When cut open, telephone wire is found to be made up of a number of individual wires. Each of these is covered in brightly coloured plastic insulation. These coloured wires look attractive when woven into baskets, bowls and other items. You can easily learn to weave a bowl yourself using a few very simple tools and techniques.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Telephone wire
- Wire cutters
- Small knife
- 8 2-foot lengths of 1/16-inch diameter tie wire (or other stiff wire)
- Masking tape
Cut a 10-foot length of telephone wire, using wire cutters. Strip the covering from the telephone wire, exposing the multiple core wires. You can accomplish this by using a small knife to make a 2-inch lengthwise cut in the wire covering at one end, pulling the ends of the inner wires free, then holding the wires in one hand and pulling the insulation free with the other.
Gather the eight lengths of tie wire into a bundle, making sure to keep the ends even. Wrap masking tape very tightly around the bundle, approximately 7 or 8 inches from one end. Wrap one strand of the telephone wire around the masking tape to cover it completely. Tuck in the free end of the telephone wire.
Splay the tie wires out like spokes, above and below the masking tape. In weaving, these spokes are also called the "warp." Separate out two or three strands of the telephone wire. Wrap the ends of the wires around one of the spokes just above the masking tape band, and fix tightly in place using the pliers. These are called your "weft" wires.
Weave the weft wires over and under the spokes. Work around the bowl until you use up the whole ten feet of weft wire. Secure the ends with the pliers, making sure they are tight.
Take another three ten-foot lengths of telephone core wire. Clip the ends closely around one of the spokes with the pliers. Loop the weft wires once around the next spoke, pulling taut. Pass the wire to the next spoke, and wrap once around it. You should make sure that the loops are on the outside of the bowl. Repeat this technique until the bowl is the depth you want, shaping as you go. Tuck in the ends of the weft wires and secure them in place with the pliers.
Slip coloured beads onto the spoke wires. Shape the ends of the spokes into decorative curls using the pliers. Turn the piece over, then repeat the beading and curling step with the spokes at the base of the bowl (below the masking tape band) to make a decorative foot. Turn the bowl right side up, and press it gently down on a flat surface to make sure it stands straight.
Tips and warnings
- Ensure that the individual wires making up the core of your telephone wire are the kind with a single wire. The bowl will be harder to make if each coloured strand has many fine wires inside it. Many traditional techniques and designs can be adapted for telephone wire, so look for basket-weaving resources to get new ideas.
- Take care when working with wire. Protect your eyes and skin, and make sure to tuck in loose ends or bend them flat. Cut wires are sharp.
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