I’m always looking for ways to make my home feel like it has a bit more history — like it’s full of treasured items collected over a decade of travels, life experiences and adventures. But of course, when you’re on a budget, sometimes you’ve got to be strategic, so I try to incorporate pieces made by hand with celebrated or inherent imperfections, such as woven baskets, that effortlessly incorporate the lived-in look without blowing the budget.
To further the look in my living room, I’ve woven up a seagrass-inspired, paper basket with leather handles, as a solution for corralling books and treasures on my cocktail table. The leather handles are quite hearty, so the basket would also be fantastic put to use as a breakfast-in-bed tray or anything else one might dream up! —Erin of Francois et Moi
• Kraft paper (either several paper bags or a roll of mailing paper)
• 1/8” thick tempered hardboard cut into two 9.5” x 15” rectangles. Ask the hardware store to cut these for you!
• Wooden kabob skewer
• Glue stick, double-sided tape, and industrial strength adhesive
• Clear spray varnish
• Extra-long leather belt (Men’s XL)
• 8 Brass plated connecting cap nuts, 8 Brass machine screws (flat head phillips), 8 Brass #12 finishing washers
• Electric drill
• Permanent marker
Create the Basket
1. Begin by cutting kraft paper strips roughly 3” wide x 18” long. Then roll each strip on the diagonal around the wooden kabob skewer, and secure the end with a glue stick. The tubes will be about 10-11” long and will serve as the basket’s vertical supports. You’ll notice one end is slightly larger than the other, but don’t worry! This variation is useful in achieving the rustic woven basket look as you begin weaving.
2. Line the perimeter of one of the hardboard rectangles with two tracks of double-sided tape. Then attach 1” of the paper tubes to the double sided tape so that the tubes are evenly spaced along all sides.
3. Generously apply industrial strength adhesive to the hardboard + paper tubes, and top with the second hardboard rectangle. Place a few heavy books on top and allow to dry for two hours.
3. While the base of the basket is drying, create additional paper tubes similar to Step 1, but this time cut the strips longer: roughly 3” x 36”. These are the paper tubes we’ll use for weaving the basket.
4. Once the basket base is dry, we can begin weaving. The overall weaving technique will be “over one, under one.” Taking one of the paper tubes created in Step 5, fold one end down about 5”.
5. Start by weaving the 5” paper tube portion in front of one of the vertical supports and then behind the next vertical support. Then weave the longer end of the paper tube on top of the 5” portion, weaving exactly the opposite way: behind the first vertical support, then in front of the next support.
6. Continue weaving until you run out of horizontal paper tubing. Adhere another paper tube onto the existing tube. Allow to dry (1 minute). Then continue weaving until you reach 7 horizontal rows. Make sure to push down the rows and help form the corners as you weave.
7. Weave the final loose end down through the basket, next to one of the vertical supports.
8. To finish off the top edge of the basket, bend the first vertical support 90 degrees at the top edge of the basket, and weave that tube behind the vertical support to the right of it, then in front of the next vertical support, and finally behind the 3rd vertical support. Secure with a dot of glue. Repeat with the next vertical support to the right, and work your way around the top edge of the basket.
9. Coat the entire woven basket portion with clear spray varnish to seal.
Create the Leather Handles
1. Cut off the buckle end of the belt, as well as the end with the holes. Then cut the middle portion of the belt into two equal sections.
2. On the underside of the belt, mark the location for the 2 screws on each end of the two belt strips. The placement and distance from the end of the belt strip will vary depending on the height of your basket.
3. Use an electric drill to create 1/4″ holes at each mark made on the underside of the belt in step 2 (8 holes total).
4. On the front side of the belt, place a finishing washer followed by a screw at each of the 8 drill holes (4 holes per belt strip).
5. Next, attach the handles to the outside of the basket, by inserting the machine screws in between two layers of the basket.
6. On the inside of the basket, screw an end cap onto each of the 8 screws.