How to Make Your Own Basket by Folding Large Palm Leaves

Updated July 20, 2017

Many professional basket makers weave palm fronds into baskets, and the amateur weaver can also join in the fun. Palm weaving has become quite popular, largely due to its association with Easter. It is also extremely popular in the southern U.S. You can create many shapes, including animals and baskets. Most baskets involve weaving leaves separated from the main stalk of the frond, but you can also make a basket out of an entire palm frond by weaving the leaves along each side together. This Fijian style simply takes a bit of folding.

Soak your frond in water for five minutes.

Take hold of the first two leaves at the base of your frond. Cross them by folding the second one over the first.

Lift the third leaf up and leave it there. Fold the fifth leaf over the fourth. The fifth leaf should reach all the way across the previous leaves.

Lay the third leaf down across the fifth. You now have a good guide for weaving the rest of the leaves.

Weave the remaining leaves under and over the woven ones. Alternate the direction of the weave, that is, whether you begin by going under or going over the woven fronds.

Repeat on the other side of the frond with the second row of leaves. You should now have two woven triangles on either side of the stalk with leaf tips hanging all around.

Fold the two sides up together. Take the leaves next to the tip and bend them over the rim and onto the other side. Slide them under one of the woven leaves. This is called "locking" the leaf.

Begin to French braid the leaf tips down along the side, weaving them together. To French braid them, take three leaves from the top corner of the basket and hold them together. Two will come from either side of the basket and the third will come from unlocking one of the leaves that you just used. Bend one of the outside leaves to the inside, then bend the opposite outside leaf to the inside. Continue to do this and you will create a braid. Continue to braid even when you pass the edge of the basket. Doing so will create a handle.

Tie a knot at the end of the woven strand. French braid the remaining side and tie it off as well.

Turn the basket upside down so the stalk is pointing up. Cut a slit in the tip of the stalk and pull it apart down the centre. This creates an opening for your basket.

Bend the two braided ropes on either end over the opening and knot them together.

Allow your basket to dry overnight.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm frond
  • Basin of water
  • Knife
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About the Author

Jennifer Meyer received her B.A. in anthropology, specializing in archeology, in 2004 from Beloit College. She then earned her master's degree in museum studies at Indiana University in 2007 after being awarded a university fellowship. She started writing in 2005, contributing podcast scripts, procedural guides and exhibit copy to museums in the Indianapolis metro area.