Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Heart & Hand: Woven Heart Basket

Paper craft is traditional to the Pennsylvania-German Mennonite culture celebrated at the Joseph Schneider Haus. 

Fraktur, or decorative calligraphy and Scherenschnitte, elaborate paper cutting, was used to decorate birth certificates, marriage licenses and for making Liebesbrief or love letters.  

Pictured above is Daniel Horst's birth record dated 1876. It's carefully decorated by Waterloo County fraktur artist Joseph D. Bauman. Pictured right is an example of traditional Scherenschnitte. 

Feeling crafty? Try some traditional paper craft! You can make this handy little woven paper basket at home.


1. Cut two rectangles of paper in contrasting colours. The length of each should be approximately 3 times the width. This basket was made using strips 3.5" x 10". 
For a smaller basket try 2" x 6".

2. Fold each rectangle in half by matching the shorter edges.

3. Trim the matched open ends of each rectangle into a semi-circular curve.

4. Starting at the folded edge of each paper, cut several equally spaced slits to a depth slightly longer than the width of the paper. These slits are 1/2" wide and 3 3/4" long.

5. To weave the first row, slip slit 1 into slit A, slit A into slit 2, slit 3 into slit A, etc. Continuing to alternate the slits so that the woven pattern appears on both sides of the paper.

6. To weave the second row, slip slit B into slit 1, slit 2 into slit B, slit B into slit 3, continuing as above. 

7. To weave row C, E and G follow the same weaving pattern as for row A.

8. To weave row E and F follow the same weaving patter as for B. 

9. Adjust the strips until they fit neatly, forming a heart of interlocking colours. 

10. You can add a paper handle and turn your paper heart into a basket!

Adapted from Phyllis Fiarotta's "Nostalgia Crafts Books" published by Workman Publishing Company in New York City, 1974.

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