Making a Coil Basket with Plastic Grocery Bags

A coil basket technique basically involves wrapping a strip of material around a core of material which makes something like a cord or rope. One then begins to build a coil out of this cord by using the wrapping strip material to bind the cord to itself.

Traditional materials used when making this kind of basket may have included pine needles, rushes, spruce roots (which can grow up to 13 meters long), leather, yucca, wool, or even hair.

Living in 21st century, I have an abundance of plastic bags. So it makes since for me to apply a 12,000-year-old basket weaving technique to the relatively new material available to me in my environment.

First one has to create the ‘wrapping strip material’ that will be used to wrap around a plastic bag serving as the core. To do this, flatten the plastic bag. Cut off the handles and the bottom of the bag.

Fold the remaining bag into a ‘tube’.

Cut into approximately 1 or 2 inch pieces. Do this for several bags.

Fold together the handles of one plastic bag and hold one wrapping strip along side the handles.

About an inch from the edge of the two pieces, begin to wrap the wrapping strip around both the plastic bag core and the wrapping strip itself, binding the two together. Continue to wrap the strip toward the end and then double back and wrap in the other direction. Continue to wrap down the handles making the cord grow longer.

When the wrapping strip starts to get short, add in a second wrapping strip by holding it against the cord and wrapping over it with the strip already in use.

Continue to build this wrapped cord until it can be folded over itself.

At this point, use the wrapping strip and a crochet hook to fasten the cord into a coil. Do this twice to make this attachment point durable.

Then continue to wrap around the core bag about a half an inch and add a second attachment point (I always make my attachment points two layers thick) to build up the coil. Continue this process to build up the coil. Keep the coil flat to build up a base. Once the base is the size you like, start shaping the coil upward.

Add another bag to the core bag when the exposed core bag is about the length of the handles. This will keep the core more uniform.

To add the next core bag, just bind it in with the wrapping strip the same way you would add in another wrapping strip.

It is possible to work in other colors and make designs. Experiment.

Good luck. If you have any questions about this project, I will answer them to the best of my ability. I would love to see your project if you actually try this out.

My current coil basket project is progressing nicely.

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