Brenda Ponnay, author of the Secret Agent Josephine blog, is a regular contributor to The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Her craft blogs are kid and family friendly; each project will help children learn the deeper meaning of the Jewish holidays. Today’s craft: Homemade Woven Baskets – Mishloach Manot for Purim
Purim is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start making Purim baskets – otherwise known as Mishloach Manot! Instead of rushing out to the local craft store for pre-made baskets, why not create homemade baskets with your kids?
These simple woven paper baskets are fun to make and give. They’re made from construction paper, and they’re super easy to put together!
Here is what you will need:
• 1 sheets of construction paper cut to 12×12 inches in size, which will create the main body of your basket.
• 1-2 sheets of construction paper in a contrasting color, which you will use to cut strips.
• clothes pins and white glue, or a stapler (not shown)
• a pencil
• a ruler
• scissors or a paper cutter (not shown)
• Treat bags, 4” wide (optional)
First, you’ll need to measure out the bottom of your paper basket. Use a ruler to measure a 4×4 inch square in the center of your main 12×12 inch square sheet of paper.
The easiest way to do this is to make two hatch marks along each edge of the square of paper. Use a ruler to place the hatch marks at the 4-inch and 8-inch mark. When you’re finished, you’ll have two hatch marks on each edge of the square, evenly spaced (8 hatch marks total). This is a fun way to get early learners to use a ruler, and learning a little bit about math in the process!
Use the ruler and a pencil to create straight lines, connecting each hatch mark to the hatch mark directly opposite on the other side of the paper. This will create a grid (just like tic tac toe!). You will have four lines and nine boxes.
Now it’s time to cut!
On each corner of the paper, there will be a box. Cut out the corner boxes to create a plus sign, like so:
Fold the plus sign along the remaining lines, to create walls around the center square. Next, you will cut flaps into each side of the plus sign.
If you want to keep your basket really simple, cut three strips on each side. Do this by cutting two lines at equa-distant cuts, stopping at the edge of the square in the center. We’ll call these strips “flaps.” If you’re cutting three flaps, as shown here, each flap will measure out to 1.33 inches wide. You can eyeball these first cuts.
If you want to create a more intricate basket, feel free to cut more flaps. In this picture I cut four flaps, but you could cut even more depending on your weaving abilities. No matter how many flaps you cut, you should measure the width of the resulting flaps so you have a rough idea of how wide they are.
Next, you’ll need to cut lines in a different color to weave in between the basket flaps. We’ll call these lines “strips.” To make strips, take the contrasting color of paper you set aside in the beginning of the craft, and cut strips from it. The strips need to be the same width as your flaps (if your flaps are 1.33 inches wide, each strip should be 1.33 inches wide). The strips should be at least 16 1/2 inches long. If your construction paper is not that long, glue or staple two strips together to get the length you need.
If you are using glue to make longer strips, use a clothes pin to hold the pieces together until they dry. If you’re stapling, no need to wait, you can proceed. Once the glue is dry, fold your strips in 4-inch segments. This will help you later when you are fitting your paper strips into the corners of your basket. You’ll need at least two long strips, and more if you decided to make narrower flaps on the body of your basket.
Once your strips are prepared, you are ready weave! You always knew that “underwater basket weaving” elective you took in college would come in handy!
You can just dive in and start weaving from the middle of the basket, OR you can to make things a little easier by stapling the beginning of your strip to your first flap. If you don’t like the look of the staples, you can use glue and clothespins to hold things tight. The latter will just take a little more patience. But don’t worry, you can do this!
Once you have your strips woven around the basket, you can fold the excess flaps at the top of the basket over and staple or glue them down. This will create a rim on the edge of the basket. If you fold all of those flap “tails” inwards towards the center of the basket, your checkerboard weave pattern will stay visible on the outside.
Here is an example of a more complicated three-strip basket:
You can hold the edges down with glue and clothespins if you don’t want to use staples. It just takes a little longer for the glue to dry.
If you would like to add a handle to the basket, cut a long strip and attach it to two opposite walls of the basket.
Now for the fun part! Filling the paper baskets! If you used glue, make sure that everything is dry before proceeding. Obviously these are paper baskets, so keep the contents light. Put in some pretty tissue and whatever you would like to give. Nuts, candy, hamenstachen, toys, noisemakers… there are all kinds of cute things you can put in a Mishloach Manot! Treats are always appreciated, but I like to mix it up with some healthier options too, like dried fruits and nuts.
We created some pretty printable bag toppers, which you can use if you want to package up your own treats.
Just cut them out, fold them over, and staple them to a 4-inch wide treat bag. You can find treat bags at your local craft store.
Package everything up, and you’re ready to give! This adorable woven basket is so special because it’s homemade, from the heart. Chag Purim Sameach!