Danish Woven Hearts with a Japanese Twist

A woven heart made by Hans Christian Andersen. Image is from paper matrix.com.

The title for this post may seem all mixed up: How could a Danish paper craft have a Japanese twist? It’s not really a long story. I had always liked the Danish woven heart baskets, and, this year was determined to learn how to make them. I decided to make some small ones to use as gift tags or ornaments. My instructions called for using lightweight paper, and so I reached for my box of origami paper, which included some bright red washi paper. Washi is a Japanese paper that was traditionally made from plant fibers, such as from the mulberry tree, and is soft and flexible, but tough. I doubt that my packet of washi paper was traditionally made, but it did have a soft, fibrous texture. It could easily withstand my fumbling attempts at making the little woven baskets. As it turned out, weaving the Danish basket with Japanese paper worked beautifully. The paper almost looks like heavy silk. So here is a gallery of “Japanese” Danish woven hearts. (Note: The basket with the really small squares was based on eight cut strips, and was pretty hard to make. I had to use tweezers. So start with the easy one first!)

You might be able to find washi paper at your local craft store, but, if not, a good online source is kimscrane.com. I have ordered from them in the past, and they offer a wonderful assortment of paper at reasonable prices. Or, you can google “red washi paper,” and a bunch of options, including Amazon and Etsy, will pop up.

If you become really interested in Danish woven hearts, check out the Papermatrix website. I am almost afraid to pass this on, because it represents a rabbit hole down which you will slide into the world of woven paper hearts, and paper weaving in general. It’s jaw dropping to see the many types of woven hearts it’s possible to make.

Here are my own watercolored instructions for weaving the hearts. The little heart shown at the bottom of the page is based on 1 x 3″ rectangles. Hope you enjoy! Fran


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