Today I’m sharing an easy introduction to the world of wicker and weaving: this DIY Christmas Wicker Ornament. It fits in so well with the natural Nordic look of my Christmas tree, all yarn, cotton and wood. Wicker and cotton are the decoration equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate – they belong together! I got a hold of some rattan material some time ago and have loved crafting with it. It can be intimidating at first. When I started weaving, I took my usual headlong jump into the unknown by getting the material and figuring out techniques the old fashion way. The old fashion way? Books, I mean! I have found incredible sources of knowledge from archives. This is how I learned Victorian embroidery, knitting and basket weaving. Check out the Archive.com page about Basketry resource if you’re interested, it has a wealth of information on weaving.
Working with Rattan
There are a few things to bear in mind when you work with rattan and other weaving material like willow: they need to soak in water for a while to soften. Properly soaked rods will bend without breaking. It’s especially important to soak for this project as it is quite small and the rods must take some sharp bends. I use round rattan rods about 2.5mm thick and flat reed that is 3mm wide. They need to soak for about 10 minutes. You can adjust the soaking time depending on the thickness of the material you’re using. Just check in regularly on your rods and try to see how they bend. You will see some breakage but as long as it doesn’t completely snap, you’re fine.
This DIY Christmas Wicker Ornament is very fast to make. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes. Once you get used to starting the weaving, it becomes very easy. Scroll down for a step-by-step guide to make this natural Christmas decoration.
Materials & Tools
Note: I’m using both round and flat rattan for this project but it can be done with only round rods. This would not affect the look of the ornament.
Making the Weaving Frame
1 To start, cut a rattan rod with a length of about 35cm. This will make a heart ornament that is 8 to 10cm high, depending on how tall or wide you’re weaving it. If you wanted to make tiny heart shapes, I would suggest starting with a length of rod around the 20cm mark.
You will first need to bend the rod in the middle. It might help pressing your fingernail into the rod as you’re bending it. Next you will bring the ends in, towards the middle where you just bent the rod. This will make up the frame of your heart shape.
This DIY Christmas Wicker Ornament is very easily modifiable. If the shape seems too big, you can cut the ends of the rods and try again. Go slowly, cutting only a few centimetres at a time, until you have a shape and size you love.
2 It might help using a weight to hold the shape together while you start working. I’m using a bronze sculpture that is fairly heavy but a large book or a plant pot will also work.
Starting the weave
3 To start the weaving, you will have to select a rattan rod long enough that you will not run out before you finish the ornament. I usually go for at least 1m long for a small heart but it will depend on how big you made the frame for the heart.
First, insert the rod over the centre post and under the side of the heart shape, like in the picture. To continue, you will bring the rod over the side, over the centre post and under the opposite side. Now, bring the rod over this side, under the centre post and over the side. This will begin the weaving motion. After that, you will bring the rod under the side, over the centre post and under the side. Repeat this pattern all the way up.
Finishing the Ornament
4 When you reach the top of the centre post, you will have to continue on one side all the way up the top of the heart. Continue a similar weaving motion like in the image: under – over, under – over etc…
5 Once you have reached the top, you will have to bring the rod to the other side to finish the ornament. Bring it from the back and lower it so that you can start weaving the remaining side at the right height.
6 When you are done weaving, simply pull tight and cut the remaining rod. Make sure the cut is done on the back side so that it’s not visible.
You have woven a heart! Don’t worry about the little shreds where you bent the rod because you can cut those when you’re done.
7 You can now take your needle threader and insert it in the centre top of your heart. Insert your embroidery floss in the eye of the needle threader and pull back to bring your thread through to the other side.
8 There, your DIY Christmas Wicker Ornament is nearly done. We just need to decorate it with a tiny ribbon bow. Below I’m sharing an easy 30-second bow DIY.
Easy Bow DIY
9 First, grab a small length of red ribbon, about 10cm. Next, draw a line down the middle with your glue gun. Then, fold both ends of the ribbon towards the centre, over the glue. Watch your fingers if using a glue gun, you might want to blow on it until it cools a little. Once you have folded the ends, squish the middle part between your fingers or with a pair of pliers. Voila, a tiny bow under 30 seconds – or plenty of tiny bows under 5 minutes if you ever felt the need.
To finish, glue your ribbon bow to the front of your ornament and you’re done!