The Basics of Coil Basketry – Making a Coiled Coaster

In this step by step guide to make in your very own coil basket drinks coaster we will be exploring the basics of an age old craft which with a little practise can produce a multitude of different projects. The basic principle of coil basketry is a very simple one- one long fibre is wrapped around other fibres and stitched in place to create coils, which builds up in to the basket. The more coils the bigger the basket.In this project we don’t need to worry about building walls as we are in essence making a completely flat basket. So let get straight into it!!


1x Ball of garden twine – any string or thread can be used really but I have found that the thinner the string the neater the basket and the easier the stitching however I would avoid using actual cotton thread as this I too thin. You want a nice goldilocks medium; not too thin, not too thick, just right. The twine I have used in this blog is larger than I would usually use, to try and make the stitching clearer in the photos.

150cm Length of bramble – These are going to make up the actual coils of the basket. Traditionally grasses, rushes and reeds where used however you can use almost anything flexible enough. I have heard of bin bags and off cuts of rope being coiled into very smart functional baskets. I have chosen brambles as they are widely accessible for most people and large lengths can be collected in one go which means that one coaster only uses one bramble. If I had used grass I would constantly need to feed in new fibres.

Sharp Scissors or secateurs – Always useful for the odd bits of twine or bramble that need trimming.

1x sheet of tough leather – this is used for removing the thorns off of the brambles. Some low grit sand paper can be used also or the back of a knife.


The Process

Step 1

Find your local bramble patch.


When harvesting your bramble you want to be looking for a runner that is roughly the same thickness all the way along and roughly the thickness of a pencil. If the bramble is too thick I will just snap as you start to coil it around on its self you. You are looking for a nice uninterrupted section of bramble about 150cm-200cm in length.


Note – try to choose a runner with the least amount of side shoots as these are weak points and the bramble is likely to snap here as you start to coil it.

 Step 2

Clean your bramble.  Once you have obtained you bramble is to clean off all of the thorns and leaves. This is a very quick and easy process. Simply grasp the bramble firmly with the leather pad and run you hand up the bramble. It is better to do this slowly to minimise the chance of catching yourself on a thorn.


Step 3

Once you bramble is cleaned of all thorns you can start your coaster. Take your twine and begin to wrap tightly around the end of your bramble. Make sure you wraps are neat, and each wrap sits snuggly next to the previous one. Continue this for 8cm.


This starting process can sometimes be a little fiddly and you may need to tie the twine to the bramble to make this easier.

Step 4

Next is to bend the wrapped area in half like so.


 Then continue wrapping so you will end up with something like this below. This will be the centre of your coaster.


 Step 5 

These next few steps we are starting the first coil and the process used is pretty much the same for the entire coaster.  Continue binding along the bramble for a further 4-5 wraps like so.


Then fold this section down like so. You will need to hold this section against the centre as the next step is to stitch this in place.


Step 6

To stich this section in place you will need to pass the twine through the centre eyelet that you created at the start like so.


Make sure this stitch is pulled tight as this will lock that section in place. It should look like this below.


Step 7

Once you have done this the process starts again. 4 wraps then 1 stitch.  This is the process we will be using for the rest of the coaster.


Keep repeating …


Until you have completed one coil.


 Step 8

At this point you can continue with this process until you have a completed coaster. If you want to when you made the next coil you have a choice of different stitches to use. You can either keep stitching through the centre eyelet or you can stich through the gap between the previous two coils.

I chose to continue using the middle eyelet just for ease of demonstrating.


Note– if you chose to use continue stitching through the centre, like me,  the middle section of the coaster will be raised slightly and it may take some manipulating to get it to sit completely flat.

 Step 9


 Once you reach a stage where you coaster is getting to the size you want to finish off all you need to do is tie a simple over hand knot through the centre eyelet.  Now you can trim off any remaining twine or excess bramble.


Hey presto!! Your very own Coiled Drinks Coaster!

Joe Philbin

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