When Thanksgiving rolls around and the harvest bounty is on our minds, baskets make a particularly lovely motif for the table. Gather a few and use our easy, inexpensive craft ideas to weave them into your holiday decor.
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Baskets’ natural materials bring a rich palette and subtle texture to any setting, and their familiar shapes have a rustic charm—and, of course, an innate utility.
Martha’s “basket house”—a small outbuilding on her farm—holds her collection. Favorite examples include the large, shallow Nantucket-style tray in front, by Michael Kane; and the Maine “packbasket” by the window, by basketmaker Stephen Zeh.
Photography: Linda Pugliese2 of 7
Make It Mini
Dainty baskets—these are for dollhouses!—add a whimsical touch to the table. For each place card, cinch a napkin with waxed cord and tie the ends around the basket’s handle. Tuck a name tag inside. For salt and pepper cellars, snip off the handles, spray-paint the baskets, and line them with miniature baking cups.
Miniature basket two-pack, 2" (cellars), and miniature basket hat & fan value pack (napkin), consumercrafts.com.
Unbleached cupcake baking cups, papermart.com.
Festival dinner napkin, in Mustard, sferra.com.
Dune ceramic salad and dinner plates, by Atelier Tete, in Beige-Rose, nulinedistribution.com.
Marta double old-fashioned glass, in Smoke, cb2.com.
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Fruit to Nuts
A centerpiece that’s stylish, simple, and affordable? Check, check, and check. These baskets, filled with apples, pears, and walnuts, are reminiscent of an abundant cornucopia. You can use several to create a display that runs down the length of the table. The baskets holding fruit have been in Martha’s family for years; they were used as Easter baskets when she was young.
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Turn a hanging grapevine basket into a vase for an arrangement of golden dahlias that will never wilt. The wooden blooms are painted and glued, along with pinecones and pods, to dried twigs gathered from the yard.
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Create a decorative accent such as this one, second from right, with the natural beauty of a basket—no weaving required. Just choose a shapely vase (we started with a glass jug) and wrap it in braided seagrass. The tall vintage basket in back, one of Martha’s, was likely woven by a Native American Wabanaki basketmaker in Maine.
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Candlelight flickers through the loose weave of these hurricane lanterns. They’re made from place mats that we simply rolled into tubes and stitched along the seams, then positioned over pillar candles (in tall glass holders, for safety).
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Turn the traditional purpose of a basket on its head by using it to create a footed dessert dish: Snip off the basket’s handle, invert the basket, and add a plate. (Stick it on with removable putty.) We also wrapped the handle of a pitcher with seagrass trim for a subtle basket-like accent. Attach the end of the trim with hot glue to the base of the handle, wind it all the way around to the top, then glue the trim to secure.
Small rattan basket planter, shopterrain.com.
Collectors Hold! The Museum Putty, by Ready America, homedepot.com.
Braided seagrass, by Suzanne Moore’s, ⅜", ncbasketworks.com.
Dual-temperature glue gun, by Martha Stewart Crafts, michaels.com.