The Sunday Salon: Arts & Crafts — Newspaper Basket Weaving

Once, as a child, I sat down and tried to make a list of my resources. “Glue and paper,” I concluded. I was an unfortunately literally-minded child. But I do accumulate paper like nobody’s business, so most of my crafty behavior comes not from whipping a little something up on the sewing machine, but from bending paper to my will. Last December, faced with a limited budget for the holidays but access to endless amounts of newsprint, I added a woven newspaper basket to my repetoire, so I thought I’d share it with y’all today for all your New Year’s Resolution organizing plans.

I picked this craft up from craftstylish. To make your woven newspaper basket, you are going to need:

• Newsprint
• Glue
• A pencil, pen, ruler, or bone folder (to crease the newsprint crisply)
• Tape

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I am using this weekend’s edition of Creative Loafing, which is a fantastic publication. Sometimes I send excerpts of it to Memory. To begin, we are going to create newspaper strips that you can weave with. Take whatever you deem a sheet of your newsprint to be.

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Fold it length-wise until it’s about a inch and a half wide, making crisp folds. I use a bone folder (what a name!), but you can use a pencil, a pen, a ruler… anything with a blunt straight edge. With my Creative Loafing sheets, I folded it four times to get this strip. I like to try and make sure that I’m not only using sheets with bright, colorful, or otherwise interesting content, but also ensure that interesting visual element is, well, visible by the time it’s folded into its appropriate shape.

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Make nine strips. Your hands will get all newsprinty. Set three strips aside—it’s best if one of these strips has a visual element that can easily be cut in half—i.e., a colorful photo and text instead of a full-page photo. But it’s not necessary. (In fact, to steal a joke from The Big Bang Theory, the only things necessary in life are breathing, eating, and going to the bathroom. Everything else is optional.) Weave six strips together like so. Check to make sure that the strips are even on both sides, like my vertical strips are and my horizontal strips aren’t in this photo.

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Glue the strips together by lifting the strips up carefully. There will be shifting in this process; try to keep things straight, but any minor shifting won’t damage the final product.

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Once everything is glued together, fold the strips over and crease all of them one by one, like so.

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Now, take one of the strips you’ve set aside and insert it into your already woven strips. This is going to be the first side of the basket.

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Glue things into place, and fold it up.

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Crease corners, with your implement or your fingers; it doesn’t need to be perfect.

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Now, weave through the two other sides. Keep track of what overlaps where, as it’s easy to get confused here. Ignore the fourth side; we’ll get to it later. Glue everything into place. Don’t worry about the short ends; we’ll get to that later.

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Take one of your two remaining strips and weave it through above the strip you just woven into the basket.

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Glue everything into place, weave through the other two sides, and glue everything into place once more. I hope you brought a big glue stick.

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Now, we’ll weave the fourth side into the basket. Take the strip—ideally with two visual elements on it—and cut it in half vertically. You may find it easiest to fold it in half and then cut along the resultant crease. Take one of those two short strips and weave it into the unfinished side.

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Glue everything into place, fold the side up, and glue the short ends to the finished walls. Because these strips are folded, you will need tape if the short ends are going on the outside of the basket.

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Do the same with your last short strip, gluing as necessary. Now we’ve got a basket—albeit with some rough edges.

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Fold each end into the basket and tape them to the sides.

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And now you’ve got a newspaper basket, made out of stuff you probably have on your desk right now to organize the other stuff you probably have on your desk right now.

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This technique can be used to make boxes of any sizes; simply create more and/or longer strips to make bigger boxes.

I have been so tired this week. It’s my first week back at school for my last semester (scream!), and it was a little bumpy getting back into things. Plus, Feminist Friday bumped right up into an Atlanta Outworlders breakfast, so Friday and Saturday were both amazing but only separated by six hours of sleep. (I am functionally a bear, so that doesn’t cut it for me.) Today, I sleep and do chores. And eat a cupcake for lunch. As for this past week, I’ve finished Wuthering Heights and moved onto The Soul of Anime, as well as Never Let Me Go, which I’m enjoying. Even if I do refer to it as Parts: The Clonus Horror from time to time.

Elsewhere…

What do you do with old newspaper?

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