Cut the basswood into an oval shape, according to the pattern in Figure 1. (The patterns on this page may not print to the correct size, due to your printer model and your printer settings. If the patterns do not come out the right size, and you need help resizing it, give me a holler.)
Sand all surfaces of the base with fine sandpaper. Mark hole positions with a pin, and use a pin vice or a a dremel tool to drill holes half-way through the wood.
Paint all surfaces of the base with white paint. Sand until smooth, if necessary.
Preparing the sides:
Using wire cutters, cut the wire into shorter pieces. You will need 22 pieces that are 3/4-inch long, and 5 pieces that are 1/2-inch long. (The measurements do not have to be exact.)
Refer to Figure 1 to determine which side of the base is the front of the basket. There are 27 holes. (An odd number of holes is needed for the weaving pattern to work.) The holes are spaced closer on the front of the basket. Mentally make note of which hole is hole #1.
Using Quick Grab or tacky glue, glue the wires into the holes in the base. You may need to twist each wire slightly, as they are inserted in the holes, to tighten the cloth covering the wires. At this time, you may wish to smear a dab of tacky glue on the other end of the wires to help prevent the fabric coating from fraying. The longer (3/4-inch) wires are to be glued in holes #1 through #22. The shorter pieces are to be used on the front of the basket so that a mini cat or dog can easily enter the basket.
The basket should now look like the the sketch in Figure 2.
If using tacky glue, set aside, and let dry overnight.
Prepare the edge trim:
While the glue sets, cut 3 pieces of cord, each 1 foot long. Tie the three pieces together with a knot. Tape the knotted end of the cords to your worksurface and braid the cord evenly. After the braiding to the end, tie a knot to keep it from unplaiting. At this time, you may want to smear some glue on one side of the braid, near the knot. The knots will be will be cut off later, and the glue will prevent the braid from unraveling.
This braid will be used to finish the top edges of the basket after the basket has been woven.
Weaving the basket:
Wind the remaining 3 yards of cord into a loose ball. Start weaving by placing the end of the cord between Wire #1 and Wire #2, and wrap it clockwise around Wire #1, as shown in Figure 3. (The tail should be about an inch long. It will be trimmed later.) Weave around the basket by placing the cord outside of Wire #2, inside Wire #3, and continuing in an over-under pattern around the basket.
Weave a total of 8 rows, going around in circles. Be careful to not pull the cord too tightly, as it will bend the wires inwards. The sides of the basket should be perpendicular to the base. Use a toothpick, stylus, or needle to pack the rows of cord together as you weave.
On the 9th row, weave only to Wire #22, wrap around wire #22, and reverse directions and weave in a clockwise direction until you reach Wire #1. Weave back and forth, over a total of 10 back-and-forth rows. (You may make the basket taller or shorter, if you like. A pattern also can be worked into the weaving, but that is a lesson for another day. )
After weaving all the rows, loop the tail under the last row of weaving, so that the tail points towards the inside of the basket. Using a toothpick, pack the rows of weaving down so that everything looks even. Use a toothpick to apply glue to the tail to hold it in place. Glue the top row in place, by pushing dabs of glue between the cord and the wire.
After the glue has dried, cut the wires close to the weaving.
Trim the tails of the cord close to the basket. Glue the previously braided trim over the tops of the wires. Using pointed scissors, cut the braid to the correct length after the braid is glued to the wires. Smear glue on ends of the braid to keep the braid from coming undone.
Making the pillow:
Trace the pillow bottom pattern (figure 4) onto cardstock and cut it out with your paper scissors. Use this cardstock piece as a pattern and cut out one piece of foam and one piece of fabric.
Use the pillow top pattern to cut out the pillow top. Make tiny snips (no more than 1/4-inch deep) around the edge of the pillow top.
Glue the foam oval to the cardstock oval. Center this unit over the pillow top, so that the backside of the fabric is adjacent to the foam. Run a line of glue around the edge of the cardstock, and gently fold the edges of the pillow top over the edges of the foam and cardstock. (The pillow will be upside-down as you work with it.) Smooth out any wrinkles, and don't pull the fabric too tightly. You may need to snip along the edges of the fabric to reduce bulk along the curves. See Figure 5.
Smear a tiny bit of glue around the edges of the the smaller oval. Use the glue sparingly, as it may bleed through the fabric. (If this happens, don't worry, because no one will see it once the pillow is placed in the basket.) Lay the pillow bottom fabric over the tuned-under edges of the pillow top. See Figure 6.
Place the pillow in the basket, and it will be ready for your mini pet!
© Alice Buerkle 1999
Back to my main page.