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Zulu Basket

Basket weaving is an important tradition to many cultures around the world. The Zulu in Africa are very skilled weavers. The patterns in their baskets are complex and carry symbolic messages and traditions.

African Zulu basket made with paper cup, red and black yarn around with design pattern.


  • Paper cup
  • Scissors
  • Different coloured yarn


  • Using scissors, cut slits in the paper cup as far as you can towards the bottom. Cut an ODD number of slits to create tabs. Plan the tabs to be of equal size. When complete, your cup should have an ODD number of tabs.
  • Tie the yarn around the base of one of the tabs. Hide the knot on the inside of the basket.
  • Loosely weave the yarn by moving the yarn to the inside of the tab next to the one you tied your yarn to. Continue by moving to the outside and inside of each subsequent tab.
  • Continue back and forth until you reach the tab you tied your yarn to. Move the yarn to the inside of this tab and continue on alternating outside and inside. If everything has gone well, the second layer of yarn should be opposite to the first layer of yarn.
  • Don’t pull the yarn too tight or your cup will collapse. Allow the yarn to fit gently along the edge of the cup.
  • After you have completed a few rows, push the yarn downwards towards the bottom of the tabs so that none of the cup is visible in that section. Repeat often.
  • Continue until you reach the top of the cup.
  • Tie the end of the yarn to one of the tabs at the top. Hide the knot on the inside.

TIP: You can use solid yarn, variegated yarn, colour change yarn or you can change the colour of your yarn periodically to create stripes (as in the image above). To change yarn, simply cut the first yarn and tie the new yarn to the end. Hide the knot on the inside and continue on.