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Treated Raffia: The Best for Crafters

Treated Raffia: The Best for Crafters

Written by Shelby Owen

What is Treated Raffia?

Back in the hay-day, when our predecessors were running the shop, our main demographic of customers were crafters and basket weavers. Since our raffia is durable and pliable, it was perfect for weaving into sturdy figurines and baskets. But our crafters ran into one problem: after working with the raffia for too long, their hands would begin to dry and blister. After all, raffia is a natural, straw-like texture, nothing like the soft thread or yarn they were used to using. After receiving complaints from a few clients, our grandfather came up with a solution: a treatment to soften the grass without lessening its durability. Our grandfather began treating the grass with a solution that not only made the raffia softer and easier to work with but also made the palm flame resistant.

Since our company has expanded out of Cleveland, we are unable to continue treating our raffia in bulk the way our grandfather once did, but we still have the recipe, and we're happy to share it with you.

 

How Do I Treat My Raffia at Home?

The solution for treated raffia is simple: water and calcium chloride. We know, calcium chloride sounds like a nasty chemical straight out of Breaking Bad, but in reality it's just good ol' fashion rock salt that you can find at any hardware store. So let's get to the recipe...

  1. Fill a bucket with water and add about a quarter bucket of calcium chloride. You can experiment with how much rock salt you like, just know that the more you add, the softer the raffia will be.
  2. Unravel your raffia hank so that it's tied up at the top and the strands are hanging long.
  3. Soak the raffia in the solution over night. Make sure to fully submerge the grass.
  4. The next morning, remove the raffia from the bucket and hang it dry for 24-48 hours. We used to hang ours over wooden poles, almost like shower rods.
  5. Once the raffia is dry, you're good to go! Make sure it's completely dry before working with it. The salt water can be a little sticky.

 

Simple enough! We hope this article was helpful to all of our crafters and basket weavers out there, and if you're happy with our recipe, leave us a review and send us photos of your finished product. We'd love to see what you've made.

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