BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form

Students use rolled newspaper rods to create a sturdy basket and decorate it with acrylic paint and glitter glue.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts



Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Crayola Paint Brushes - 5 Count Crayola Glitter Glue Newspapers Cereal Boxes Pencils Clothes Pins Water Containers Paper Towels

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BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step One

Step One

  1. Cut 11 pieces of newspaper 13 cm x 27 cm.  
  2. Place 1 piece of the newspaper flat on your desk and at a 45 degree angle to the edge of your desk.
  3. Place a pencil on one corner of the paper so that it is parallel to the edge of your desk.
  4. Slowly begin to roll the paper around the pencil keeping it fairly tight.


BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Two

Step Two

  1. When you are almost at the end put a small amount of glue on the corner of the paper, then finish rolling the paper.
  2. Press the glued tip against the rolled paper to hold it in place.
  3. Remove the pencil and you have made a paper rod.
  4. Make 11 rods.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use a tracer to draw 2 circles with a diameter of about 9 - 11 cm on the cereal box cardboard.
  2. Cut them out.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Arrange the 11 newspaper rods on one of the circles, radiating out from the centre and evenly spaced. 
  2. Glue them in place.
  3. These are the warp rods.
  4. Put lots of glue on top of the rods and cardboard.


BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place the other cardboard circle on top.
  2. Make sure to line the 2 circles up carefully.
  3. Squeeze them together and clamp them in place with clothespins.
  4. Set this base aside to dry.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Six

Step Six

  1. While the base is drying cut 12 pieces of newspaper 13 cm x 34 cm.
  2. Use the paper to roll 12 rods.
  3. These will be your weft rods.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Fold the warp rods up at right angles to the base.
  2. Put a small amount of glue on the end of a weft rod.
  3. Use a clothespin to fasten it to a warp rod close to the cardboard.
  4. Weave it over and under the warp rods until you get to the end.
  5. Gently push the weft rod down evenly along the bottom of the base.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. When you get to the end of a weft rod add another rod to it.
  2. Put a small amount of glue in the end of the rod.
  3. Gently insert a new rod.
  4. Pinch them together and keep on weaving.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Glue the end of the last rod to the warp rod.
  2. Hold it in place with a clothespin.
  3. Cut the ends of the warp rods so they are all the same length – about 6 cm above the weaving.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Bend the ends of the warp rods and tuck them between the weft rods.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Examine your basket from all directions.
  2. Make sure it is nicely rounded and that the weft rods are snug against each other.
BASKET WEAVING – Colour, Pattern, Form - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

  1. Paint the basket and decorate it with glitter glue and/or other embellishments.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a woven basket with an accurately repeated pattern rule;
  • mix a tertiary colour of paint and use it on their basket;
  • accurately repeat a pattern rule to decorate their basket;
  • explain pattern rules in their own and others' baskets; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • work with a partner to research basket weaving in a specific culture; 
  • create a visual presentation of their findings;
  • share their presentations with the class;
  • compare the way baskets have been made over the centuries, and how people have used them;
  • work in small groups to create a class video to teach others about basket weaving.


  1. Download and display the Colour, Shape and Pattern Posters available on this website.
  2. Prepare a partially completed sample to use for a demonstration.
  3. Download images of baskets from the Internet, for example,
    New Zealand


  1. View and discuss some images of baskets, drawing attention to how they are similar and how they are different. 
  2. Ask students where they have seen baskets, and what they know about them.
  3. Share some information about the history of basket making, for example,
    - all ancient civilizations made baskets
    - baskets were used as molds for some of the earliest clay pots
    - indigenous peoples of North America made basket-molded pottery from 5000 to 1000 B.C.
    - baskets are very popular in present day and are mass produced, but made by hand not machines
    - many people like to decorate their homes with baskets

    - some people collect baskets based on when they were made, or by which culture (for example Haida, Tlingit and Shaker baskets)
  4. Use 2 colours of strips of paper to demonstrate the terms weft – the horizontal threads that move over and under the warp in a weaving, and warp – the fixed threads that run up and down in a weaving.
  5. Notice the number pattern that is used in most of the baskets – under 1 - over 1, and discuss why this might be so.
  6. Show students your sample and ask them to identify the warp rods, weft rods, and number pattern.
  7. Introduce the challenge. 


The Challenge

  1. Create a woven basket with an accurately repeated pattern rule.
  2. Mix a tertiary colour of paint and use it on your basket.
  3. Accurately repeat a pattern rule to decorate your basket.
  4. Explain pattern rules in your own and others' baskets.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I:
    - roll newspaper rods that are tight and of similar thickness
    - accurately repeat number pattern rules
    - weave the weft rods so they are snug and tight
    - use a tertiary colour to paint the basket
    - decorate the basket with a number pattern embellishment
    - use a small amount of glue 
    - create a basket that is sturdy and in good condition
  3. Demonstrate the process as you guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan. 
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all baskets are complete place students in partners or small groups. Ask them to:
    - Look closely at each basket and observe how they are the same and how they are different.
    ​- Share thoughts about the baskets and how they might be useful.
    - Identify and describe the patterns in the weavings.

    Talk about what was difficult about making the basket and explain why.
    - Tell what was satisfying about making the basket and explain why. 
  2. Ask some students to share their baskets and ideas with the whole class.
  3. Display the baskets so students can view them as a body of work throughout the next few weeks.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their baskets – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the basket, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - Basket_tracking.pdf).
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - Basket_self-assessment.pdf or BasketPrimary_self-assessment.pdf)