Inspiration and Education

Basket Materials

Knowing the difference between basket materials will help you decide what basket is best for you and your product!

Willow

Willow is the most common material used to make baskets, and the majority of our baskets are made from willow. Willow can be peeled or unpeeled.

  • Unpeeled willow basket

    Unpeeled Willow

    Unpeeled willow is willow in its natural state, with the bark still on. This results in a rustic look on the finished baskets. Unpeeled baskets are generally less expensive because it eliminates a step in the process of making the basket—the step of peeling the willow. So, if you desire a rustic look, going with the unpeeled can save you a little money!

  • Natural peeled willow basket Stained peeled willow basket

    Peeled Willow

    Peeled willow has a smoother, cleaner look and can be left in its natural color, painted, or stained.

  • Stained full willow oval basket

    Full Willow

    Full willow baskets are made from the full, round branch of willow. This results in a very strong, durable basket.

  • Split willow tray basket

    Split Willow

    To reduce cost, baskets can be produced from cut branches of willow, where the basket is comprised from pieces of willow that are cut in half. Split willow baskets are therefore less expensive since less material is being used, but they are not going to be quite as strong or durable as a full willow basket. You can generally tell if a basket is split or full willow by looking at the pieces on the inside of the basket. As you may be able to tell from the examples, the pieces of willow on the full willow basket are thicker and rounded, whereas the pieces of willow on the split willow basket are flat and thinner.

Woodchip

  • Stained woodchip basket
    Full Stained Woodchip
    Natural woodchip basket
    Natural Woodchip with Full Willow Rims

    Another basket material used is called woodchip or chipwood. This is created from a softer, more flexible type of wood and comes in different widths. The woodchip is not as strong or durable as willow, but provides a different look that some customers find desirable. It is often mixed with willow to make up a basket, where the body is comprised of woodchip or chipwood, but the rims are made from willow. These baskets are generally less expensive than full or split willow. Woodchip is a good option if your product is lighter and does not need a great deal of support, but you still want a nice looking basket. Woodchip can be left a natural color or stained.

Coco Midrib

  • Coco midrib basket with handle

    Lastly, there is coco midrib. This material is made from the middle rib of the coconut palm leaf. Coco midrib baskets are generally known as a “budget” basket. They are very flexible and not as strong or durable as willow or woodchip, making them the least expensive option.