DIY Wire Basket for Fall
Long baskets are very hard to find, I did find a pricey one online but as usual, my tastes cost more than my budget allows. During the search, I learned that this style of DIY wire basket is called a clam basket or vegetable hog.
This DIY wire basket is very practical for gardeners as well, but for this year at least mine was made to hold birch branches on our too narrow fireplace hearth.
You can easily adjust the size of your basket, by changing the cut out of the end pieces and the distance between the ends. This one needed to be narrow to accommodate the moulding on the fireplace.
To make your own crab basket you will need:
1 by 6″ lumber or a small piece of 3/4 plywood for the two ends
2- 3-foot lengths of dowel
1″ by 2″ lumber 3 feet long
120 grit sandpaper
Paint or stain
Wood glue and 2 screws
Small rope for the handle
Make the Ends of the Wire Basket
Cut out two pieces of wood, one for each end using a jigsaw. You can draw a template to the size you want then trace and cut out the wood. Use the first piece as a template for the second piece to make sure they are identical.
Once they are cut drill two holes one in each top corner of the ends and one in the center. To make sure the holes align and don’t twist the doweling. Drill the holes in the first end piece. Align and clamp the drilled piece on top of the second wood piece and using the top piece as your guide drill a hole through the bottom piece.
Build the Basket
Cut the dowels to the length you like, this one is cut at 32″. Glue and then insert the dowels inside the holes in the end pieces. Make sure that the ends are fitting squarely.
To make the basket sturdy enough to hold wood and stand up nicely, we added a cross piece along the bottom using 1″ by 2″ lumber. Measure the distance between the two ends (30.5″) and cut the 1″ by 2″ lumber to fit. Insert the lumber between the two ends and attach with screws.
Fill in the holes with wood filler and sand the basket frame smooth. Paint or stain as you like. This basket was given two coats of white pickling stain.
Adding the Wire
Cut your hardware cloth four or five inches wider than you need. (35″ by 24″) . Cut the wire larger than necessary so you have extra length to bend and adjust and bend and fit the hardware cloth inside the frame. After the first cut, snip any little edges with wire cutters. You may want to use gloves, I got scratches without them.
Using a straight edge fold your wire over squarely. Using a straight edge like a carpenters square or even leftover 1 by 2 lumber, fold the wire over the straight edge. Then crimp by hand.
Place the hardware cloth inside the wooden frame. Tie one edge to the doweling using small wire, then fit the rest of the wire into the frame,
Once the wire is shaped, tie the second side to the doweling, and attach with small wire. Tuck the ends of the wire against the two ends as neatly as possible. Be patient, but in the end, no one will see the folds. Staple the wire into place with the staple gun.
Add the Macrame
The macrame is done using only repetitive square knots. It’s easy to do, but you can use a simple rope handle and wire on the dowels if you prefer. You can tell in the above picture that the doweling look alright with the little wires symmetrically attached along its length. I just chose to do the macrame to make it prettier and it very much depends on your final choice for the basket.
Cut four lengths of macrame cord 12 feet long. Thread the four lengths through the center drilled hole. Tie a knot and then a pretty bow on the outside of the basket.
Tie square knots along the length of the cords until the handle is as long as you like.
How to Tie a Macrame Square Knot
Feed the other ends through the other end and tie. Trim off the ends.
Covering the dowels. I started with the handle for the readers who may be doing macrame for the first time so they have practice before doing the dowels.
This step is easy but requires patience. Cut two lengths of the cord 9 feet long.
Thread one piece of cord through the hardware cloth and tie a knot and bow. The dowel will act like the two center cords and you work the other two cords around the dowel doing square knots. When you pass the cord underneath the doweling thread it through the hardware cloth. (Step 4 in the above picture) Complete the square knots until the other end and the dowel is covered. Repeat on the other side.
Once done I turned the top of the square knots to the inside.
This DIY wire basket looks more complicated than it is to make. I love how it turned out, it’s white and frankly nicer than the $100 version I saw online. It is my hope that I broke the tutorial down into manageable steps without overwhelming you on the length of the tutorial.
Working with the hardware cloth is strangely fun. Before we made the clam basket, I made various storage baskets with the hardware cloth. You can make them in any size and purpose. I really enjoy being able to create as many baskets as I like that all match.