Wire basket

§ April 20th, 2009 § Filed under Other crafts § 97 Comments

Yes, those two words do conjure up my near neurotic devotion to the HBO series, but this is not about my turning into a basket-case over the Wire. It’s about a craft that involves making shopping baskets out of plastic wires, something my aunt Madhavi mami has been doing for decades.


Madhavi mami has made hundreds of these, and gifted one to nearly everyone in our extended family on my mum’s side on some occasion or other; my parents have brought the veggies home from the market in the one she gave us, for twenty-three years. It was getting rather frayed at the handles of late, so she gave them another one. While I was visiting her some time back, she was making yet another, so I decided to capture the process in a photo-essay.

Kits for these baskets are available, in solid or multi-coloured packs, in that great mecca of crafts in Pune, Tulshibaug. I haven’t been able to trace how the wires themselves are made, or from what kind of plastic. The wires are flat, slightly curved, and are in long spools of 20-odd metres per colour. You start off by cutting off strips of equal length (there is some odd maths involved here about the ratio of the primary to secondary colour, one being slightly shorter than the other to ensure the rectangular shape of the basket).


Then you make the first knot of two tightly interlocked Zs, folding one wire into a Z, and then threading the other sideways into it. Once they are locked in the vice like grip, you have the basic unit of the basket.



This is not as easy as it seems, and the main problem is sorting out which wire goes where, and keeping the knots tight. It takes not so much physical strength as deft wristwork to get the knots to sit snugly, and takes a bit of practice. I tried a few after a very long time – my aunt taught me this basket making when I was a kid, and the bits I helped her make were very easy to spot in the finished basket: loose, half-hearted patches in the middle of the tight, determined weave. They weren’t much tighter this time round either, but I was certainly determined!


You then add knots in all four directions of this initial knot, making the central spine of the flat bottom of the basket. Once you have the length and breadth you want, you “turn” the knots upwards into a rectangular tube, and keep weaving till you have a basket deep enough. When done, you weave the wire ends inwards into the basket, leaving it with a sturdy edge.



Then you braid a nifty handle for it.


These bags were probably the height of fashion a long long time ago, and when I was in college it was simply not cool for a certain set, especially the urban elite in Pune and Bombay, to be seen grocery shopping in them. They are, I guess, the shopping basket equivalent of crocheted granny squares, and over the last couple of decades, it’s breathtaking how almost everyone has taken to the flimsier, disposable “carry-bags” as not only more convenient, but a consumer’s free right. In this utterly warped sensibility that views plastic bags as modernity and progress over cloth and straw, clogging our drains and brains alike, these baskets are quaintly unfashionable, stubbornly utilitarian, and odd: they too are plastic, but reusable and heavily durable. Does anybody who has seen these in Pune or elsewhere know whether they are, or can be made of some kind of recyclable plastic?


97 Responses to “Wire basket”

  • Aanchal Sodhani says:

    Thank you for this! My grandmom used to make these bags and after I trained in design and started working in Bangalore with industree crafts we redsigned and made woven bags in different styles and techniques for a long time. But I never knew this particular technique completely. And last month my nani passed away leaving a treasure of plastic wires. Thanks to your post iam exploring making these bags now – it is good to start me off! will let you know where iget.

  • manjiri says:

    fantastic. love to learn

  • geetanjali says:

    thankyou for reminding us of our school days, nowa days these hand woven bags have vanished. I would like to learn or atleast buy one . could u kindly give the details from where to get them or who can teach us to make the bags. i am in pune presently
    waiting eagerly for your reply
    with regards

  • Sujatha Koppisity says:

    Hello Madam

    Kindly pls explain me how to make this kind of bag.Please.I love to learn all these things.Kindly help me pls.
    Thank u

  • Sudha says:

    Can you tell how to turn corners and how to weave the handles?

  • u.m.sridevi says:

    pls tell me the wire lengths and how to make the dwn side and how to turn it please.

  • anu says:

    give the procedure for designfull handbags

  • chethana says:

    have been looking all over the web… so wanna make this… more pics or a video would be great!!!!!!

  • Sarah says:

    hi, i’ve made 2 of these baskets while living in bhutan. now that i am back in the US i can no longer find string suitable for making these. any idea where i can get it or order it online? thanks! sarah

  • arifa says:

    hi…i would like to know the different type of knots used in this wire basket weaving…

  • Sudha says:

    Thanks for the posting. My mother used to make this years ago and now wants to make one. She forgot the ratio of the length of wires to be taken. Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • nageena says:

    would like to be guided regarding measurements and also the handles pls mail me if possible .Thank you

  • mbb naidu says:

    may I know where can I get the wire and how much cost per one bundle

  • Malini says:

    Thank you for the post….I remember learning this from my mom as a little girl and she still has a couple that she made years ago. I have occasionally tried to find the wires here in the US without success….you get what is called lace wires which are very thin.

  • azhar says:

    These baskets are made by children with learning disabilities in a school in Dahanu Road, Maharashtra.
    Kindly contact 09273235969 or leave a text and they will get back to you.

  • Fanny says:

    Looking to manufacture this kind of bag (Plastic Wire Basket)
    If anyone is in this field or know someone, please contact me
    Fanny +91-9900003253 from Bangalore

  • Sudha says:

    I have run into a blind woman that weaves these baskets. Her daughter apparently helps her initially to coordinate the colors and she continues. Pretty amazing. If anyone is interested, please let me know. We are in Bangalore. These baskets are the “in thing” now, apaprently and can be used for different purposes – magazine/newspaper holders in the living room, laundry baskets etc. She said that she can custamize it – sizes/colors. Thanks – Sudha

  • Zia says:

    I have been searching online for this basket tutorial for years. So glad I finally found it!!. Do you have a video tutorial? If possible upload a video on how to make these. Thank you.

  • Zia says:

    Also, there are lot of other crafts make form this wire. Do you know any more?

  • Zia says:

    Hi, I have been looking everywhere for these baskets. Do you have a video tutorial on how to do these? Kindly reply. Thank you.

  • shaji says:


  • Archana says:

    Wonderful page.. I know the basics…. dou you have any other designs

  • bharathi says:

    What is the measurement of the wires to be cut and how does the base done

  • Nimala gladston says:

    I would like know how to make different type of knots in wire basket weaving

  • Nimala gladston says:

    I would like to learn different knots in wire basket making and also would like to know where can I buy the wire for the baskets. Just now finished making one small basket

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  • Gowri says:

    Hi, had been looking for this type of bag for my g.son to learn.how to turn the corner and sides?

  • bharathi says:

    Instead of 4 wire zig zag weave it 3of the corner wires to make a knot and withbthe main colourvwire weave till the desired size

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  • Ritu says:

    I was searching this for last so many days on web and finally found it today. to made me remember my childhood when my grannie taught me this. It’s been so many years and now I don’t remember the way I made it. Want to teach this to my daughter, please send me the method and proportion of wire.

  • narendra gangaram vakte says:

    I know this art making plastic cane wire bag. you can contact me on 9967250059 I live in mumbai,chembur

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  • Nithya says:

    i want a video showing the making of this wire basket.
    anybody plz redireect me to the site wher i can see the viseo.. :)

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  • jayalakshmi says:

    hi madam

    this is very intresting craft kindly explain the step how to make this i am very intresting to learn this.

    thanking you

  • sukeshini says:

    I want to learn that wire basket.
    Can you please mail me your address and the fee to learn it?

  • Hi

    I require 4 nos. of wire basket.

    pl reply how to get . I am staying in Mumbai,india


    Mrs. Puri
    A-32, Nibbana
    Pali HIll, Bandra West
    Mumbai -400050 Tel: 9820330085

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  • Nasreen says:

    Plz tell me the measurement of the wires to be cut and how does the base done and also the handles plz mail me if possible .Thank you

  • lakshmi keerthana says:

    please give deails of wires am very interested to do this type of baskets

  • lakshmi keerthana says:

    please give deails of wires am very interested to do this type of bags

  • Santosh says:

    I require wire basket . I am very much interested in this basket and i require two wire basket

    pl reply as soon as possible

  • Santosh says:

    Require two baskets Pl reply sending mail 3rd time. M-09820330085

  • Mangala says:

    Could you please give me the lengths of the wires required for a two coloured bag?
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  • Aggi says:

    Thanks for this but would like a video on step by step also need to know the length of the wires and how many you need. Also, do you know how and from where I can get these wires. I live in London. Thanks

  • smita says:

    please give detail procedure how to make the basket?length of the wire how to make handles? or where i can get it in mumbai.i need it. how much wire is required for it pl mail me

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