The How to on Creating Lariat Art

In 1998, a friend who team ropes, gave me a basket made from his used lariats. I had never seen anything like it. It was great! You could put a plant, pens, or the five remotes that sat on top of my TV in it. After receiving this basket, I was determined to create my own lariat items.

I have used many ways to hold the rope together, such as hot glue and a propane torch. I can tell you the best way is with a soldering iron. An iron with a wide tip, and heats up to 750 degrees is the best. You do not want the iron too hot; it will unravel your rope, especially if you have a real crisp one. With 750 degrees, the rope melts gradually and you can work with it better. Oh, and you might want to purchase welding gloves, sometimes your hand will slip and well, it hurts!

One lariat is usually 32 to 35 feet long. I can make a small basket with one lariat. Dimensions are about 8 inches diameter x 6-7 inches high. At one end of the rope there is a hondo, at the other end, a tassel. Take either end to start with, make a loop and where the rope meets take your soldering iron and seal the seam. You are basically melting the rope together and it creates it's own glue. There is smoke produced, so I recommend doing this outside for the smoke is a bit toxic. You can repeat your melting in a couple inch intervals or one continuous line. You will notice that with inch intervals it creates a pattern down your basket, which is nice. When you get a few loops into your basket, try to judge the amount of rope it will take to make the bottom of your basket. You will want to save a foot or so of the end of the lariat to add to the top of your basket. You connect the tassel into the hondo for a complete look.

Then, get creative! Add conchos, feathers or make a design on the outside with your soldering iron. The possibilities are endless. Experiment with shapes as well. Of course they will be roundish, just because of the natural bend in the rope, but you can start small at the top of your basket and widen out or start wide and end narrow, like a vase.