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11 DIY Willow Basket Ideas You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

willow basket

The use of baskets can date back to 25,000 BCE and are still used in many cultures today. Basket weaving is a unique and incredible handicraft, and any natural fiber that can be bent can be used to weave a basket.

The willow is a vigorous grower and sturdy material perfect for basket weaving. If you have experience in basket weaving or want to learn this creative skill, we’ve gathered 11 excellent willow basket projects that you can make today.

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The 11 DIY Willow Basket Ideas

1. Small and Simple Willow Basket from Krokotac

Small and Simple Willow Basket from Krokotac
Image Credit: Krokotac
Materials: Yellow willow twigs, twine
Tools: Kraft knife, scissors
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This Willow basket is an excellent project for a beginner. It’s simple to construct, and the result is so rewarding. The size of the basket is ideal for holding a few eggs or miscellaneous items that usually get left lying on the counter near the house entranceway. It can also be a fun holiday project for the kids to store their craft supplies.

2. Flextiles Zarzo Basket

Flextiles Zarzo Basket
Image Credit: Flextiles
Materials: Willow rods of various colors
Tools: Kraft knife
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

The zarzo basket is based on the design of a Spanish tray used to drain cheese, and if you have some weaving experience, you can make this sweet basket today. It can serve multiple uses, such as storing bathroom or kitchen items, a lightweight picnic basket, or even a basket to carry items as part of a gift hamper.

With this project, you can use different colors to draw attention to the basket’s unique design.

3. Small Fruit Basket by Lady Lee’s Home

Small Fruit Basket by Lady Lee's Home
Image Credit: Lady Lee’s Home
Materials: Thin willow rods
Tools: Pegs, scissors
Difficulty Level: Beginner

This small, round basket is very easy and fun to make and is a great project for anyone who enjoys crafts and wants to learn basket-making basics. It’s also an excellent weaving project for kids. We called this a small fruit basket because it is ideal for displaying grapes, apricots, or plums, but you can get creative and find a unique use for it.

4. Hanna Van Aelst’s Berry Picking Basket

Materials: 90–100 willow rods, 24 of them must be heavier for uprights, twine or wire for tying.
Tools: Measuring tape, secateurs
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to advanced

This one is for the foragers! If you love to go out and forage for berries or anything else that nature has to offer, then this is the perfect basket to hold your goods. It is also a project for weavers with a bit of experience, but it never hurts to give it a go! This basket can also be used as a flower girl basket for a wedding and decorated with ribbons.

5. Small Wall Basket from Hanna Van Aelst

Materials: 9-inch willow rods
Tools: Measuring tape, secateurs
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

This small willow basket is made to hang on the wall and is ideal for small kitchen items. It will add an organic aesthetic to your kitchen while providing the perfect spot for your keys, eggs, or small fruit. It is a fun and rewarding project for anyone wanting to expand their weaving talents.

6. Picnic Basket by soncho

Materials: Thick and thin willow rods, string
Tools: Measuring tape, secateurs
Difficulty Level: Advanced

A picnic basket is usually a rib basket made with a natural material, and this tutorial will show you how you can make your own picnic basket with willow rods. Some basket weaving experience is an advantage, along with some patience, but the process will be both fun and challenging.

7. Willow Quest’s Willow Ormering Basket

Materials: Willow rods, old broom handle, wire, rope
Tools: Saw, sander, secateurs, bending machine, pliers
Difficulty Level: Advanced

Many people in the Channel Islands forage for a type of Abalone, known locally as ormers, across the shoreline on specific tides. They were traditionally collected in a willow basket known as a Pannier A Cou.

This tutorial shows you how you can make one using harvested willow. If you enjoy a bit of history and are inspired by old traditions, this will be an interesting project that will enhance your basket-making skills.

8. Easter Basket by Big Green Art

Materials: Willow rods
Tools: Secateurs
Difficulty Level: Easy

This sweet Easter egg basket is something your kids will love, and you can easily get them involved in the process. It even resembles the shape of a natural bird’s nest that will keep the easter eggs and goodies discreet. Once you have weaved the basket, you can add some bows and ribbons to make it more of a novelty for Easter.

9. Tiered Willow Basket by FromEveryWhere

Materials: Willow rods
Tools: Secateurs
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

This tiered willow basket is a perfect addition to your kitchen to store vegetables or your bathroom for all your bathroom items, such as toilet rolls, cosmetics, face cloths, soaps, and creams. This is great for someone who has some experience in weaving and wants to try something more creative. If you have some basic skills, it won’t take too long, and it can make a great gift for a friend or family member.

10. FromEveryWhere Creative Willow Basket

Materials: Willow rods
Tools: Secateurs
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to advanced

This basket is a step up from a simple round basket because it adds some creative detail at the top, which will also enhance your skills. You can use it to hold any small item you wish, but it makes a great basket for a gift hamper. This technique may require some patience, but the result will be worth it.

11. Willow Laundry Basket by FromEveryWhere

Materials: Extra-long willow rods, wooden base
Tools: Secateurs
Difficulty Level: Intermediate to advanced

Everyone needs a laundry basket, and today you can make your own using willow. It adds style to your bedroom or bathroom with its natural material, as opposed to a regular plastic basket. It can also be made for use as storage for linen and towels or even logs by the fireplace. Making this basket will require more time and patience as you are using longer rods of willow, and its size is much bigger than a fruit or picnic basket.

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Choosing Willow for Weaving

If you weave a basket with willow straight from the tree (green), it will shrink as it dries, which will affect the shape of your basket. Therefore, it is best to work with willow that has been dried and then re-soaked since it is preshrunk. You can buy rods that have already been cut and dried, either with the bark removed (buff) or with the bark left on (brown).

If you are new to weaving or lack hand strength, buff willow is a good place to start because it is much easier to work with. A simple round basket will require approximately 70 rods. So, for a 1-foot-diameter basket, you’ll need rods that are slightly longer than 3 feet long, but it is preferable to have rods that are slightly longer than the required circumference.

If you cut the willow yourself, harvest it during the winter when the sap is low and the whips are less rigid. If your willow has any black spots, it could indicate that the plant was diseased while it was growing, and these spots will be weak and likely to break.

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Final Thoughts

These willow projects can easily be modified if you’re interested in adding your creative touches. If you are looking for a storage basket, a picnic basket, or something to give your loved ones, most of these plans can be adapted to suit your needs. While some require more experience than others, they will all enhance your skills and fuel your creativity. Choosing the correct willow is the first step to weaving a basket, but patience will get you your desired result. Happy weaving!

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Featured Image Credit: A. Zhuravleva, Shutterstock


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