Natural fiber bowls are quite en vogue right now. They can work with most interior design styles and add a certain subtle texture and depth to a coffee table, side table, or mantel. The good ones can also be surprisingly expensive and the cheap ones can look….well, cheap. So, here’s how to make your own using just rope and hot glue.
ROPE – I used some really heavy stuff and some more common thinner rope as well. If you don’t already have some, check your local hardware store for the basic stuff. Some of the more specialty farm supply stores will have a wider, more interesting variety. However, if you don’t have one close by, fear not – mine were all made with the really easy to find stuff.
GLUE GUN – Your basic glue gun will work, you will need lots of glue sticks though
BOWL OR PLANTER – I used a plastic planter for my large one and glass pyrex bowls for the smaller ones. You want something that is nonporous, so a terra-cotta pot is not a great idea.
Take the cut end of the rope and cover the tip with some glue to keep it from unravelling. Then start coiling the rope into a tight circle. As you do so, run a bead of glue along the sides of the rope to hold the coil together. Work a little at a time. Run a bead of glue a couple of inches along the outer edge of the coil, and coil more rope on top of that. Keep going until your coiled disc is the diameter of the bottom of your bowl or planter.
At that point I find it’s easier to flip your bowl right side up so it is sitting on the disc. Then continue glueing and coiling rope up the side of the bowl. Try to keep the glue just on the edge that will be in touch with the rope and don’t use too much or you’ll get a lot oozing to the front which you’ll see in your finished bowl. Keep gluing and coiling until you get the size bowl that you want. When you’re happy with the size cut the rope with scissors or a utility knife, smear some glue over the cut tip and glue the end down. Now remove your inner bowl. Depending how much glue seeped inside, this may take a little prying to get it out. Better to not wait too long to do this either, the harder the glue gets the more difficult it will be to get the bowl out.
You can create lots of variations with this basic technique, play around with size, height, and type of rope. For the one in the photo below on top of the books i actually braided three pieces of rope into a long strand and then glued the braid around the bowl for added depth and dimension.
Have fun and enjoy!