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Coiled Basket #2: Recycled Recycling Bin

This is the third post in a series about my journey making baskets from punctured bicycle inner tubes. To see them all, click here.


After my first coiled basket, I had a list of improvements for my next one. As a reminder, they were:

  • Don’t let the strips twist when wrapping
  • Cover the core inner tubes as much as possible
  • Pay a bit more attention to the shape and being even on both sides
  • A little bigger

To be honest that second point made me a little uncomfortable: I love featuring the characteristics of the tubes when using them in my products, and this method would completely cover up some wonderful details.

But that seemed to be the style of most coiled baskets I’ve seen, and the materials were still being saved from landfill and used for something useful, so I decided to go with it.


For something that looks very different, the construction method was very similar to my first coiled basket. I still used two inner tubes as my core material, the same strips, and a pair of pliers to grab and pull the material through the gaps when wrapping. I even went around the core twice before picking up the coil below in the 3rd wrap.

What I did do differently was take my time and make sure to cover that two-inner tube core as much as possible. It took a lot more time, too. Instead of doing it over two days, this took me about a week. To help me sort out the size I used our existing bathroom rubbish bin (though not as a form, just as something to hold it up to to get the proportions.

Oh! I also changed how I swapped between inner tube strips.

At first I tied knots with the ends, then tucked the tails around and under other strips – you can see a few loose tails here I haven’t neatened up.

But a few hours in I thought to try something different: I tucked the end of the new strip into that central core of two inner tubes for a few wraps of the old strip before starting to use it. Then I tucked the old end in for a few wraps to secure. It was a nearly seamless finish, something I’d been striving for after that initial woven basket attempt.

So how did my hard work turn out?

The Basket

Some Stats:

  • Size: 23 cm tall, 21 cm diameter at the rim
  • Materials: Just shy of 20 inner tubes
  • Weight: Just over 2 kg
  • Time: Not sure working hours, but I finished it in just over a week

More Photos and Family Shot

A phrase I will repeat so much when talking about baskets (and my products generally tbh): it took ages but I love how it turned out!

It’s a very different look than the first basket, but they both have their charms. I hate to call these improvements, but you can see how much I’ve progressed.

Here are closeups of the coiling (first then second):

The scale isn’t quite the same between the two photos (the strips are about the same width, though as you can see there is some variation).

Conclusions and Next Steps

Things I loved:

  • The look of this new coiling method – so neat!
  • How many inner tubes these baskets devoured – perfect as I’d been saving the narrow ones for ages while I looked for a good use
  • The sides were more even
  • Great useful size for my recycling

Some things to improve for the next one:

  • A bit more even – the basket has a bit of a waist (for lack of a better word) I didn’t notice until it would’ve been a pain to unravel
  • Change up the method I use to pull the strips through – the pliers I use have teeth and I damaged the coiling strips a few times. As they’re under pressure that might impact its longevity
  • Use a different size tube – I’d nearly run out of the size I was using, this basket used so many!

But I liked this basket so much I thought I’d make another for a similar one. My workspace needed a recycling basket, too.

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My First Coiled Basket

After reading my post last week about baskets, what direction did you think I’d go?

I wanted to try a different style of basket making, one that wouldn’t leave a lot of raw edges that would be difficult to finish off securely. I ended up diving down a rabbit hole that became an obsession and kind of gave me an RSI.

But more on that later. We’ll take it in steps so you get to know these baskets, some of which I spent upwards of 20 hours on. To see all my posts about baskets click here.

The Why

I can’t remember what inspired my first coiled basket. Searching upcycled basket weaving lead me to examples made from second hand fabrics and wool.

But the idea stuck with me. It seemed an ideal use for some of the inner tubes I was struggling to find a use for:

  • Those narrow inner tubes could be the core inner material of the basket
  • The stretchy inner tube that wouldn’t work for my main product line of wallets, samosas, and cable tidies could be cut into strips – those strips would keep the narrow inner tubes together.

I’m always looking for uses for tricky inner tubes, ones that would make the most of their unique characteristics.

This style seemed like a win-win!


I managed to find a few pictures taken when crafting the piece, but only pretty early on in the process:

As you can see in the upper left corner of that first picture, I folded up two narrow inner tubes to create the coil. Why two? It meant I could swap to a new inner tube without the thickness changing too much – though if you look at the finished pics at the end, there are some areas where I didn’t cover the join especially well.

I used a pair of pliers to pull the strips through, and tied the strips together hiding any tails as I went. I made two wraps around the central core material, and the third wrap picked up the layer below to keep everything together.

At the end I didn’t replace the second narrow tube in the core and it kind of trailed off at the rim.

The Basket

And here it is:

Some not entirely certain stats:

  • Inner tubes used: about 7 (?)
  • Time Taken: Not entirely sure, but it was over 2-3 days
  • Size: 16.5 cm at its widest point, opening about 9.5 cm. 12.5 cm tall.

More Photos & Next Steps

This basket was more a proof of concept – more about speed than anything else.

You can tell I didn’t pay too much attention to whether or not the strips twisted as I went, or the fact that they didn’t cover everything. I wasn’t consistent about whether the folds from that central core of two inner tubes were facing the inside or outside of the basket, and it’s a very…organic shape.

A polite way of saying messy.

That’s not meant to take anything away from the finished product, which I still love and use to store bits and pieces around the house. But I did see some areas for improvement, mostly in terms of neatness:

  • Don’t let the strips twist when wrapping
  • Cover the core inner tubes
  • Pay a bit more attention to the shape and being even on both sides

I had it in my head to make a slightly more open, bigger shape too. Functionality is always first and foremost when I’m making things, so I decided to use my next basket as a recycling bin for my bathroom.

But more on that next week!