Thoughts on newspaper weaving

As you have probably seen I went through a stage of weaving newspapers. There are some beautiful videos and websites from Russia, where there are brilliant experts at this craft giving tutorials. I spent many hours watching the videos and trying to listen and watch how the paper sounds and reacts. Was it strong, did it sound like wicker or was it just solid. I am a fool to myself, I always want my handmade things to be strong, survive any sort of handling but I also want it to feel natural and handmade.


One of my newspaper baskets with lid. I make the separate liner and lace decor from recycled fabrics.

These are the things that I noticed when making newspaper woven objects:

The finer and tighter that you can roll your newspaper/magazine sticks, the stronger the feel to your weaving. Also it makes it easier to weave neatly if your sticks are tight.

The only way I got an object to feel and sound like wicker was to varnish the sticks before weaving. This took forever as each stick was varnished individually and had to be dried before I could use it. Then you have to be careful that you don’t weave too tight or the varnish will crack.

I did paint, individually, the sticks with watered down, 50 household matt paint and 50 water. Wove the sticks into a pot, PVA glued then varnished. This didn’t work as well. You have to keep the sticks pliable and damp as the paint really dried them out. Very messy.

I tried all ways, and seeing I don’t speak Russian, and I can’t find the die/varnish in the UK that they die their newspaper sticks with so I went back to basics.


Recycled fabric liner with lace, ribbon and some beads.

Forget Wicker. You are weaving a paper product. I have sewing machine covers, baskets and pots that have lasted for at least 3 years now, that I have woven from newspapers. I have dusted them, and wiped them down with a damp cloth and they still look like they did when I first made them. My cats have slept in them and on them, I have stored alsorts in them and they haven’t fallen apart, cracked or looked disgusting. They have gone through winters in the shed, hot summers in the house and still do what I wanted them to do.

I personally don’t like the different colours, but I have shown how I painted white baskets in one of my tutorials using PVA glue here. I like my paper weaving to look like wood, which is how the paper started in the first place. Therefore I weave the paper into the basket and then hand it over to my partner who uses the Ronseal Quick Dry Woodstain, silk or satin (I did’t like how the matt finish looked). He painted the projct twice to make sure that all the little bits were covered.

To finish and make them special I like to decorate with beads, lace, ribbons etc and recycled fabric to make a pretty liner.


I just hot glued the lace and flower onto this little pot.

I love newspaper weaving, and enjoy peoples faces when you tell them what the beautiful basket they are about to buy is made from i.e local rag, free paper or tabloid, the written word can be beautiful, even today!!!!!!!




Craft Room Fabric Scrap Storage

I am changing my craft room around again!! There is always too much stuff and not enough storage. Along one wall I have a worktop and everything seems to get shoved under it in boxes and bags which looks awful.  I found a brilliant book case on the Argos website. Not the usual with tiny shelves, this one has 3 shelves that are 40cms deep  and 73cms long. It is called the Pagnell Book Shelf and cost £39.99 + delivery. I am so pleased with it, it fits snugly underneath my worktop and will hold 3 of my newspaper baskets giving me lots more storage space for all the small bits of fabric I keep for patchwork and applique.

SAM_2081Please check out my tutorial for making the newspaper baskets and the next tutorial for painting them. I love making these and they don’t cost a penny when you need more storage. Its surprising what you can do with a couple of old newspapers and a piece of cardboard!!

Newspaper Wicker Weaving Sticks For Sale


The props for this photo are, one of my basket lids, woven from the newspaper sticks and varnished, one of my book page roses and two bundles of the newspaper sticks for sale.

I have had so many people ask me how I roll these sticks. It does take along while to get the hang of it, and I wasted loads of newspapers whilst I was learning. But now, a year on, I feel I am quite the expert! So, for you crafters out there who don’t have the time to learn, or want to start weaving now without the bother, I am selling the sticks, already made, in my Etsy Shop.

I have seen a few other people selling these but most of them are shorter than mine. I would rather have less joins in my finished basket or pot.

And if you are local, contact me through my website and you can pickup your order without having to pay p+p! Bonus!!

The 1.5mm newspaper rolling rods, so you can roll your own, will also be for sale in the shop soon. The thinner your weaving sticks, the neater your weaving becomes.


Thursdays Gorleston Craft Fair

It was another beautiful day weather wise, thank goodness. This is one of the reasons I keep saying ‘no more’ to craft fairs. Most of them tend to be outdoors and I absolutely hate, hate, when you have set up all of your beautiful things on your stall, including business cards and maybe a flyer or two, only for the wind to come along and blow everything away, or for it to rain and you are rushing around trying to cover everything or pack everything up that musn’t get wet! I have had to do this many a time. English weather is NEVER predictable, whatever the forecasters on TV say. But, Thursday was definitely a sun tan lotion day.


Items ready for staining and decorating to add to the stall

It was a very small, quickly organised, not very well advertised, local craft fair. So small that there were only 5 stalls! We were outside, in a pub garden and semi-covered by a small marquee. We needed to be semi-covered as my partner had part of the table demonstrating how the paper woven items were stained and finished, and I could show how I made the small paper dollies. We didn’t want the marquee (that is rented out for parties and weddings) covered in wood stain. I make corn dollies from the newspaper sticks as well as the baskets and pots.


Not many people attended, due to poor advertising. But this was the first craft fair that the organisors had tried to organise, so it is all down to experience and learning lessons. They are hoping to have the fair once a month, so I will see how they approach the advertising etc. for their next one before I book again. Although it is for charity, so I will see, I did make a little money afterall. Which is what it is all about, for me, at the moment.


Even though not many attended I managed to get a bit of interest in my stall and I sold more there than I had at any other craft fair. And as far as I could tell I was the one that sold the most, which is a lovely feeling and gave me a much needed boost! Especially after the last one. At another, supposedly really organised, once a month craft fair, indoors, I sat there for 6 solid hours, getting alot of interest but no sales at all (also due to bad advertising). At this little fair  it was only open for 3 and a bit hours and I made my table money, and more!!!!

I also discovered, which always eludes me, how to price my stock. Unfortunately I have stock for sale on my website, at my original prices, and I can’t change them yet as Paypal are messing about with  all of their gubbins, so please keep an eye on my website as prices for my paper weaving items will be changing hopefully soon. Also, I found out that my Rag Bags were popular so I will be investing some time into making some more within the next few weeks.  I have loads of new ideas, which is one of my BIG downfalls regarding the business that I must address!

I think the little fair in Gorleston could take off in a big way if it was handled better. I am sure that the organisers will take this first one as a big lesson learnt and will make the future ones really good. They are hoping to have a craft fair once a month, so if they get more crafters to take part they can look for another venue. Hopefully an indoor one for the winter months and for crafters to have a Christmas Craft Fair. Good luck to them, and I will definitely advertise them here on my blog. Anything to help local,  fellow crafters!

In the meantime I now have more irons in the fire, regarding Tina’s Rag Bag. I ‘might’  write about it soon………………..  AND…………….I reached 1,000 views on my blog last Sunday, I am so chuffed. As far as I can tell I have 1 person in the USA frequently checking this blog. I would dearly love for them to get in touch. If  it is you could you contact me through my website ???? I promise I will reply.

But for now, to keep you in suspense, I must get on with my new Business Plan!

Paper weave ‘Kinchaku’

We had a good laugh last week.  My mother had organised for us to go to the local recycling committee meeting.  She had corresponded by email with the organisors to ask what time and day etc and if we would be welcome.

We got ready to catch the bus, carrying some of my newspaper woven baskets and lots of business cards and brochures for my recycling craft workshops.  She decided to just check which room in the townhall the meeting was to be held when she found out that it was Yarmouth USA and not Yarmouth UK!!!!!!!  So obviously that outing was cancelled.

She emailed the committee and told them why we hadn’t attended the meeting and they had a good laugh as well!  Never mind we have found some more like minded people who are well into recycling even if they are the other side of the world.

So…….. to go back to my favourite newspaper weaving, I had discovered the ‘Kinchaku’ on the net, they are little or big bags that are Japanese.  The original ones have a basket at the bottom with a drawstring fabric bag inside.  I had a go with my paper weaving.  And this is my interpretation.

SAM_1456The little drawstring bag is removable for washing.


I attached a fabric band, hand decorated with little pearls, at the bottom of the basket with a handle.  These are lovely to make and decorate,  I will probably end up with loads of them.   They are perfect as little purses or to keep jewellery or sewing things in. I already have some on my website for sale, please take a look.

Just a little add on.  I have to include my 3 most favourite things, my two little boys, who love to pose, and my 100 year old singer sewing machine, which still works beautifully.



New Week

I’m trying so hard not to make any more newspaper weaving items as my studio is full of them.  Storage is my problem at the moment, what does everyone else do with all of their handiwork?  I have storage boxes, drawers, cupboards, shelves full of things I have made.  And 3 sacks of newspapers!!!!

I must start concentrating on getting the workshops going again after spending so much time getting organised for the craft fair.  Had a fairly good year last year but so far not alot.  So I am giving £5 Recycle Craft Workshops on  Tuesday mornings to get them started again.


Our council is due to have a Recycling Committee Meeting this week so I will be attending.  Apparently they are always looking for ideas and people to get involved.  I have spent the last couple of days making my new workshop posters and putting together a little pack for the meeting to hand out.

Brochure Pack

These packs contain my workshop brochure, a recycle craft workshop poster and 6 small posters, and a  busines card envelope with 6 business cards.  They are all tied together with string and finished off with one of my labels that are made from plastic milk bottles. I will also be taking one of my newspaper baskets.  Hopefully I will get to meet some people that will be able to help me with my marketing or who will be interested in my crafts.

This will be the beginning of my new strategy, it will be interesting to see what happens.

I haven’t spent all of my time the last couple of weeks without crafting.  My granddaughter had her 11th birthday.  She lives and breathes horses. So for a present I made her a 3d horse wall hanging.  For Christmas I had given her a small sewing machine as I had recently taught her how to use one.  So with the horse I designed a sewing pattern for her so she can make some more herself.  At her age she is too young for toys and not quite experienced enough to use a proper sewing pattern so I created one that she would be able to use on her own.

louise horse finised bpatten front

The horse is stuffed and decorated with beads, lace, sequins, buttons and hung with ribbon.  Again, it is using recycled fabrics and decorations.  The  sewing pattern includes a template and illustrated instructions and can be hand sewn or machined.  We have decided to do a line of these patterns called Louise’s Fantasy Pets.  So this is my next ‘freetime’ project.  This sewing pattern will be available on my website within the next couple of weeks, so keep watching.