Friday, January 18, 2008
Woven Newspaper Vase
After I started forcing forsythia in a jar (see previous post), I decided I need something a more attractive container to put the jar in.
Because it didn't need to hold water, I thought about doing some kind of weaving with plastic bags. Even if I carry totes to the grocery store or ask for paper bags (I reuse them in book projects), I still find that plastic bags collect. And we subscribe to the New York Times (we haven't been able to give up on the pleasure of reading an actual newspaper) which is delivered in blue plastic bag. After I finished a half-gallon container of soy milk I had an inspiration. I covered the soy milk container with a page of the Times and used the blue plastic bags for the weaving. The vase took about 45 minutes to make and was done in three parts: preparing the soy milk container, preparing the bags for weaving, and the weaving.
To make your own, you'll need:
a paper milk carton (I used a half-gallon size)
a piece of newspaper
several plastic bags
PREPARING THE CONTAINER
Cut the top off the a paper milk carton.
Cut a piece of newspaper so that it will wrap around and cover the sides of the container with some extra at the top and bottom.
Put white glue on all the sides of the container and then smooth it with your finger so that you have an even coat of glue covering the container.
Wrap the container with the newspaper and smooth it down to help the glue adhere.
Put glue where needed on the newspaper to cover the bottom as you would wrap a package.
Put glue on the paper extending over the top and fold it down over the edges.
Cut down the side edges of the container so that you have a base and four separate sides.
Cut each side into strips. The total number of strips needs to be an odd number. I cut three sides into eight strips and one into nine. Since I didn't want to calculate or measure, I cut each side in half, then the half in half again to make quarters and the quarters in half to make eighths, and one quarter into thirds for the side with 9.
PREPARING THE PLASTIC BAGS
Cut several bags into strips about 1-inch wide horizontally across the bag. You will have a series of large loops.
Put one loop inside of another.
Pull the top of the inserted loop around the first loop and into itself.
Pull evenly to make it tight.
Continue attaching to loops to make a plastic thread for weaving.
Loop one end of the plastic thread around one of the corner strips at the bottom.
The plastic bag thread around the container strips is woven in an over/under pattern. When you looped the bag end over the first strip, you create an over. You'll go under the second strip with both layers of the plastic bag and continue on.
Continue weaving until the vase is complete. It's helpful to push down the plastic thread occasional to keep the weaving fairly tight. Attach additional loops to the plastic bag thread if you need to. You'll find you get into a rhythm as you go but I found I needed to pay attention as I sometimes went over a strip I should have gone under or vice versa. When I was finished weaving, I opened the loop so I had two separate pieces and tied them together on the inside of the vase.