DIY Raffia Coiled Basket

Learn how to create coiled baskets with raffia – with a few simple tricks to make them work up super fast!

I started working on a bathroom refresh a few weeks ago. Lots of green tones, natural materials, and woven textures, it’s going to be truly relaxing in there, trust me! I’m still searching for THE perfect laundry basket but these things can’t be rushed, can’t they? One thing is for sure, coiled raffia baskets definitely have their place in this refresh. They’re the best small-sized containers of all the endless tidbits one has in their bathrooms. Anyone who still has hair accessories from 10 years ago know what I mean when I say ENDLESS tidbits…

Since I’m working on making a bunch of small baskets for our bathroom, I wanted to share a few techniques I use for coiled baskets which may be called lazy. To which I would reply, YES.

The lazy crafter’s coiling secrets


First off, you may have noticed if you followed this DIY raffia trivet, I use jute as the core around which raffia is wrapped. Usually, the core is made of a bunch of raffia but I found that using thick twine instead provides a much more consistent coil. It’s also easier to insert new lengths when the core runs out if you still want to grow your basket.

My second trick is to forgo the needle entirely. Threading raffia onto a needle is hard at the best of times, even with a needle threader. And you have to do that every time the wrapping raffia runs out, which happens a lot! Instead, I use a bamboo skewer. I insert it wherever I would a needle and it helps spread the coil apart enough for me to manually insert the raffia. That’s it really! It’s the same motion you would use with a needle and works exactly the same, you just don’t have to thread the raffia. And that is a GLORIOUS timesaver.

DIY Raffia Coiled Basket

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MATERIALS & TOOLS


HOW TO MAKE COILED RAFFIA BASKETS


Step 1: cut the jute core

Cutting the jute core

First, measure a length of twine. Cut at least 5 lengths to make up the core of the coiled basket.

For reference, 4 feet of twine was enough for a 4 1/2″ (12cm) wide basket.

Step 2: starting the coil

To start the coiled basket, pinch all the lengths of jute and start wrapping the ends with raffia. When you’ve covered about 2″ (5cm), bend the raffia-wrapped twine into a U-shape and wrap raffia around to secure the start of the coil.

Wrap the raffia a few times around the twine, until you have about an inch (2.5cm), and bend around to follow the shape of the beginning U-shaped coil. Insert the raffia into the middle of the coil. Continue wrapping around the twine and looping the raffia into the middle until you’ve gone around the initial coil once.

If your raffia runs out, just start wrapping a new length around the end of the previous one and continue coiling.

Step 3: coiling, the no-needle way

Working up the coil

As you finish the first coil around the U-shape, you won’t be able to insert the raffia into the middle hole. Instead, you’ll have to loop the raffia around the row below. Use a bamboo skewer to push the coil apart and insert your raffia in between the 2 rows below.

From here, it’s best if you find a rhythm, for instance wrapping around the twine 6 times then looping the raffia into the hole below.

Bear in mind, your rhythm will have to steadily increase as the coil grows. There’s no magic formula, just be mindful, try to keep the rhythm steady and it will all work out. Coiled baskets are very forgiving though, so even if you make a booboo, it will likely blend in and be invisible once you’re done!

Step 4: bending the coil to create basket

Bending the coil

To make a basket with a soft curve, like a bowl, just gently push in the coil with your fingers to create a curve. Continue wrapping, angling the coil a few degrees at a time. Take your time, it will work out better if you curve your coil slowly.

For a coiled basket with upright walls, you’ll need to create a sharper increase. Angle your coil to position it on top of the previous row. In the picture above, after coiling the bottom of the basket flat, I started a new row with a very strong increase, almost a 45-degree angle, to create the upright wall of the basket. To work up the wall, coil vertically, adding rows on top of each other.

And voila! When you’re done, trim the twine with scissors to taper it down. Wrap the raffia around the twine and loop around the row below to finish seamlessly.

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DIY Raffia Coiled Basket

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