Thursday, April 29, 2010

May Day Basket Tutorial

I have to be honest, I never knew much about May Day other than the fact that it lands on my birthday. My hippy mama, God rest her soul, thought it was really groovy that I was born on May Day, in the bicentennial year, and that it snowed that day, too (gotta love Minnesota weather!). She chose "May" as my middle name, declared me her "flower child", and, when I was a bit older, taught me how to make daisy chains to wear in my hair. I have so few memories of my mother since she passed away when I was young, but this is one I hold dear to my heart.

{sorry, got carried away on nostalgia for a minute there - I do that sometimes ;) }

Anyway, after 34 years I finally got around to wondering what May Day is all about. I went online and found all sorts of interesting information. Click here and here to learn more if you're interested. Also, click here for some May Day craft activities.

Then, after seeing this post on the lovely blog, Childhood Magic, I decided to make some May Day baskets with James. The tradition of May Day baskets is a sweet one - you make baskets, fill them with flowers or other goodies, and leave them on the doorknobs of your neighbors and loved ones. :)
Here's how we made ours:

First we prepared our materials - we painted with watercolors. James LOVES to paint!

A masterpiece in the making!

Then, after the paintings had dried, I cut two of our papers into lengthwise strips. This was kind of hard to do actually, because the artwork was so pretty!

And then, channeling my daisy chain training, I began weaving. I wove some strips painted-side out and some the other way around so there would be color all over the basket (in hind-sight, I would've had James paint both sides of the paper). James tired quickly of the whole weaving thing, although he got the "over-under" concept perfectly. Instead, he sat on a chair beside me and watched happily, making cute little observational comments the whole time ("that's paper, mama!" "that's a beautiful basket, mama"). :)

I glued the the strips of paper as I went along.

Once I created the bottom of the basket, I folded up the ends to create the sides of the basket.

Then I began weaving the sides - I started by looping one of the strips around and gluing each side of it. This provided some stability and the strip didn't un-weave as I continued.

Since the strips weren't long enough to go around the entire basket, I had to join two strips together, cutting the excess once I reached the end of that round.

When I reached the top I trimmed the edges so it was all even.

For the handle, I glued to strips together (for sturdiness) and then split the bottom part of them so there was a piece on either side of the basket. Later, I stapled it for extra security.

We let it dry for a few hours and then Voila! we had ourselves a sweet little basket! We filled it with beautiful flowers from our yard.

Happy May Day!


Ariella said...

Very sweet story about your mom--- I think making these baskets seems like a nice way to honor her love of May Day, and your birthday you flower child!!

Your tutorial is great, the basket turned out soo pretty!

Strawberry said...

Adorable! and easy enough that I can do it ;) Thanks!

erin said...

I saw that tutorial and now after seeing this, I'm inspired. What a lovely creation.

Anonymous said...

ohh my goodness that turned out so cute!! You have a lucky neighbor :-)

Jen said...

This is beautiful! Thank you for creating a tutorial, my boy and me will get busy with this right away. :)

carine said...

Lovely tutorial!
I wonder what is the thing to hold the painting cups and board. Is it a special material?

tansy said...

Mari-Ann, your name was drawn for the wooden turtle!! Congratulations! Please email me your address so I can get him sent out to you!

Counting Coconuts said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments! I always look forward to your feedback.

Carine, the paint, the wooden board, the paint cups and the holder all come from my favorite toy store called Nova Naturals (

Mari-Ann :)

Jen said...

Oh I almost forgot... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope you have an amazing day!

Unknown said...

What a great basket! I love all the colors.

The girl who painted trees said...

Happy Birthday!
That's a beautiful basket:)


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