How to Make Grapevine Furniture & Baskets

Overview

Value added agriculture is a way of producing and marketing traditional agricultural products that brings in added revenue or increases the intrinsic value of the products, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. One example of this is to create handcrafts such as grapevine baskets and furniture. The raw material for these crafts comes from grapevines that are pruned to increase the plant's vigor. Young vines that are round and woody are a good material for weaving wicker-style baskets. Older vines that are between 4 and 6 inches thick are sturdy enough to create table legs.

Grapevine Baskets

Step 1

Soak woody grapevines in a bathtub or stock tank filled with cold water for at least 45 minutes to make them more flexible. This will make weaving the grapevines easier to accomplish.

Step 2

Cut three woody grapevines of equal thickness into lengths of at least 3 feet. These will form the rods that are the framework of your basket. Ideal rod thickness is between 1/2 and 1 inch thick.

Step 3

Tie the three grapevine rods into a crisscrossing star or asterisk shape at their very center with a piece of grapevine tendril or twine. This will form the bottom of your basket. If you use twine, you can remove it once the weave of the basket holds the rods in place.

Step 4

Form the bottom of your basket by weaving a piece of grapevine that is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick in a spiral around the rays of the star made by your rods. Tuck the end into the center of the asterisk, then begin to weave by pulling the vine over and under the rays of the asterisk. Keep the weave loose to avoid warping your basket and shove each spiral loop up against the previous loop to prevent gaps.

Step 5

Soak the basket bottom to ensure that the rods stay flexible.

Step 6

Bend the rods upward to give the basket a container shape. You can add the rim to the basket now to help it keep its shape by weaving another grapevine in and out around the rods about 1 inch away from the point where they are cut.

Step 7

Weave the sides of the basket by tucking the end of a grapevine into the weave at the bottom of the basket. Pull the grapevine over and under the rods of the basket to weave them into a spiral around the basket. As your spiral progresses, the sides of the basket will climb higher.

Step 8

Shovel each spiral down the length of the rods until it is flush with the previous turn of the spiral. Continue to keep your weaving loose to avoid warping the basket.

Step 9

When your grapevine weaving reaches the rim of the basket, cut the grapevine and tuck the shortened end into the basket's rim. Cut the basket rays so that they are flush with the basket rim.

Grapevine Table

Step 1

Saw 4- to 6-inch diameter woody grapevines into equal lengths.

Step 2

Nail these grapevines together to form a pedestal for a table. You can create one large pillar by nailing grapevines into a bundle, or nail them so that they meet at a point to form a tripod.

Step 3

Saw the tops and bottoms of the grapevines so that they form a stable base.

Step 4

Place a glass tabletop onto your grapevine pedestal.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Stock tank
  • Grapevine
  • Water
  • Hack saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Round glass table top, 3-foot diameter

References

  • AgMRC: What is Value-added Agriculture?*
  • Virginia Tech Univeristy: NTFP Crafts (grapevines and birdhouses)
  • West Virginia University Extension: The Tradition Continues Through Baskets
  • Wilderness Way Magazine: Willow Spoke Baskets

Who Can Help

  • University of Kentucky Extension: Baskets in Kentucky
Keywords: making grapevine furniture, growing grapes, value added farming

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."