anana leaves are abundant in Southeast Asia and South America and are used to make fertilizers, prepare food and make baskets, trays and bags. These large leaves are dried and then cut to size before being woven into natural, chemical-free household items. You can make banana leaf baskets by weaving leaf segments together.
Lay six to eight, 2- to 3-inch wide and 3-foot long banana leaf strips parallel to each other on the floor or table. The dried leaves should be approximately even in width and length.
Take another banana leaf strip of similar width and length and place it at a 90-degree angle on the middle of the leaves you have laid out. Weave it through the middle of the six to eight banana leaves using an under-over pattern. Pull the banana leaf so that the two ends are even.
Continue making the base of basket by weaving six to eight banana leaf strips through the first set of leaves. Pull the leaves tight to close up any holes in the weave. You should now have a woven square with loose leaf fronds sticking out of it on all four sides in a cross shape.
Sew the base of the basket with a needle and thread to prevent the banana leaves from moving. Put in one stitch in each leaf along the sides of the woven base. Fold the unwoven side leaves up so that they are standing up around the base of the basket.
Take another banana leaf strip and sew it to a leaf at one corner of the basket. Weave the loose end of the leaf around the basket to the other side or as far as possible. Push the woven leaf down against the bottom edge of the basket to prevent any holes. Secure it by placing a stitch into the leaf with the needle and thread.
Continue weaving leaves until the basket is fully formed. Secure all the leaves by sewing them with the needle and thread.
You can finish off the top of the basket by sewing a ribbon or fabric trim around the top edge. A tighter weave will require more banana leaves but will make a stronger basket. A banana leaf tray can be made by tightly weaving a large basket base and cutting off the excess leaves on the sides.
Use banana leaves that have been professionally dried. Moisture in the leave can lead to rotting or mildew. Do not place banana leaf baskets near a heat source as they are flammable.