Jane Harrop shows us how to create this delightful 1/12th scale miniature shopping basket for the dolls house. ...
Plaiting is the technique of weaving together comparable flat materials that are the same width and I have used this method to make a 1/12th scale shopping basket. I first made this type of miniature basket at a workshop taught by Judith Howard many years ago and she very kindly allowed me to pass on the procedures to my students. Over time I’ve adapted the process to allow me to make even smaller baskets suitable for 1/24th scale.
You will need
- A6 piece of cream or white, thick paper
I have used a piece of 120g paper for this project; however you can use any paper that is thick enough to hold its weight once woven. Alternatively a piece of card that is thin enough not to crease when folded will be sufficient for this project.
- 1/16” (1.5mm) white or cream coloured card or a wood piece measuring 1” x 5/8” (25mm x 15mm) for base
- Two cocktail sticks
- Wood stain
- Tacky glue
- Masking tape
- Sharp craft knife and metal ruler
- Cutting mat
Take a piece of paper, stain on both sides and leave to dry. The outside edges of the paper will be taped down so it isn’t necessary to stain all of the paper.
NB: Spirit based stain, as I’ve used in this project will cover the paper nice and evenly and create a very uniform finish. Water based wood stain often creates a more mottled/two toned appearance once dry and is particularly effective if you wish to create a used or distressed look to your basketry making.
Secure the corners of the paper to a cutting mat using masking tape. Use a pencil and ruler to square off the paper in one corner and take the pencil line along the length of the paper. Leave an approximate gap of 1/2" (13mm) from the outside edges of the paper. Either use a set square or follow the grid lines on the mat to ensure you draw a perfect squared corner.
Use a sharp craft knife and metal ruler to cut down into the paper along the longer of the two marked pencil lines. Begin in the marked corner and finish the cut line approximately 1/12” (13mm) from the edge of the paper, so that cut line has surrounding paper attached.
Leave a gap of 1/16” (1.5mm) from the first cut and repeat the procedure.
TOP TIP To avoid having to measure and mark each time, use another metal ruler to measure the gap and move the ruler you are cutting against accordingly.
Repeat the process until you have nine strips of paper with the surrounding paper attached.
Remove the tape from two corners and cut the paper in half as shown. Re-tape the corners from the first part of the paper and tape the corners of the second piece - repeat the procedures to square off the paper and cut 1/16” (1.5mm) strips along the length of the paper, ensuring that the ends remain attached to the paper. Keep cutting until you have approximately 20 strips of paper. You will notice in the photograph that the ruler slipped whilst I cut one of the lines, if this happens. Just start again by squaring off, a little further down the paper. Don’t cut mishaps off for now; this is done at the next stage.
Remove the tape from the piece on the bottom section of the mat and cut off the edge of the paper on the right hand side to leave a fringed edge. If you have any strips which aren’t straight or the wrong width, remove and discard them. The remaining strips will be used to make the stakes, handle and top trim.
Take a cocktail stick and weave in and out of the strips on the top of the mat taking care not to tear the paper. At this stage you may wish to remove the tape from one end to make this easier.
Take a strip from the fringed length and cut into approximately three 1-1/4” (31mm) lengths to make the basket stakes. Slide the cocktail stick towards the centre and lay one of the strips next to the cocktail stick.
Gently push the strip up to the end of the paper, using the end of another cocktail stick to carefully nudge it into position. Dab a small amount of tacky glue at each end to hold the strip stakes into place.
Slide the cocktail stick to the opposite end and take another stake strip and weave over the strips you previously woven underneath. Gently push the strip up against the previously woven stake.
Slide the cocktail stick back over to the centre and continue to repeat the weaving process. If the ends of the joined strips become unattached, secure using a piece of tape.
Carry on weaving until the woven strip measures 3-5/8” (92mm) long. As you get towards the end of the weaving you may find it more manageable to remove the masking tape.
Take the base and stain. Whilst you leave it to dry, trim the ends of the stakes, so that all long outside edges are flush.
Wind and glue the weaving around the outside edge of the base, starting on one short side edge. Trim the end to overlap where the two ends of the weaving meet and glue together for a neat finish. The bottom edge of the weaving is flush with the underside of the base.
Carefully glue together two strips of paper and trim to measure 1-1/2” (38mm) long. Glue the ends to the outside of the basket on the top row of weaving.
Glue a single strip and glue around the top of the basket on the outside to neaten and further secure the ends of the handle. Start and finish in the same place as the weaving.
Repeat the same procedure at the top of the basket on the inside.
In 1/24th scale
I made this distressed 1/24th scale shopping basket by following the same procedures and cutting five 3/64” (1mm) strips and using the same width of strips for the woven stakes. I wove the stakes in and out until it measured 1-7/8” (47mm) long.
The trimmed weaving is glued around a stained 3/64” (1mm) thick base measuring 1/2” x 5/16” (13mm x 8mm).
The handle is a single strip of paper measuring 3/4" (19mm) and the ends glued on the inside of the basket. Due to its size I didn’t trim the top outside and inside of the basket.
Why not try this plaiting method of basket weaving to make different sizes and shapes of baskets. Use a circle paper punch to create a round card base. You can also alter the width of the strips according to the size of the basket. This is a great standby project for miniatures clubs as it requires so few materials.
© Jane Harrop 2012
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