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How to Make a Coiled Rope Basket (Using Glue!)

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There was a very not-funny joke that circulated when I was in college that you could sign up for a course called "Underwater Basket-Weaving" and I, being within the core demographic of the joke's target audience (gullible, impressionable, new-experience-inclined young persons) really wanted to take it.

Fast-forward to the present and, despite the whole design world being obsessed with looms and weaves and knitting, I am still no more capable with a hoop than with a snorkel mask. No matter—there is still a way to basketweave.

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Not woven underwater, very much made by me.
Not woven underwater, very much made by me. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Or rather, to make a basket. I've encountered coiled rope basket tutorials on various crafting blogs and through video tutorials, but I always brushed them off as part of the inaccessible if only how-tos that I refer to as "sewing machine crafts." You can't possibly make a coil basket that bears weight without a sewing machine! And I don't have one.

But then I came across a "no-sew" tutorial at the blog Alice and Lois that suggested using hot glue in place of zig-zag stitches. The result would not be a basket you'd pick up by the handles when it was full of blankets or oranges—but instead a basket that likes to hang out in one place.

This bread basket is made from hardware store clothesline—and hot glue!
This bread basket is made from hardware store clothesline—and hot glue! Photo by Bobbi Lin

I liked the idea of coiling a laundry basket using this method, but abandoned the task once I realized that it would have taken me hours (my glue gun is dinky and coil-gluing is not exactly a speed sport). The result of my short attention span? The most adorable, slightly nautical, vaguely pinch pot-inspired bread basket in all the land.

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Here's what you need:

  • Clothesline
  • Sharp scissors
  • Hot glue
Rope basket magic.
Rope basket magic. Photo by Bobbi Lin

And to make it?

Starting at one end of the rope (that's as cleanly-cut as possible), add a little hot glue and coil a small swirl. Keep adding hot glue along the rope and pressing it around the edge of the coil until you have a flat rope circle the size of the base of the basket. Turn the corner by glueing along the side of the last coil and placing the next length of rope along it—just like you're making a pinch pot!

From pinwheel to basket, real fast. Photos by Bobbi Lin

Create a loop at the end by cutting the rope four to six inches from your last glued part, then tucking the end back under with a bit more glue.

Your basket won't bear weight like a sewed one would, and you shouldn't put messy food in it since it would likely stain, but it will hold bread (or keys, letters, hand towels, remote controls, and the like) very happily. If you are using it to serve your morning toast, I recommend draping a napkin inside first, like you're at an Italian restaurant.

Variations

  • Try other sizes of rope besides clothesline. Much thicker, if you can find it, would be very pretty—and I'd love to see a little cotton-ball holder made from coiled twine!
  • Add decorative stitching using a needle and colored thread that you weave through the layers of coil (like this).
  • Spray paint or splatter-paint the rope and let it dry before coiling.
  • Keep coiling and coiling to make a basket so large you can toss your laundry in it!

Have you ever made a basket, woven or glued or sewn or otherwise? Let us know your crafty ways in the comments.

Tags: diy, basket, coil, rope, glue