How to Treat Fresh Reeds for Basket Weaving

Written by molly thompson
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How to Treat Fresh Reeds for Basket Weaving
Using the right materials is important when making baskets. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Prepared and packaged reeds are available in craft stores and from basketry supply retailers for those who want to weave their own baskets. However, some weavers prefer to use freshly-harvested reeds or other natural materials for their baskets. Follow two main steps to prepare your own reeds for making baskets. First, thoroughly dry out the fresh-cut reeds. Second, rehydrate them in warm water a few at a time to make them pliable for weaving.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Freshly-harvested reeds
  • Heavy twine or string
  • Hangers or clothesline
  • Scissors
  • Large shallow basin or bowl
  • Warm water
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Gather eight to 10 freshly-cut reeds into a bunch and tie them together at the top with the twine. Hang the reed bunches from hooks, rafters, hangers or clothesline in a dark, dry, well-ventilated indoor location.

  2. 2

    Allow reed bunches to dry completely, three to seven days, depending on the local humidity. Keep reeds from direct light to avoid discolouration.

  3. 3

    Cut dried reeds to the desired size for your basket-weaving project. Fill the basin with warm (not hot) water. Place one or two reeds at a time into the water; soak for five to 10 minutes until the reeds are pliable but not soggy. Remove the reed(s) from the water and pat dry with paper towels.

  4. 4

    Use the pliable reeds to begin weaving the basket. Soak additional reeds, one or two at a time, as needed to continue weaving. Do not soak more than a couple of the cut reeds at a time, or they may dry out before you can begin weaving with them. Periodically replace the water in the basin to maintain its warmth.

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