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If so, and if you’re up for a challenge, then this is the project for you! No maps sitting around? No worries. Recycled newspapers will work just as well. Also, you should plan on working on this project in several small bursts of time, meaning this project taking you several days to complete.
First thing you’ll need to do is open up your map completely then fold them it in half, top to bottom. Depending on the size of the cutting mat you are using you may even need to fold the map into thirds, top to bottom.
Then lay your map onto your cutting mat and cut into strips 2” wide using your straight-edge acrylic ruler and a rotary cutter. Most maps will measure approximately 39 – 40”. You’ll need to cut 20 strips total. Depending on the overall measurement of your map, you may need to cut into 2 maps to get your 20 strips.
Once your strips are cut, plant yourself in front of a television with an entertaining show and start folding your strips. It takes times to get them all folded and you’ll want some entertainment.
You will need to fold each strip in half lengthwise. Open up each strip and fold the outside edges in, meeting at the middle fold line. Then fold back in half to contain the outside edges in the middle. Take your time creating these folds. Having the strips all at precisely the same width will result in a much more appealing result. Using a bone folding tool to make crisp crease markings will help tremendously. If you have no prior basket weaving experience, you may even find it helpful to apply glue to the middle of the strips before making that last fold to help keep the folds together.
Next, you will lay 10 strips vertically and then start weaving the remaining 10 strips horizontally in an over, under, over, under fashion. The first few strips are a little challenging to get into place, but once you get them in, the remainders aren’t as difficult. You might find it helpful to put some books at one end of the vertical strips so they stay put as you are weaving. Don’t worry too much about keep the weave tight. Once all 10 strips are woven horizontally, you can work to manipulate the weavers so that they are tightly woven and evenly spaced.
Next, you will start on one side and divide the 10 weavers in half, 5 in one hand 5 in the other. Grab the two center weavers – the closest one to the middle from each hand. You will criss-cross these two weavers and that cross is what will form the first corner of your basket.
Then, moving outward, toward one side at a time, you will introduce another weaver crossing either over or under (the opposite of the weaver before). Once you introduce one side, you will do the same for the opposite side. You will notice this starts to make a diamond pattern. Once you’ve woven that side, secure the top with a clothespin or binder clip. Repeat this same process until all 4 sides are woven into a diamond. Join the diamonds by continuing to weave them together.
As you weave, you’ll continually be adjusting and pulling up the slack to tighten the weavers. Your clothespins or binder clips will continue to be the extra hands that you don’t have. I’m not even going to lie. It is going to look like a hot mess as you work on tightening one weaver. Some of the others will loosen and you will feel like you’re never going to get them all tight. Patience is the key. You will probably walk away from the project several times to give your hands a break…or to keep from being frustrated.
Once you have everything joined together, spend some time tightening up the weavers so there is no slack. Taking the extra time to do so will help the overall appearance of the finished basket. This is the part of the project where you’ll take a deep breath and finally feel like it was worth sticking out the hard parts.
Now, you’re ready for the finishing steps. At this point, you will find it more helpful to trim down your weavers so they are only about 6” long. Remember to trim on the diagonal to make weaving easier.
Grab two weavers that are side by side and fold one weaver over the other and then weave down into the weavers on the inside. Repeat for the other weaver. I prefer to secure this with a paperclip to keep it tight before moving to the next set of weavers. You continue to do this all the way around.
• You can use a different number of strips for a smaller basket you just need to make sure you’re using an even number of strips.
• Paperclips are your friend. If ever you get some weavers tightened and need to let go to tighten another set of weavers, use a paperclip to secure anything you are afraid might come loose.
• If you pull too tightly on a weaver and tear it off, simply slip it back inside the fold approximately ½” in from the torn end and secure with a piece of clear tape (wrapping tape or packing tape). Works beautifully and goes unnoticed.
• When weaving, it is helpful to snip the end of your weaver at a 45 degree angle using your detail scissors. The pointed end slips under tightly woven strips more easily.
• If weaving with newspaper strips, be sure you are working on a protected surface. The ink from newsprint can be rather messy and transfers easily to cloth surfaces like carpeting, furniture and clothing.
• Try weaving with the Sunday funnies for a more colorful basket.
• Baskets can be reinforced in a few different ways. You might consider dipping it in beeswax or coating it with a layer of ModPodge to stiffen the paper.
• If you want to reinforce without altering, you can simply slip a recycled plastic butter dish down in the bottom or insert an empty glass canning jar or empty pickle jar.
(2) Recycled Maps 24" x 40"
Clothespins or Binder Clips