Paper baskets

Some volunteers in Nepal want to share their new experience with all of us…


Last week we all learned how to make basket out of old newspapers and magazine papers. I and my friend reached a bit late so we had to catch up with others. It was my 1st experience on making anything out of old papers though I did use old magazines in schools to make collages, but that’s completely a different thing than what we did.

When we reached, others were almost going to complete their base of the basket. We used hard cardboards to make the base and magazine papers to make the stand for the basket. I took a small cut of the cardboard and started to stick the spooks made of magazine papers to my cutting of the cardboard. Since I was new to this and had not heard the instruction properly because of being late, my base wasn’t as good and the spacing between my spooks were big which turned out not to be that good. Others who had completed the base waited for us to complete the base so that the next step could be done together. After everyone completed the base of the baskets, we took a lunch break.

After the lunch break, we all again settled to work on the baskets again. Miss Sagarika, who had the experience of making such baskets, taught to do the next step where we used old newspapers spooks to make the rest of the body of the baskets. We started with a single spook of newspaper and began our work from one of the corner. All we had to do was to turn the newspaper spook accordingly back and forth against the magazine spooks, but as simple as it sounds it was equally complicated for me. We had to keep no spaces or less space between the layers of the newspaper spooks to make it look good and bring it in shape. As I continued with the spooks my spaces started increasing and my basket looked more like a dysfunctional shoe. It had already been 4 pm so I stopped my work and went back home. After a while others also went home to continue the work on the next day.

The next day we all arrived at the office. I decided to open up all my work and begin from the beginning and do it properly so that it turns out good. Some of my friends restarted again. On the second try my basket turned a bit better and looked like a basket. Everyone’s baskets looked like baskets on that day. Then Miss Sagarika taught us how to end the basket with the spooks so that we could see the final products. Everyone’s basket turned out to look very good. We all were satisfied with our works. After everything was done including cleaning up the table a bit, we took pictures of our baskets and ended our work. I personally was very happy with my basket making since it was my 1st time and I am very bad at these handmade stuffs. After that we all ended the day there and went back to our homes. I leaned a new thing and will definitely try it more on my own so that I can show if off to my other friends and also teach them if they are interested.


Recipe for a Paper Basket

If you’re anything like me, I bet you too have a stack of old newspapers or magazines lying somewhere in the back of some closet, collecting dust and taking up space. Well, breath easy, I’m here to help you clear up that clutter, and do it in an eco-friendly way to boot.

We all know the theory, we’ve read the articles, listened to the lectures, watched the documentaries, but how many of us actually practice waste management in our homes? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Which is a shame really, because so much stuff we throw away without a second thought could be put to better use. The endless stream of paper, cardboard and plastic bags that find their way into our homes can be used to make almost anything, from jewelry to gift bags to all manner of baskets, even slippers and rugs. All it takes is a bit of patience and creativity, and a good tutorial of course *wink wink, nudge nudge*.

And because I’m currently taking part in a project that deals with exactly these kind of issues, I’ve decided to share what I learn with the world (that’s you guys). The following “recipe” is basically what I learned during the paper reuse workshop that is part of this project. By the way, it was one of the most fun workshops I’ve attended, so definitely get a bunch of your friends together when you try it out yourself. It will be a blast!

Prep time: 30 minutes

Work time: 2 – 3 hours


  • Old newspapers
  • Metal skewer (a knitting needle is also good, just not one of the thick ones, you want your spokes to be as thin as possible)
  • Scissors or a knife
  • Craft glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Bowl (about the same size you want your basket to be)
  • Paint (we used water based, but you can use other types too)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Colour palette for mixing colours (you can also use a plastic plate, if you don’t have one handy)

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary supplies, the first step is to make the spokes. For this you will use the metal skewer, the glue, the scissors and the old newspapers.

Take 2 newspaper sheets, fold them in half length-wise, and cut. Do this again with the resulting strips. Take another 2 newspaper sheets and repeat the entire process a few more times to make sure you have enough for all the spokes you need to make. Don’t worry if you have leftover ones, you can always use them in another project. Trust me, there will be other projects. Once you see how easy it is and how cute the results, you’ll never want to stop.

Now, to make the spokes, take a strip, and holding your skewer at an acute angle, start rolling the strip from the top left corner. Make the spoke as thin and long as you can. This will take some practice, but you will figure it out fast. Once you are satisfied with your spoke, secure the end with some glue, and start another. You will notice they have a slight conical shape. They are supposed to. It will be useful later.

There are many techniques you can use to make the base of your basket, but we’ll discuss those some other time. For this “recipe” I wanted to show you how to make your basket top to bottom, or bottom to top as it were, only using newspaper.

Place 4 spokes vertically on your workspace, then take 2 more spokes and interweave them horizontally under 2 of the vertical spokes. Take another 2 and interweave them over the same 2 vertical spokes.

Next take another spoke and bend it at the middle, on the left of a spoke. I will reference to this one as a weaver, since that’s what you do with it, and also for clarity’s sake. As you go about weaving your basket you will find that these weavers run out. Not a problem, just add another spoke at the end. This is where that slightly conical shape comes in handy.

So after bending the weaver at the middle, you will have two weavers on the right side of the spokes. Weave one weaver over the next 2 spokes, and the other under the same 2 spokes, then gather them on the right side. Bring the bottom weaver up over the next 2 spokes and the top one under them. Keep doing this until you have 2 rows. On the third row, fan the spokes out and start weaving around each one individually. Do this until you reach the size you want for your base. Remember to keep each twist going in the same direction and to weave them tightly.

To start weaving the sides take the bowl (remember the bowl? Yeah, I forgot about it too. Had to run to the kitchen). Place the bowl in the center of your base. Don’t worry if it’s not a perfect fit, we’re not in the business of mathematical precision here. Bring up the spokes over the rim of the bowl, and tape them lightly – they should stay in place, but you don’t want them to rip when you remove the tape.

Now continue weaving in the same way until you reach the height you want for your basket. To finish it, weave each spoke under the closest spoke, then over the next one, and bend it inside the basket. Continue until the last two spokes, which you tuck through the loop made by the first spoke. It’s a bit convoluted, but it will make sense when you do it. Then you just have to cut the ends of the spokes and coated the edge with a good layer of craft glue.

Your basket is technically ready now, so you can stop here and start painting, or, you can make it even more adorable by adding a handle. To do this you take 2 spokes and insert each one in between two rows of the basket. Do this at least 3 or 4 rows down from the top, and leave a bit of space between them. Bend these spokes at the middle and then do the same with 2 other spokes on the opposite side of the basket. Using the same technique, you weave weavers around the four spokes on each side.

Once you reach your desired height, bend them towards each other. Then take another spoke and starting from the middle, twist it around the ends until you reach the woven part. Twist a bit over that too, unless you want a square-ish shape to your handle, and tuck the ends in one of the loops. Cut the excess and coat them with some craft glue. Now your super cute and eco-friendly basket is almost done.

All that’s left to do is paint it. This is where you can really flex your creative muscles. I’ll leave the colour combinations and patterns up to you, and just offer some tips.

I strongly suggest you use water based paint, it’s all-round easier – to come by, to use, to clean. But if you want your basket to be a bit water-resistant you can use oil-based paint. Don’t expect it to be waterproof, do expect it to be stiffer. Also do expect stains to not come out in the wash.

As far as mixing colours go, I usually make my colours lighter by adding some white. I don’t like to use black to make them darker, although you certainly can – use very, very little though, or you will end up with just black. Another way you can darken colors is by adding a bit of the complementary color (blue/orange, red/green, yellow/purple). Make sure to mix a bit of the craft glue with the paint. It will hardener the newspaper a bit, making for a sturdier basket.

After you finished painting, leave the basket to dry for about an hour or two. Water based paint dries quite fast, if you used an oil based one, leave it until the next day to be sure.

And voilá, you’ve made yourself a great basket, spent no money doing it, and have started your own journey towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

I hope this was helpful, and if you guys do end up making your own, leave pictures in the comments. I want to see!


No doubt

Every moment of our life is an experience. We gain meaning by experiencing and recognizing experiences. Sure, it’s important to be here by yourself. We walk on a vast road learning, reading, wasting labor. What we do is making life meaningful. And we realize our experience.
To notice…We usually live without realizing what we do. We can live by being aware, by seeing the beauties offered to us.
I am very concentrated in these feelings. I thought a lot about these concepts. The story of putting them in practice is not far away. Time and information is always with us.
The newspapers.. The ear can come simple. In daily life we see lots of rubbish on the roadside. We use them in our table. We use it to read, of course. I can duplicate the examples.
For all of us, newspapers are used for certain things. That’s what I thought until last week. Like the examples I gave above. But one look, we have done 5 different things with the newspapers for two weeks. In the name of the strength of the newspapers. ☺ Spectacular. Spectacular, because the things we do are things we use all the time in our daily lives. We buy in general. But, We can make a basket for vegetables in the kitchen. We can make a small basket for our sugars. Fancy, colorful… We can make a bag for books.etc. It’s great to be able to do and experience it. I started doing here in Nepal. First for me, then for the world. Yes, the world will start to change when it starts from ourselves.
My experience with newspapers is that I know of a new way of escape from the system I rejected. Yes, the system pushes you back, your mind, your productivity. Materialize everything. With these little things we do with newspapers, we are stopping the world we are actually polluting.My feelings and my experiences in this direction.
If we like nature, yourself, life. We can believe that things we use will bring us new things again.
Most things can be done and changed in life. Love to the newspaper pages waiting to be discovered. ☺