How to Make a Coiled Fabric Bowl

Wrap colorful fabric strips around rope and coil them into this playful bowl.

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Amy Wallace of Cincinnati demonstrates how to make a bowl out of assorted fabric strips and rope.

Materials Needed:

  • 3/8" to 5/8" thick rope, 5 to 6 feet long
  • 5 patterns (or more) of 100 percent cotton quilting fabric (print or hand-dyed)
  • glue gun
  • hot glue sticks
  • mercerized cotton thread
  • tapestry needle
  • scissors
  • 4 colors of polymer clay
  • clay cutting blade
  • pasta machine (dedicated to polymer clay)
  • toaster oven
  • paper towels
  • large nail
  • small bead

Steps:

1. Cut five (or more) strips of assorted cotton fabric approximately 1 inch wide.

2. Apply a dab of hot glue on one end of a rope.

3. Press the end of one fabric strip to the glue and wrap it around the rope to cover the rope end fibers. Let dry.

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4. Wrap the fabric around the rope, keeping the fabric flat and covering the layer underneath. Don't allow any rope to be exposed. It is not necessary to glue as you wrap.

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5. At the end of the first piece of fabric, apply a dab of hot glue to the rope where the fabric strip ends to anchor the first piece.

6. Apply a new dab of hot glue to the end of the first piece of fabric and attach a second piece of fabric. Continue to wrap the fabric around the rope until you get to the end and secure with hot glue.

7. Continue adding pieces of fabric strips until you have covered a 5 to 6-foot piece of rope. Cut the end of the rope with scissors. Coat the end with hot glue. Let dry.

8. To coil the rope into a bowl shape, use a heavy duty tapestry needle and thread it with a long double strand of mercerized cotton crocheting thread. Start with about 10 feet of thread. Begin with the blunt end of the wrapped rope and fold over about 1/2 to 3/4-inch, depending on the rope's flexibility. Allow up to about an inch if needed.

9. Pierce the end of the rope with the needle and sew through the rope right next to it, as if you are sewing shut a "v" letter. Tie tightly because this is the anchor that will hold together the rest of the coils.

10. Begin sewing around the rope, connecting it to the initial "v" shape. Continue a whip-stitch style sewing motion, keeping the free rope tightly connected to the coiled rope underneath. Coil it in a circle to create the base of the finished bowl.

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11. Shift the next part of the rope upward at an angle as you sew to begin forming the bowl's sides. When you run out of thread, cut a new long length, thread the needle and tie the two new loose ends to the end of the previous piece. Until the knot has been incorporated into the coiling, push the needle blunt-end first so that the knot can freely fit between the previously coiled rope layers.

12. As you approach the end of the rope, make sure you have ample thread available. When the end of the rope is reached, continue to sew the end close to the bowl with many layers of thread. It needs to be tight to avoid unraveling. Tie a knot to secure the end.

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13. To make a colorful polymer clay bead for the center of the bowl, cut four different colored blocks of polymer clay with a clay blade into small squares. Mix up the pieces into a random pattern and squeeze them together in your hand.

14. Roll the clay into a loose coil and run it through the pasta machine one time.

15. Trim the end of the sheet of clay. Roll the sheet into a cane. Cut thin slices from the cane.

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16. Using the clay scraps, form a ball of clay for the center of the bead. Apply the cane slices to the outside of the ball. Roll the bead in your hand to smooth the slices onto the ball.

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17. Push the end of a large nail through the center of the bead. Place the bead on a paper towel in the toaster oven at 275 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool.

18. With needle and thread, come up from the bottom of the bowl into the center, thread the polymer clay bead onto the thread, thread on a small bead, then go back down through the polymer clay bead and knot the thread off on the outside bottom of the fabric bowl.

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