As many of you know, I have a thing for collecting vintage items. One of my favorite things to find are very old children’s activity magazines from the early 1900′s. Child Life and Junior Home are the two that I most frequently can find – and they are just full of amazing projects, gorgeous illustrations, and many crafts. It is really interesting to see what was considered age appropriate at the time, because both magazines frequently offer woodworking projects that require kids under the age of ten to use saws, hammers, and other tools that I’m not so sure we’d be comfortable with today.
Today’s project idea comes from a paper basket craft from one of these magazines, though I’ve changed and adapted it to make it easier to create. Back then most magazines (not just those for kids) offered very general templates and even more vague directions, because so many daily items were handmade in those days. So, this project originated as a tiny 1 inch diagram with a paragraph of instructions – I’ve redrawn the template, included some fun retro Easter character art, and created a printable project that you can download for free and use as much as you want! And I’ve also included…. real instructions! Fancy that!!
First, cut out the two sides of the parasol basket along the outside black line:
Next, I highly recommend scoring your folds before folding, because you want your folds to be as precise and crisp as possible. You can do this with a bone folder, by simply taking a ruler and tracing the fold lines (which are included a diagram on the printable). If you don’t have a bone folder, simply use anything with a dull-ish point that won’t leave a mark – I used the point of a knitting needle, and have used the dull side of a butter knife in the past.
Next you’ll need to punch holes on on either side of each fold – you can see them in this next photograph, which also shows how to glue the two sides together with the flap on the back, which will eventually be on the inside of the basket:
While the glue is drying, take your wooden skewer and wrap it with ribbon. I tacked the ends in place with a glue gun, but regular glue will also work if you can hold the ends in place until they dry. Do the next step before you insert the skewer handle into the paper parasol as shown in the last photo below. You’ll need to wrap that extra ribbon on the bottom after you insert it into the parasol.
This is actually the trickiest part – the folds on the parasol naturally want to reverse themselves and zig zag, but you obviously want all the folds pointing towards the inside of the basket. Feed the ribbon through the punched holes, and gently pull it into a smaller circle, which will hold the parasol in it’s shape. This might require the help of an adult if younger children are working on it, and it is especially important to NOT use silky ribbon here, because it simply won’t hold the paper, and it will slide everywhere, and you will want to throw it away thinking it is all messed up: ask me how I know this!! *smile* The grosgrain ribbon has just enough texture to hold the paper in shape while you try to wrangle the folds into place.
Once the ribbon is in place and folding is complete, insert the ribbon-wrapped skewer into the center of the parasol – you can see in the photo above that I’ve wrapped extra ribbon at the bottom of the skewer to help hold it in place. I also tacked it on the inside with some additional hot glue.
At this point, your basket can be complete! But if you want to hang it, simply hot glue a loop of ribbon to the top. You can stuff the basket with grass and goodies, but remember that it is made of paper and won’t hold anything too heavy. Peeps are perfect!