Basket Weaving Directions for a Market Basket


Baskets conjure up farmer's markets and Easter eggs. Baskets have been the standard containers and carrying vessels for many cultures for thousands of years. Market baskets are rustic and beautiful woven baskets that do not have any supportive ribs in them, but are entirely supported by the interwoven reeds. This makes them slightly more of a challenge than the regular woven basket with ribs, but with perseverance, time and nimble fingers, a useful, and even beautiful, basket can be created.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-inch by 6-inch "D" handle, natural
  • 5 smoked, flat reeds, 15-inch long, 1/4-inch width
  • 8 smoked, flat reeds, 13-inch long, 1/4-inch width
  • 11/64-inch width flat reeds, smoked
  • Large bowl
  • Pencil
  • Sharp scissors
  • 3/8-inch flat oval reed, natural
  • 11/64-inch width flat reeds, natural
  • Ruler
  • 4 clothespins
  • Place all the cut reeds in the bowl and pour hot water on them. Let them soak in the water for 10 minutes before removing.

  • Measure out the centers of the reeds. Make a small mark on the rough side to show where they are.

  • Place the flat side of the "D" handle down on your work surface.

  • Place the five 15-inch long reeds over the handle, lining up the center marks with the handle bottom. Alternate the reeds going over top of the handle and going underneath.

  • Place four 13-inch long reeds perpendicular on either side of the handle. Weave them with the bottom reeds, alternating feeding the reed under the perpendicular reeds, and then over top of the following one. This will be the base, and should measure 2 1/4-inches wide by 4 3/4-inches long when finished.

  • Bend the spokes upwards so they are 90 degrees from the bottom -- this is termed upsetting the spokes. The corner spokes can be kept together with clothespins until the sides begin to be woven.

  • Feed through an 11/64-inch width smoked, flat reed through the spokes nearest to the handle and begin to weave in an in-and-out fashion, continuously, slowly moving up the basket. If you run out and need to add another length of 11/64-inch width reed, just overlap the old length by four spokes and continue to weave. Weave 14 rows, packing them down as firmly as possible as you complete each row.

  • Cut the 11/64-inch flat reed so that it ends behind the handle on the 14th row. Weave it in three spokes before, so it slowly planes down and will be held by the other weaves.

  • Weave one row of 11/64-reed, starting and stopping in the same place, overlapping each end by three spokes, to create a more finished look to the basket.

  • Measure the basket rim, both on the outside and inside. Add 2 inches to each measurement and cut two lengths of flat oval reed to match the measurement. Soak it in hot water for 10 minutes and then bend it to the shape of the basket rim, overlapping the excess reed.

  • Cut the natural 11/64-inch reed in half lengthways to attach the rims, soaking it beforehand, and using it to lash the 3/4-inch oval to the rest of the basket. Insert the lasher in between the rims and loop it around the entire rim of the basket, feeding it through every break and bringing it over top to the next one. When attaching one half-reed to another, just knot them together to create a continuous lasher and continue to loop the lasher around the rims.This should only require two halves of the natural reed, but cut more 11/64-inch reeds in half, if necessary. Trim the excess spokes and let the entire basket dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • The directions can be enlarged to make a beautiful full size market basket.
  • Weavers stain, found at craft and basket specialty stores, can be painted over the basket to achieve different looks.

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  • Photo Credit basket image by Maciej Syrek from
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