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How To Reshape A Basket

Do you have a basket that is warped or flattened from storage, shipping or old age? Here’s how to restructure a soft woven natural fiber basket in no time. 

My cute coffee table basket didn’t start out so cute. 

I love using trays on coffee tables to coral everything and give the remote controls a home. It’s an easy way to pull together a pretty everyday vignette that is functional and pleasing to the eye. This is the third basket tray I’ve had – I donated one to a Bloggers Heart Habitat project and another went with our coffee table from our family room makeover to Hannah’s college apartment.

I finally bought a new basket tray when this one was 20% off (and currently is again I just noticed!). Oh so sadly the shipping box got smushed in transit and so did the basket, arriving to me like this: 

These photos doesn’t do it justice – it was goofy looking!

Reshaping warped baskets made from pliable natural fibers like water hyacinth and seagrass is a piece of cake, so instead of going through the hassle of sending it back, I finessed it a bit and the end result is much better. 

Do you have a basket in need of reshaping too? It’s really easy!

Here’s how to reshape a soft woven basket. 

ONE | Give the warped basket a bath. For thicker weaves like this water hyacinth tray, I let it soak in the sink for a few minutes. For thinner baskets (or a beach hat!) misting with a spray bottle will do the trick. If your basket is dyed, be sure to use cold water to prevent the color from diluting.Soaking Warped Basket


TWO | Let the basket drip dry for a bit in the sink then take it out and restructure with your hands. I wanted the handles on this tray to stand up, and also encourage the sides to be a little straighter.


THREE | Stuff your basket to reinforce the shape while it dries.  For a round basket, towels or cloth rags work well, or newspaper if you have some! (Anyone still buy actual newspapers?)

For this rectangular shape, I used books and a couple of weighty packages (thanks Amazon!) to keep the sides nice and straight while they dried. I wrapped the books in plastic bags since the basket was still damp.

Not a pretty blog photo but it did the trick perfectly!

FOUR | Allow to fully dry before using. Once this basket tray was mostly dry wedged in there between all those books, I elevated it on tuna fish cans in a window and let it dry overnight. The next day the fibers were stiff and sturdy again and ready for use. Looks a lot better doesn’t it?!

Soaked and Reshaped Basket

Reshaped Water Hyacinth Tray

I love basket trays like this one because in addition to coffee table magazine and remote control coralling, they are great for entertaining – this size can fit a Pyrex baking dish for a buffet and is sturdy enough to serve food and drinks on the deck. They are so versatile.


Here is the basket tray I have plus a few others of various sizes and shapes!


By the way this same soaking and reshaping method works great on straw hats. If they get smushed when traveling, lightly wet them and then reshape them on your head in the sun! 

Have a great day friends!

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Shelley | Crazy Wonderful

Monday 26th of April 2021

This is absolutely brilliant, Lisa!!! I'm looking around the house for a basket because I want to try this!


Thursday 22nd of April 2021

Awesome tutorial!! Very helpful advice. Thank you Lisa!


Wednesday 21st of April 2021

I’m always inspired by you! Now I’m hoping I didn’t grow away the smushed straw hat that was my mom’s!