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How To Make an Upholstery Cord Basket

Upholstery piping cord is a cotton material that can be found at most craft stores. The flexible cords bend into coils for rope bowls, like the one seen here. We also love the pattern for a coaster; follow these same directions, but don’t build up the sides.

Soften a tabletop with baskets and trivets made of coiled upholstery cord piping wrapped with embroidery thread. Detailed instructions for this project, featured in our September/October 2017 issue, are below. Click or tap here to see a how-to video.


  • 12 yards upholstery piping cord
  • Embroidery floss, multiple colors if desired
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle

Upholstery Piping Cord Basket
That kaleidoscope-esque coaster on the bottom left is made using the same technqique as the bowl. Just use upholstery piping cord in a smaller size.


  1. Pull embroidery floss through needle and tie four knots at the end.
  2. Pick up one end of the upholstery piping cord. Fold the end to make a “u” shape and pinch between your thumb and forefinger. Poke the needle through the center of the “u” and pull the embroidery floss through, making sure the knot does not slip through the cord’s fabric. This is the beginning of the coil.
  3. Still using your thumb and forefinger, turn the coil slightly, gathering a bit more upholstery piping cord around the original “u.” Bring the needle and embroidery floss over the top of the coil, wrapping the floss halfway around the coil. Poke the needle through the side of coil and pull embroidery floss through, pulling tight.
  4. After the first few stitches, the center of the coil will be secure, so it will no longer be necessary to pull the needle and thread through the entire coil. Instead, loop the embroidery floss over only the piece of upholstery piping on the outermost layer of the coil. Pull the needle through the upholstery piping cord one layer into the coil, approaching from the bottom and emerging near the top. Pull the needle and embroidery floss through to secure, then loop over the top of the outermost coil layer and repeat
  5. Repeat step 4 until you run out of embroidery floss. To tie off and start with a new color of embroidery, loop the needle and floss over the outer coil and through the bottom of the inner coil, as if you were making a new stitch. Pull the needle and thread through the upholstery piping cord. Instead of looping over the outer coil, tie four knots in the floss right where it emerges from the upholstery piping in order to secure.
  6. To begin the new color of embroidery floss, thread the floss through the needle and tie four knots. Near the place you tied off, poke the needle through the side, nearer the bottom, of the upholstery piping cord and emerging near the top. Pull the embroidery floss tight, making sure the knot does not pull through the cord. Loop the embroidery floss over the outer layer of the coil and begin stitching in the same pattern as before.
  7. After forming the base of the bowl, you’ll need to build up the sides. Using the same pattern outlined in step 4, gradually begin to stack the upholstery piping cord on top of the inner layer of the coil, rather than flush against the side.
  8. When you run out of upholstery piping cord, it’s time to finish the bowl. To secure the end, wrap the embroidery floss over the top of the cord and stitch into the layer of the coil just below it, approaching from one side and emerging on the other. Continue this pattern multiple times on the same area until there is a thick band of embroidery floss on the end of the upholstery piping cord. Tie a knot to finish.
  9. Examine the bowl and trim any embroidery floss ends that may be poking out.

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