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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!!!!

 

 

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Square Newspaper Weave Basket

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I wanted some baskets for my fabric stash. When it comes to fabric I am a hoarder and have loads of tiny pieces that I use for applique. So here is how I made them, please read all the instructions before starting this project:

Newspaper Sticks

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You will need lots of newspaper sticks. There are quite a few websites showing how to make these, my particular favourite is this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXHKvQbMJO0
I do sell them in my Etsy shop but postage is quite expensive.

It does take a while to master this, don’t give up, after all you will only be wasting old newspapers whilst you practice. In the video she uses white glue (PVA glue), I use a glue stick which works just the same but dries quicker. And I cut my newspaper with scissors.

A Mould
Measure the size of basket you want to weave and make a mock up, or mould, of one out of cardboard. Make the mould approx 1″ smaller than the size you want your finished basket to be. You will use this to weave round, it will help you to keep the size and shape of your basket as you will see further on in this tutorial.

Start Making Your Basket
Using your mould as a template draw round the bottom onto another piece of cardboard. ( I have used a thick piece of cardboard from a flat pack furniture delivery box, you could glue together several pieces of thin cardboard to make it thicker).

Cut it out.
This piece will be the beginning of your basket.

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Now to start making your basket. (Mine is quite large 15″ x 15″ x 12″ deep but you can use this tutorial for any size you want).

Draw a line on all four sides of the piece of cardboard you have just cut out for the bottom of your basket, approx 1/2″ in from the edge. Measure and mark approx 1″ apart along each edge making sure to mark at each corner. Don’t be too worried about this measurement as long as they are evenly distributed along each edge.

Next, using a screwdriver or something similar, push through each mark you have made making a hole large enough to take a newspaper stick. I started with an awl and then pushed a biro through each hole to enlarge it.

Take a newspaper stick, fold it in half and poke one end through one of the holes, with the other end of the newspaper stick poke it through the next hole. Pull it through tight so the loop lies flat, as in the picture below. Keep adding sticks until each hole has been filled.

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Turn the cardboard bottom over and these will be the sticks that you will be weaving on, the uprights.

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For my basket I use the rope weave, which uses two newspaper sticks at a time. this video shows you how to make a different bottom, but also shows, very simply, how to do the rope weave.

Weave one row all around the outside of the bottom piece of cardboard. Making sure you mould the weaving newspaper sticks round each corner.

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This is how it should look when you have finished the first row of weaving, turn the whole piece over, as in the picture below

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and carry on weaving making the next row lay on top of the last one while at the same time lifting each upright newspaper stick to make it stand upright. As shown below.:

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When you come to the end of the second row take your mould and place it inside of the upright newspaper sticks.

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Make sure all of your uprights are on the outside of your mould. I like to put something heavy inside the mould so that it doesn’t move around whilst I am weaving. I have used a couple of full paint tins but you could use anything like tins from the food cupboard, stones or bricks from the garden etc.

Now you can carry on weaving, making your weaving as close as possible to your mould. But not too tight that you can’t remove your mould at the end.

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If you find your uprights are too short for the height of your basket, as I have here, you need to make them longer. To do this you need to add more newspaper sticks. Here I have some made from the yellow pages, they are shorter than the newspaper sticks but long enough to reach the top of my measured basket.

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To make the uprights longer I insert more paper sticks, with the use of a knitting needle.

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Poke in the knitting needle next to one upright and slightly stretch the weaving and just push in another stick (you could add a small amount of white glue (PVA) if you wish). You will need to add new sticks all the way round. Be careful not to pull out these extra sticks as you are weaving.

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Carry on weaving incorporating these new sticks as shown.

When you have reached the height that you want your basket to be you need to close your weaving.

Take each end of your two weaving sticks and using a knitting needle or similar, prize open about three rows down and push down one end, pulling it right through, do the same with the other end.

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So they look like this. Cut off the excess.

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You have now finished weaving your basket. To complete, cut off all the uprights flush to the edge of the basket. Like so:

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In the next tutorial I will show you how I finish and paint my newspaper weave baskets.

Newspaper Wicker Weaving Sticks For Sale

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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.

 

Recycled Newspaper Wicker!!

Well, my last post finished with me heading towards the hoard of cardboard I had accumalated to make some furniture.  This did not happen as my poor little shed, being emptied and left for the newer garage studio, became damp and all the cardboard that had been stored there became the same.  So I abandoned that idea and researched for a simpler craft and came across some brilliant Russian sites with paper wicker.  So I bought some second hand furniture for my new studio in the newly refurbished garage and studied paper wicker instead as my new craft.

It is so rewarding cutting up local and national newspapers and making them into something practical and beautiful.  I have only been learning and creating things for the last few months, but with perseverance and lots of rejects I think I have come up with my own style and interpretation.  The colouring of the paper caused the most problems as I wanted it to feel like wicker and not paper that had been PVA’d, which alot of the sites recommend.  After lots of tins of paint and varnish my partner and I have arrived at how we want things to look and feel.  And with my own decoration, recycled fabric of course, I think that my creations can be called ‘shabby chic’ literally. I am fortunate to have a lovely lady who is collecting newspapers for me and I have sack loads which will keep me going for ages.

I have given in and decided to try the craft shows again, after all the lovely weather is here and the shows are in full swing. I now have something that I think is a little bit unusual here in Norfolk, so why not try?  Hopefully I can get other people interested in recycling and  use paper wicker for teaching as well as selling finished items.

Recycling doesn’t have to be hideous,it can be very pretty and practical, here are some of my creations to prove it.  If you are interested in anything here please comment and contact me on my website. All of these items will be for sale at the craft fairs I can attend. I will post dates and venues when they are booked.

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