How about learning how to make a natural heirloom for a special occasion? Wicker baby cradle

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Posted Nov 30 2015 by Mel Bastier of Out to Learn Willow

We have plenty of basketmaking courses where you can learn to make useful and beautiful things out of wicker. You’ll need a bit of practice before you can make something like this, but who knows, if you get to this level, you can maybe think about making a career out of it. Who wouldn’t rather have something like this for a new baby, than something anonymous bought from a corporate mother & baby store? Not only is it unique, it is completely natural, with no toxic glues or paint – not particularly good things to have close to a new baby. So not only does it have ecological, health and aesthetic benefits, it’s an enormously satisfying project, ending up with something that can be handed down through the family for future generations.

Over to Mel:


In September, Mary, one of our lovely basket makers, came to us for a little bit of guidance on making a willow cradle for her son’s friend.

Armed with a mattress, a set of white (handled with extreme care) fitted inserts, a stand for the cradle to sit on and a printed picture of what the cradle looked like we set to work. Size was quite important so we measured carefully with measuring tape, wrote everything down on paper and crossed fingers. Mary set to work on the base while I was very happy being her basket making apprentice sorting willow, making tea, wiping her brow while she wove away. Day one and the base was finished, “I never thought it would take that long!” said Mary, I nodded sagely.

Day two was German waling, pricking up and weaving away. We had to tie the uprights straight away to get the rounded front and back to come into shape. Crunch time came when we remembered to test out the mattress, inserts and put the halfway cradle onto the stand. Holding breath for what seemed an eternity we both let out a sigh of relief when it all fitted beautifully.

Day three, more weaving, waling, packing, border and brow wiping. The cradle started to take shape nicely and Mary worked very hard with barely a whimper. After a good dunking in the bath it was finally time for the border. The end result was so fantastic and a real heirloom. Well done Mary!

Here are the stages in making the cradle.