Annie Clarke Jun 26 4 min read

How to make the most of your raffia

Basket by Catriona Mclean (@catriona.mclean) made from thin raffia strands

Welcome to this blog which is dedicated to helping you along on your raffia journey. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a curious beginner, join us as we take you through some of the practical intricacies of working with raffia and ways to make the most of, and enjoy, your purchases.


  • The first thing we’d encourage you to do is invest in some clips to help keep your raffia under control. For those of you in Australia, Kmart sells a 30 pack of bag clips for $2.25. Ikea and Woolworths also stock them. When you undo a bundle of raffia, replace the tie at the top with one of these clips. This will help avoid your raffia getting tangled as you pull strands out to work with.
  • If you work on your raffia projects at night with dim lighting, consider sorting and separating your raffia earlier in the day, as some colours can be difficult to differentiate at night.
  • If you work on the couch at night in front of the TV, an old tissue box can be your best friend! Use it as a bin for any unusable scraps and also to store your scissors and needle - stab a hole for each into the top of the box.
  • Get into the habit of putting both items in their ‘spot’ whenever you're not using them - this will prevent you constantly losing them amongst the cushions and risk someone sitting on them!


  • Prepare each sewing strand of raffia before using it - get rid of any flyaways, prickly bits or coarse parts. This is less important for core pieces.
  • If a strand of raffia has a frayed end, fold it to assist with threading it onto a needle.
  • Insert a marker thread at the point in the centre of your coil where you began your second round and then, when starting to bring the sides of your basket up, do so only when you are aligned with the marker. This will ensure you have a beautiful, even basket.
  • If you want your coil to stay flat, place it underneath a large, heavy book or object whenever you’re not working on it.
  • Choose raffia strands with a consistent thickness. This improves the overall look of the finished piece.
  • Aim to throw out as little raffia as possible- if you use all the thick, juicy pieces for one project, keep the remainder of the bundle and use all the medium strands for a second project. Then, finally, you’ll be left with all the wispy pieces at the end – save them, you can make some beautiful things with them.
  • As raffia is a plant, there will be a small amount of coarse and unusable bits that you’ll need to snip off your raffia strands. If you’re a camper or have an open fire at home, save these and roll them into balls to become tinder for your next fire.

When you’re covering a bottle or jar with raffia, elastic bands will help keep everything in place. Just cut the elastic bands off when you’re done.


Basket by Jen Baxter (@jennibaxter71) made from Rockpool ‘Wispy Bits’

  • When starting your raffia journey, learning a new stitch or technique or working with a colour-way that you’re not too sure about, a good way to practice is to make small baskets. That way you won't use much raffia or have invested much time if you decide you don’t like it or it comes out a bit rough. It’s a quick, cheap, easy way to improve your technique.
  • Take your time. Coiling with raffia is a slow craft. It is good practice to stop regularly and assess your piece - check that your core thickness is consistent, that your stitches are regularly placed and that the shape of the basket is constant and heading in the desired direction.


Basket by Annie Clarke (@annie0009) made from thin strands of raffia in the colour Eggplant

  • As you work with your raffia you will most likely end up with some fine, wispy pieces left over at the end. We’d encourage you to save them - keep a spare clip beside you while you work and neatly clip them as they appear. Wispy pieces of raffia can be used to make beautiful baskets - tiny or large, but fine & delicate.
  • When working with wispy bits, you may need to use a smaller needle than you might use for a larger basket.


  • If you have the space, hanging your raffia keeps it flat, smooth and untangled. A tall lamp, hall cupboard or broom cupboard can also work well. A length of rope strung between 2 hooks could also be used.
  • For those who don’t have hanging space, a plastic storage tub, box or basket will suffice. Something not too big is good, so that it’s portable to take out and about and can be tucked away when not in use.
  • When you finish a project, bundle up any remaining raffia for storage, keeping colours separate where possible. Keeping it unbundled will most likely end up with a tangled mess of raffia that is overwhelming and difficult to use. Storing all the colours together can be a nuisance for future projects where you will want easy access to specific colours.
  • You can even keep bags in your tub to further categorise the stored raffia. For example, keep any wispy bits you’ve saved in a separate bag.

Shaz from Leongatha (@shooflypaper) with her huge basket made from raffia scraps

If you have any other raffia related tips or tricks that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you at