The willow tree is fast growing and roots easily in soil. It requires plenty of water, which is why it is often found growing near riverbanks and streams. The long branches are a soft wood that is flexible and useful in making many items. The trees are effective in blocking wind and snow from your home and the wood is cut and used in preventing riverbank erosion. It is common to find craft and other useful items made of this beautiful wood at flea markets and craft fairs.
Hand-woven baskets of willow make useful decor for your home. Created in many large and small shapes, the baskets can be used for holding magazines, flower arrangements or even cloth napkins for your dinner table, but make lovely home decor simply by placing them around your house empty.
Bent willow branches make beautiful handcrafted furniture that is appropriate anywhere that wicker, rattan or other casual style furniture is necessary. You can find this type of furnishing in sofas, love seats, chairs, end tables, bookcases and magazine racks. Many types of willow furniture come with upholstered seat cushions you can change with the seasons, but it is a comfortable seat even without the cushions. Willow makes inexpensive, casual indoor or outdoor furniture that will last for many years.
Cricket bats are made out of different grades of willow that are grown in wetland areas. Pressing the willow fibers adds strength to the bat; it is then waxed to prevent swelling and cracking. The bats absorb the impact of the ball, are durable, and help maximize the performance of the players.
Old-fashioned brooms are made from willow. These brooms can be accessorized with silk or dried flowers for decorative purposes, as in witches' brooms for Halloween decor or to give your rustic or country kitchen a casual touch. Other brooms made from willow are strictly for utilitarian purposes and make an effective cleaning tool for floors, porches and outdoor work sheds.
Handmade flutes are often made of beautiful willow wood. This wood is perfect for these lightweight musical instruments and creates beautiful music, but is best for decorative purposes, because it is not very long-lasting as an instrument. Thus today many of the same type flutes are made of resins or plastics.