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Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 | 2 comments

Freecycle Upcycle: Basket Weaving with Old Maps

Freecycle Upcycle: Basket Weaving with Old Maps

With Freecycle, in a small town, sometimes what goes around comes around. Katie emailed to tell me she got a pile of old maps from Freecycle from someone named Holly at such-and-such an address. I wonder out loud if Holly is my friend Holly. She’s one and the same, it turns out!

Holly doesn’t yet realize Katie and I took those old maps of hers and upcycled them into a rather cool plaited basket. We followed the instructions on Make Projects site for bias plaiting.

We started by cutting the maps into long strips with a rotary cutter. We folded the edges to the center and then folded the entire piece in half to make the strips thicker. We made 16 strips this way.


Next, we wove the base.


We used twine to mark the base of the basket.


The next step required one of us to hold one side of the loose plaits while the other one did the three-dimensional weaving to make the sides. That was the hardest part. You do each of the four sides one by one and clip them at the top with a clothespin. It’s hard to get them tightly woven and I’m not sure how you’d accomplish it by yourself. Sometimes, we lost the thread and had to say out loud to each other, “Over, under, over under. No, there. No, over. Yes, there you have it.”


We folded down the tops and clipped the long pieces on the inside. Then, I painted over it with diluted Elmer’s glue.


Ours doesn’t look as tightly woven and lists a little to one side, but that’s because we’re newbies to basket weaving. Next time, we need to make sure the plaits are even in length on all sides when we mark the base.


But it was a fun Sunday afternoon project and now Holly can have her old Virginia maps back if she wants. No fair Freecycling them again!

Posted by Leslie


  1. I’ve been saving up coffee bags (the heavy-duty ones like Misha’s and Peet’s) thinking they must have some use, and HERE IT IS! Thanks so much for this great idea and how to.

    • Let us know if you make anything with those bags — sounds like a great project!

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