12 November 2012
Jane Harrop demonstrates how to make a dolls house shopping trolley by weaving with paper, the technique of plaiting, along with some extra materials. ...
Several years ago whilst I was researching traditional interior decoration and furnishings for a Provence house project I was presenting to my students, I realised we would need to include baskets to help towards creating a really authentic French feel. I needed to find a way of making baskets that wasn’t too time consuming and fiddly, gave good results and could be subtly altered to create different styles and types. Out of all the lessons I’ve taught over the years, this one has to be one of the most memorable, as the following week we had a marvellous display of baskets in all shapes, sizes and colours, the basket making class had really stimulated everyone’s creativity.
You will need
- A5 piece of cream or white thick paper
From 1/16” (1.5mm) thick light coloured card or wood:
- 1-1/4” x 1-1/4” (32mm x 32mm) for base
From 18-gauge white, paper covered wire:
- 1-1/2” (38mm) length for axle
- 7” (178mm) length for handle and stand
- Seven 14” (355mm) lengths of white, 24-gauge paper covered wire for stakes
- White or cream medium ply crochet thread
- Two 3/8” (10mm) 1/16” (1.5mm) thick painted wheel beads for wheels
- Two cocktail sticks
- Masking tape
- Metal ruler
- Craft knife
- Wood stain
- Tacky glue
Take the piece of paper and cut in half to make two long strips. 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 a gap 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 the paper on the longer of the two marked pencil lines. Begin in the marked corner and finish the cut line approximately 3/8” (10mm) from the edge of the paper, so the cut line has surrounding paper attached. Leave a gap of 1/16” (1.5mm) from the first cut and repeat the procedure. Continue until you have made twenty four incisions through the paper, which will give you twenty three cut strips. The width of all the strips should measure 1-7/16” (36mm) if you have measured correctly! I’ve cut my strips by eye, however, to be accurate measure them in the way I showed you in the last month’s basket making project.
Remove the tape from the corners of the paper; carefully stain the strips on both sides and leave to dry. Take the wire for the stakes and stain. Tape one end of the paper down again.
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-tone appearance once dry and is particularly effective if you wish to create a used or distressed look to your basketry making.
Take a cocktail stick and weave in and out of the strips taking care not to tear the paper. Cut the wire into 2” (51mm) lengths using wire cutters and insert one next to the cocktail stick.
Gently push the wire 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 wire stakes in place. Slide the cocktail stick to the opposite end, take another wire stake and weave over the strips you have previously woven underneath. Gently push the strip up against the previously woven wire stake.
Slide the cocktail stick back over and repeat the weaving process. Should the ends of the joined strips become unattached, secure using a piece of tape.
Carry on weaving until the woven strip measures 6” (152mm) long. As you get towards the end of the weaving you may find it more manageable to remove the masking tape. Trim off any excess paper.
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 at a corner and trim the end to overlap where the two ends of the weaving meet. Glue together for a neat finish. The bottom edge of the weaving should be flush with the underside of the base.
Stain a 21” (533mm) length of crochet thread and cut into three equal lengths. Knot one end together and neatly plait.
Dab a thin layer of glue to one side of the plait at each end to ensure it doesn’t unravel itself at the next stage. Apply a thin layer of glue around the top edge of the basket and lay the plaited thread on top to cover the ends of the wire. Start and finish in the corner where the weaving is joined. Trim the knot off the plait before fixing and ensure the side you previously glued faces downwards.
Stain the axle wire piece and once dry, glue a wheel bead to each end. The end of the wire should be flush with the outside edge of the beads. Position and glue on the base of the basket, approximately 1/4" (6mm) in from one edge.
Take the handle and stand wire piece and a 50” (1270mm) length of crochet thread. Stain the wire and the thread. Once dry, apply tacky glue to one end of the wire and wind the thread tightly and neatly along the length of the wire, adding glue as you do to ensure it stays in position.
Continue the procedure until the length of wire is covered with the thread.
Cut a 1” (25mm) length off the wire. Use pliers to bend over 1/8” (3mm) of the wire at one end and then glue to the underside of the basket.
Take the remaining wire piece, measure 2-3/8” (60mm) from one end and bend the wire, repeat the procedure on the other side to make the handle.
Position and glue the handle to the back of the basket. The shopping trolley from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the handle should measure 3” (76mm) high.
This 1/24th scale shopping basket was made in exactly the same way, but using 26-guage paper covered wire for the stakes and 22-guage white, paper covered wire for the handle, axle and stand. All other measurements were halved.
Use this method to create baskets of all shapes and sizes, varying the thickness of paper, wire and stain. You can if you wish cut out one of the paper weaves, to leave a gap between the weaving or even replace it with a different coloured strip.
© Jane Harrop 2012
Wheel beads: www.janeharrop.co.uk
Paper covered wire: www.craftcompany.co.uk
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.
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