Weaving the sides of a basket is fun, easy, and beautiful, but let me tell you, the bottom is extremely frustrating. It’s a lot of work and comes out looking terrible, but at least it’s hidden by the beautiful sides.
I bought the basket-making kit at a Boy Scout store. (You can see the package in my YouTube video Ancient Egypt Unit Study. And if you look closely, you will see it in my Ancient Greece Unit Study, at the front middle of the floor. I was going to make it a standing joke to have the unmade basket during each time period, but I decided to just do it after all.) The kit gives you tiny directions that look so difficult that it took me three years to even decide to try. I was not looking forward to it.
First you had to soak all the reeds in water to soften them up so that they wouldn’t be brittle. Then you have some reeds crossing each other like an X on the bottom. I weighed down the sides of the X with heavy books to keep them from moving. The thinner reeds get woven through in a spiral. I finally figured out that I needed to have my kid’s foot on top of the reeds that kept popping up on one side, and it went a lot better when we made the second basket.
You have to keep the unused reeds in a wet towel to keep them from drying out. After finishing the bottom of the basket, you soak the reeds, bend them upwards, and tie them with a twist tie. You keep weaving the sides of the basket higher and higher, choosing different colors of reeds as you go. When you come to the top, you loop the big reeds over in a loop.
Well, for the first basket, we forgot to soak the top reeds, so they broke. It was so frustrating. I finally grabbed a large pair of scissors and clipped off all the reeds that were sticking up. In other words, the basket can easily unravel now, so don’t do this. The other basket tapered inwards because we forgot to take the twist tie off earlier. Oh, well. At least the sides are looped and won’t come apart.Tweet