How to Weave a Nantucket Basket

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Things You'll Need

  • Nantucket basket mold
  • 8-inch wooden disc base
  • Reed staves
  • Cane weavers
  • Rubber band
  • Cutting tool
  • Two half-round rim pieces
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • Wooden handle
  • Two brass pins
  • Two bone knobs
  • Two washers
  • Polyurethane
  • Base plug

Nantucket baskets were originally made by sailors in Nantucket in the early 1700s. The sailors took up basket making to pass the time and made them from materials available on their ships. Nantucket baskets can be made with or without tops and are made using a special Nantucket basket mold. The baskets have a signature wooden base. Nantucket baskets can be made with a few materials available at craft stores and online.

Secure the 8-inch wooden base to the bottom of the Nantucket basket mold using the screw. The mold will hold the base in place while you insert staves and weave the cane into the basket base.

Cut reed staves to 8 inches in length with scissors. Sand the edges of the staves until they are smooth.

Dampen a stave and place it into a slot on the base in the mold. Continue placing staves all around the mold until every slot is filled with a stave. There should be an odd number of staves when you are done. The staves create a place to weave the cane in and out. Place a rubber band around the staves to hold them in place. The staves should be held in place by the rubber band until they are dry.

Soak cane weavers in hot water for 15 minutes. The cane will be flexible enough to weave once it has been properly soaked. Wet cane will also be easier on your hands.

Weave cane into the staves, using the standard over/under pattern. Continue weaving until you reach the top of the mold, leaving enough room for the rim at the top of the staves.

Remove the mold by unscrewing it from the base. Fill the screw hole with a base plug.

Trim the staves, leaving enough room at the top for the rim.

Cut two half-round pieces of rim and place them on the inside and outside edge of the basket. Glue to two pieces of rim together on the inside and outside. Trim any staves that are still visible above the rim with a cutting tool.

Nail the rim onto the staves. The rim should be tightly secured to the basket.

Drill a hole into each side of the basket. Attach the handle with brass pins, bone knobs and washers.

Engrave the wooden base of the basket with your initials and the year in which you made the basket.

Apply polyurethane to protect the basket. This will also give the basket a beautiful shine and finish.


  • If you make a mistake when weaving, undo the weave all the way back to the exact location of the mistake and start again from there.


About the Author

Sarah L. Harrer has more than eight years of experience as an editor at Thomson Reuters. She has edited titles such as "Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts," and written several continuing education manuals. Harrer's work has also been published in "The Pioneer" and "The Angle." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. John Fisher College.

Photo Credits

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