets!
Update: I have moved my basket, it was so wonky I could hardly look at it hanging there in my living room for all to see! I have moved it to a shelf a recently installed in my kitchen.