Taking a Basket from Blah to Beautiful

I have had a long love affair with baskets.  I think it can be traced to my love of brown and also my love for wicker, and all things woven.

Baskets seem to be everywhere these days, as we obtain more and more stuff and find ourselves in need of stylish storage options.

I like to give a basket as a gift.  I usually fill them with gourmet goodies, kitchen or bar tools, and fun towels.  I stuff the basket with homemade confetti, or line it with the aforementioned towels, and top it off with a pretty ribbon woven through the basket, around the handle, or tied in bows at the ends.

I usually choose a basket with handles.  Why?  Because handles add interest and make it easier to personalize the basket.  You can hang charms, cards, and corkscrews from handles.

I think a pretty basket filled with decadent treats, bridal or baby supplies, or everyday essentials is a thoughtful gift for any occasion.  The basket itself is a bonus.

¤¤  Here is a simple tutorial that shows how I took a plain basket and dolled it up a bit in under half an hour…  ¤¤

First, choose some ribbon.  You can use multiple colors, textures, and thicknesses.  If you vary the color palette, and use coordinating or contrasting colors, it can produce a nice effect for the finished basket.  I chose a bright blue ribbon with tiny sequins sewn down the middle.

You can cut two, long pieces of ribbon and tie them in bows once you weave the ribbon through the top of the basket, or you can use one loooong piece as I did.

I like to start weaving at one of the ends, near a handle.  I usually leave a length of extra ribbon hanging off for tying a bow or twisting around the handle later.

Begin by threading the ribbon through the gaps in the rows of the basket.  Be sure to adjust the ribbon as you go along, so that the proper side faces out.  If you need help getting through the gaps in the basket weave, use the tip of a small craft scissors to gently push the ribbon through.

You can go around the top rim making loops over it, thread around the basket just under the top rim, as I did, or make rings around the middle of the basket.  If you opt for rings in the middle, just tie the ribbon ends together firmly on the inside of the basket when you’ve made it all the way around.

You really can't go wrong weaving the ribbon in and out of the basket fibers. Just take a moment to look at the basket and plan your design.

This is the basket, nearly finished. Look at all the excess to finish off the very end. Make sure to leave enough!

To cover the first handle, I looped the ribbon over the handle tightly and covered each previous loop partly with each new loop.  To finish off the basket at the final handle, I cut the smaller portion of ribbon to make a clean end without a frayed edge.

I looped the longer ribbon to the middle of the handle, then I held it with one hand while I tightly looped the smaller ribbon about twice. One hand needs to hold each end firmly to the handle.

Then I looped the longer ribbon over the smaller ribbon bit, covering it:

I covered the shorter ribbon bit with the longer ribbon. For each loop I made around the handle, I covered a little of the previous loop so that the basket fibers wouldn't show through and the handle would be smooth to the touch.

To secure the final handle, you can do one of two things: you can loop the edge back through the previous loops and cut any remaining ribbon piece off, or you can do the quick fix, and use clear tape.  Guess what I did??

You can't even see the tape...

Once the ribbon is on, you can add other accents.

I had a butterfly charm that I threaded through some shiny, chocolate brown ribbon.  Then, I tied it so that the charm dangled from the front of the basket.

Ah, blue and brown together...

Here is a close-up of the charm, but you can use anything you like.