Know someone who just started a new job or moved into a new house? What better way to congratulate them than with a plant basket? A gift that decorates any new space with greenery has so many benefits. In the office for instance, plants can increase creativity, improve productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase engagement with work, etc. I love indoor plants!
Low maintenance plants that don’t need frequent watering are best for gift-giving. Succulents are a great choice as long as they’re in a spot with lots of natural light.
To complete this project you’ll need:
- Plywood or medium density fibreboard (MDF)
- wooden craft dowels,
- Coordinating yarn
- 1/4″ sisal rope,
- white glue,
- a glue gun,
- glue sticks and
- beads with a large enough hole to fit over the dowels. I went with a variety of colourful square beads.
For the base, I upcycled leftover MDF. I cut out several ‘house’ shapes, turning one of them into this vinyl record art I created for my VW Bug Keyholder.
Paint and Drill
I started by painting the MDF base bright blue and then marked 1/2″ increments around the perimeter.
Hubs used a drill press get consistent holes around the edge a bit more than 1/4″ deep. I used a toothpick to clear out the holes and make sure that there was no debris left for the next step.
I started playing around with the coloured beads before I got started!
The mini dowels act as the ‘ribs’ of the basket. I added a dab of glue onto the bottom of each one and hammered them into the holes with a rubber mallet so they wouldn’t split. Let it dry over night, then you’re ready to begin weaving.
This is optional but if you want to add more colour, combine the twine with a strand of yarn. I’m using this turquoise blue yarn to coordinate with the colour Hubs painted the base.
Tie a knot and attach the twine/yarn combination to the dowel in the lower left corner. Start weaving in and out around the dowels.
Sometimes I distract myself by reimagining a project when I’m just getting started – like with this pen holder! Maybe next time I’ll turn it into a desk tray instead (I’ll probably cut the dowels shorter). It’s really up to you what direction you take it!
Here’s a closeup of the twine/yarn combo. I think the blue yarn coordinates beautifully with the base and adds a nice touch of colour to the finished product.
Once you’re back to where you started at the corner, loop back around the last dowel so you can start weaving in the opposite direction. This will leave a gap at the corner, but don’t worry about it because it will get covered up from the inside with all the ends from the weaving.
As you weave each row, push down on the twine to ensure the rows are level. Once the dowels were almost half woven, I added two pieces of sisal rope to act as handles.
Before attaching them to the basket, I took some thinner sisal and wound it around the cut edges so they wouldn’t unravel.
Then I positioned them along each side and wove them into the starter row.
Here’s a closer look at one of the handles from the inside of the basket. It’s not necessary to hot glue it to the sides because the weaving will hold it tight.
On subsequent rows, you’ll need to position the handles either up or down in order to weave them in and secure them into the basket. You’ll get the feel for it as you go; here the rope is in the ‘up’ position.
I’ve never woven before but once you get going, it becomes intuitive. Here’s the rope in the ‘down’ position:
Strengthen the Corner
Since you will be doubling back at the end of each row, take the opportunity to loop around both corner posts at least once to keep them together and strengthen the corner as shown below.
I continued weaving until I got fairly close to the top. Then I knotted the twine/yarn combo around the two corner posts where I originally started. Don’t cut the tail – you’ll need it later.
Weaving the Edge
On the top edge of the basket I used a much thicker sisal rope. Because I wasn’t sure how much I would need to go around the entire perimeter, I unraveled the whole skein and folded it in the half in the middle. The picture below doesn’t show the corner dowel, it only demonstrates the fold of the rope, however I actually looped it onto the same dowel I initially started with in the lower left corner of the basket.
Starting from left to right, bring one strand around the first dowel and criss-cross the other strand right over it in the opposite direction around the same dowel as shown in the picture below. Tighten as you go to keep it consistent, but don’t pull so tight that you skew the positioning of dowels (or worse yet, break one)! This rope feature will give you a braided look along the edge.
Test the Beads
Before you get too far along, loosely add a few beads to the dowels to make sure that they will reach the top. If they don’t, unwind the rope so you can add a row of the twine then try again.
Once you’re satisfied with the height, do one row of the rope treatment.
Finishing off the Edging
At the corner, bring the double strands of rope to the inside of the basket. Remember that tail of twine/yarn you saved from the main weaving? Use it to wrap around the two pieces of the rope to secure it all together. When you get to the end, secure the twine with a dab of hot glue underneath the rope where it can’t be seen.
I used a clip to help secure the twine while I was determining the length to cut it and reaching for the glue gun. It acts as a second pair of hands.
Eyeball the length of the interior corner from the top of the basket to the base and apply a dab of hot glue to join the two pieces of rope near the bottom. Also apply hot glue just above where you will cut the rope to keep it from fraying (glue along the inside where it won’t be seen). Cut the rope even with the bottom of the basket and then secure it to the corner base with a dab of hot glue (again where it won’t be seen).
I didn’t glue along the seam itself: I only glued the rope at the bottom as I didn’t want glue oozing out through the weave of the basket!
Here’s how the rope looks from the inside of the basket secured to the inside corner. If you wish, you can take a pair of scissors and trim away some of the longer ‘flyaway’ strands of the sisal to tidy it up.
Glue the Beads On
To finish off the top of each dowel, dab a bit of white glue onto a bead and insert it onto the top of the dowel. You can also use hot glue if you’re careful not to drip it everywhere! I used multi coloured beads. If you want to switch up your decor you could even forgo the glue and switch out the beads whenever the mood strikes. The weaving around the top is tight so it’s not going to go anywhere; the beads are just to give it a finished look.
As you can see below, not every dowel is exactly the same length. If that bothers you, trim off any that are too long and protruding past the bead.
Finessing the Handles
I stopped weaving the handles in before I got to the top of the basket because I thought it might look good if they just flopped to the sides. But when I was done I changed my mind. Rather than unwind all those woven rows, I used the bodkin shown below and some of the turquoise yarn to secure the handles to the sides of the basket.
Now the handles stand up better! Once you’re done with the decorative stitching, place a dab of hot glue over the knots of the yarn on the inside of the basket to hold it securely and keep it from loosening over time.
Once done, you’re ready to embellish with plants! Since this basket is ‘house’ shaped, it makes a wonderful house warming gift!
Add a container of succulents. If you prefer to plant directly into the basket, line it first with a green garbage bag to contain the soil and water.
Or if you want to take it that one step further, you could make a custom hypertufa planter to hold the plants! It just so happens that we have a DIY tutorial on how to construct a hypertufa planter if you’re game to try it!
The possibilities are endless. You could make this basket in any shape your heart desires – even a heart! I already have a special gift planned for a friend. And I also hope to create one using our Birdz of a Feather logo for thread storage.
Well, that hopefully wraps up the last craft project I’ll have to do on our dining room table. It’s time for me and Hubs to turn our attention to putting the finishing touches on my craft studio. I’m looking forward to reclaiming our dining room again. And to bringing you even more projects once my new craft space is up and running!
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