Surprising Uses for Willow Baskets

Willow… wicker… whatever you want to call it, has been around since before recorded time. As long as 20,000 years B.C., we have cave evidence of people using willow baskets to gather food, to transport goods, and for storage.  Heck, even baby Moses drifted down the river in a willow basket. So, basically what I’m trying to get at, is that willow baskets are timeless. They have always been relevant and will continue to be relevant. They are simple and beautiful.
These days, willow baskets are mostly used for decorative purposes. But I’m all about switching things up and reusing pretty things to also be useful things.  Here are a couple of different ways to make the quintessential willow basket something so much more.

1. Jane Birken, circa 1974, with her favorite handbag, a simple willow basket. 

Yes, you heard that right. That’s Jane Birkin. The English fashion icon and actress Jane Birkin. Before the Birkin Bag, before French fashion house Hermès ever worked with her, she was walking around for years with her beloved willow basket as her daily purse, showing the cameras (and the world) how cool and effortless and casual it was. So farmer’s market. So beachy. So French country cottage.

Once we learned about the original Birkin Bag being a willow basket, we tried out our Tall Willow Basket on for size, and it fit my cellphone, wallet, planner, and a magazine perfectly. It seemed odd at first, but after walking around with it for a day, I realized how much more comfortable it was than my real handbag. What I loved about it is that there were different ways to wear the basket. I slung it around my shoulder, I held it in the crook of my elbow, and I let it swing at my side by simply holding onto the handle. I was surprised. It was a good deal.

Get the look: Tall Willow Basket

2. Willow + Glass = the sweetest darn tealight holder. 

I don’t know about you, but when I think “willow baskets” I do not think of candles. (Probably because baskets are flammable.) But once you take a normal kitchen jar and wrap it with willow, it makes for the most lovely candle holder. I think my favorite part about this is how the glass adds a freshness to the willow that we don’t get from a normal willow basket.

Get the look: Glass Jar with Willow Handle 

If you’re not into the candle look for summer, put some florals in it and keep it outside for a refreshing patio piece.

3. Willow Baskets in the kitchen give a homespun aesthetic while offering function. 

If you’re like me, you have a kitchen drawer that’s cluttered with all the awkwardly large and cumbersome kitchen utensils that don’t fit anywhere else. Our Tall Willow Basket works really well for holding these, and I found this idea whimsical and lighthearted. I paired it with some vintage family photos to add a touch of sweetness to the timeless willow look.

Get the look: Tall Willow Basket

4. Grow a kitchen herb garden out of willow baskets like Flamant’s flower shop in Paris. 

[Image credit: Architectural Digest]

How can we not love this? If the French love it, it must be beautiful. If you’re a little tighter on space or want to grow the herbs from your kitchen window, I suggest using these super cute Willow Basket Planters with a modern, quirky twist:

There are honestly so many fantastic and unexpected ways to use willow. It’s a timeless favorite that has literally helped the advancement of mankind. It has us thinking like French women, or if we’re more accurate, like a 1960’s English Fashion Icon with a relaxed aesthetic and casual sense of beauty. It’s almost summertime, so it’s time to relax and let the willow work it’s wonders.


How do you use willow in your home? Post a pic!


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Author: Rebecca McCusker

Rebecca is the Creative Coordinator for Craft House Designs. Her interests include writing, playing piano, guitar, songwriting, and playing in her all-female rock band Linden Hollow. She enjoys gardening, hiking, teaching piano, reading, and painting animal portraits. She lives in the Ohio countryside with her husband, cats, and Australian Shepherds.

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