After pruning your willow tree, recycle the thin, flexible branches into woven materials. You can use woven willow, also called wattle, to produce sturdy and attractive fences, garden trellises, sculptures, baskets or furniture. Weaving willow branches is an ancient, meditative craft that adults and children can do together.
Prune your willow tree as normal, using a pruning saw. If making a trellis or fence, set aside long, straight, supple branches for horizontal rows and thicker, sturdier branches for vertical posts. If making a basket, furniture or sculpture piece, only set aside the long, straight, supple branches.
Place the cut ends of the branches in water until you are ready to weave. For best results, weave the willow a week or sooner after pruning.
Strip leaves and secondary branches from your willow branches, using a pocket knife.
Lay out branches parallel to each other at equal intervals until their combined length is as long as you want the woven object to be. If making a fence or trellis, lay out the stout branches. Place the branches as close together or as far apart as you want, depending on how tight you'd like the weave to be.
Weave a thinner branch horizontally over and under the branches laid out in the last step. When starting a second row, weave a branch under and over the vertical branches. Continue adding rows and alternating branches until the weave is complete.
Things you need
- Pruning saw
- Pocket knife