Crafty: Contain clutter while beautifying your space with rope baskets



  • A bowl, plastic flower pot or tray to use as a mold
  • Two strips of fabric, each long enough to be draped on top of overturned mold and still have fabric remaining. I used scrap pieces of muslin—it’s cheap and doesn’t slip around like some other fabrics.
  • Tape (I used masking tape)
  • White cotton clothesline or sash cord (available at hardware stores)
  • Fabric or tacky glue (anything that dries clear)
  • Fabric dye or paint (optional)
  • Tape

Rope baskets are a great way to organize odds and ends on your desk, contain your jewelry or hold a potted plant. These rope baskets are easily assembled and can be made in any shape or size you want.

Step 1

Start by overturning the pot you’re using as your mold and crossing the two strips of fabric over the center of the form in an X. Use tape to secure the fabric pieces to one another and to the pot. You’ll be using this fabric cross when you remove the rope basket from the mold.

Step 2

Take one end of your rope and place a line of glue about three inches long beginning at the tip of the rope. You definitely want to use enough glue so things stick, but try and keep the basket clean—especially if you plan on adding any color with fabric paint or dye—because places with excess glue will react much differently to color. Start to coil the rope into a flat spiral by tucking the gluey end of the cord inward and winding around until you come to the end of your glue. This is a bit easier to manage if you begin to coil the rope in the center of the mold where the fabric pieces cross.

Step 3

Continue to glue along the length of the cord, and wrap in stages. Be sure to press the new spiral of cord into the previous one so everything sticks. Take your time around edges and use a bit of extra glue if needed. When your basket is the size you want, cut the end of the cord. You’ll cover this end in glue and press into place, connecting it to the previous spiral.


Step 4

Let the glue dry according to directions—usually an hour is long enough. Carefully free the rope basket from the the mold by gently pulling on the ends of the fabric. If your coils start to separate a bit, just glue along the break and let it dry.

Step 5

If you want to add a splash of color to your stark white coil basket, you can mix up a bit of fabric dye or paint. You might choose to dip dye the bowl—giving it a color-blocked look—or for a more abstract and free look you can apply the dye or paint with a paintbrush to specific areas. Let dye or paint completely dry before putting to use.

Photos by Frankie Schneckloth


This article was originally published in Little Village issue 170.

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