Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yarn Baskets

I came up with this idea of yarn mache to create home made Easter baskets for my children.  They don't take much work, time or money and the kids loved them.  My children are toddlers so they didn't partake in the crafting but this would be really fun and rewarding for kids that are a bit older.  These baskets are surprisingly sturdy and held the weight of all the goodies that spring bunnies bring.  I used various sizes of kitchen mixing bowls to use as molds for my baskets.  You can use any kind of yarn in whatever colors tickle your fancy so get creative!

To make the paste:

In a large mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup of flour and 2 cups of cold water with a whisk
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan and then add the flour and cold water mixture
Bring all of it to boil once again
Remove from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of sugar
Let the mixture cool.  The paste will thicken as it cools.

As the paste is cooling you can prepare to make the basket.  Choose a bowl to serve as a mold for your basket.  I used two different sized metal mixing bowls.  Cover your bowl mold with saran wrap and place it upside down on a baking sheet or tray. Although I haven't tried it yet, I would suggest using a bit of butter or oil to grease the bowl before putting on the saran wrap so that your yarn basket is easy to get off the mold bowl.  I had a hard time separating mine and at times I thought I'd have to break the basket the get it off.

Next you should get your yarn nice and gluey!!!  I put about 5 ft of yarn at a time into the glue and just saturated it.  I rang it out a bit, enough to be moist but not dripping.  I chose to start in the bottom center of both baskets and created a spiral shape but you could probably start anywhere you like so long as the yarn is stuck to the basket.  The basket will be hard when complete so you could really get creative and do all kinds of gravity defying things.  Once the basket looked how I wanted it to, I added a bit more glue and smoothed everything out to make sure all yarn was coated well.  To make the handles, I used several strands of yarn to make a braid.  You can do whatever length you want.  I used hair bobbie pins to hold the braid ends together and saturated the braids in the glue.  For one of them, I wrapped another piece of yarn in a contrasting color around the braid.  Once the handles were wet with paste I laid them flat to dry on a baking sheet.

It will take a few days for the basket to dry.  Once the basket seems fully dry separate it from the bowl mold and peel the saran wrap off the inside.  You may need to let it dry another day if the inside is still moist.  I used a nail file to smooth any rough edges and to remove excess glue.  Then I used all purpose craft glue to attach the handles to the basket.  I had to use clothespins to hold them in place while they dried over night.  To seal, protect and harden the basket, I used a glossy acrylic spray hardener and sealant.  Your local craft store should offer various types/brands.  This clear coating usually dries within a few hours and you have a hand crafted yarn baskets! 

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