Handmade brooms, especially quality ones, are expensive! And I adore them so.
My favorite hand-crafted broom is a cobweb broom, which I use regularly.
I decided, however, to figure out how to make my own using materials I already had and found objects.
I enlisted the help of my son to gather broom’s hedge that grows in the field surrounding my house. It’s plentiful, and it takes a while to gather, as it grows in stems of up to only six pieces of straw in a bunch.
Depending on what kind of straw you have available, you may or may not want to soak it. I opted not to soak, since I wasn’t planning on bending or weaving it.
A broom handle is easy enough to find. I found a small branch, one inch in diameter, about three-and-a-half feet long and fairly straight. You want the stick to be slightly longer than what you expect to become the handle. You can always shorten it from the hanging end afterward. Clean it of dirt and loose debris, and check for any bugs. Also, check for dry rot. If the branch or stick has been out in the elements too long, your broom handle won’t last through the first use, or maybe not even through the construction process.
Separate your straw into equal-sized, small bundles, having enough bundles to make the circumference of your broom handle at least once around. Twice is better, but from this demonstration, I only had enough straw for one time around.
Using string of some sort (I used jute.), tie each pile of straw into a bundle. This will make handling the straw easier when attaching it to the handle. Leave ends of the string hanging a bit.
Once you’ve tied all the bundles separately, tie them, one to another using the ends of string hanging from the individual ties. Keep going until you have a row of straw bundles tied together.
Lay the row of bundles onto a flat surface, knot-side up. Place the broom handle in the center of the bundles, about three to six inches up, depending on how broad you want your final binding to be. I placed the bundles about six inches up, just in case I needed the extra space.
Bring the loose ends of the straw bundle row around the end of the broom handle and tie the last two string ends together. Make it as tight as possible. If you need to overlap the bundles, then do. Just get them tied together around the handle.
At this point, the straw bundles could probably be bound tighter around the handle, and the bundle ties may be a bit unsightly. No problem, ’cause we’re going to cover them up!
Bind the straw bundles more tightly using a whip stitch. Circle the string around several times, being sure to pull as hard and tight as possible each time around. (If you have broom making tools, this is where you would use a spinner, a spool with square caps that you can push with your feet to make the string as tight as possible.) Take your time to make sure that each pass has the string laying flat and butt-up against the previous pass. Be sure to leave a tail of string from the first pass (I like to knot the first go-round.) to tie off the whip stitching when you’re done.
Once you have your stitching as tight a possible and as wide as you want it, tie off the end to the leaving of the first pass you made. Clip the excess and tuck the knot and any loose ends into the straw and stitching.
You can stop here if you want a besom-type broom. But, I wanted a cobweb broom, which means the ends need to be tied up to form a more compact bristle end.
Take another piece of string — or ribbon, if you want to get decorative — and tie the bristles together about half-way down.
Clean off any debris, if you like, at this point. I preferred to leave all the bits of straw and attached grass hanging to leave a more primitive look.
But, wait! There’s more!
Visit my Crafts & Stuff page for more links to brooms and broom making!