Friday, December 10, 2010

Wonderful Wacky Weaving - 3 projects

We've been doing a little introductory weaving in my primary grades. Second graders did a version of an annual paper weaving project that looks more complicated than it is:

This weaving below was done using foam strips, by my 2nd grade student who is blind. I stapled together a mat of the strips to start, and it worked great for him to use the tactile foam.

And in grade 3 we did some simple weavings in burlap by removing some strings and sewing in yarn in instead. It always amazes me how much the kids enjoy this simple project:

But the 1st graders, oh the 1st graders - I dreaded the annual paper weaving that is always such a challenge for some of them. So when I came across this post:, I was totally captivated. But when I tried the project as written, I thought it would be a little too difficult for my little first-graders. So I made some changes to make it easier.

Here's what we did the first day:
  • Each student started with a piece of mat board (the scraps my framer gives me each time I see her - thank you Judy!!). The pieces were cut to about 6"x 9".
  • We cleaned out some teachers' recycle boxes (some old notices, extra math papers, daily bulletins, etc) and each student took 4 pieces and twisted them like crazy, the long way.
  • We used Elmer's Glue-All (NOT Elmer's School Glue) and put a blob at each end of the cardboard, stuck a recycled strip in at each end so it was slightly curved up (like a bridge), and counted to 20. They stuck nicely.

Here's what we did the second day:

  • We raided my leftovers from other paper weaving projects - patterned and bright colored paper strips, and wove them in, gluing down the ends with a glue stick.
  • We jazzed up the mat board a bit with construction paper crayons.
  • Finally we went to town with watercolors anywhere and everywhere on the project.

The kids LOVED this project because it was totally stress-free. I didn't require them to use any sort of pattern, and they just had the best time digging through a tray filled with paper strips and blobbing paint over the twisted recycled paper. Thanks to Art Lessons for Kids for the great idea.


  1. Phyl, thanks for all the weaving ideas. I am prepping myself to dive into weaving after Christmas break. Honestly, I am a bit nervous because I have only taught paper weaving once before, but I have tons of yarn.
    When you teach burlap weaving do you have the kids pull out a few strains of burlap and then sew and repeat or do you have them take out all the burlap first and then sew back?

  2. Gorgeous weavings! I especially love the foam one :) Kristyn, check out my blog for some additional weaving ideas. :)

  3. The recycled one is so beautiful. I love that idea.

  4. I LOVE the texture in the 1st graders weavings. This will be great for later in the year when I need to clean out my scrap bin. Thanks!!

  5. Kristyn, I have the kids put their name on a piece of tape on the top edge, which we take off at the end. We pull fringe on the other 3 sides. Then we pull 2 or 3 strings, skip down, pull a few more, etc. Don't let them pull too many at once. They can always pull out more as they go, so if they don't have too many pulled it's better. That way for the kids who have a harder time there's not too many empty spaces to fill. We use long fat plastic needles, and I allow them to go over and under in patterns of 1, 2, or 3. In other words, 3 over, 3 under, etc... I've done fancier stuff - making X's, etc, but honestly some kids stress and I find they are very satisfied with just doing straight rows.

    I've done lots of yarn weaving on cardboard looms, or paper plates, or straw weaving, or Kumihimo braids, etc, also, and you'll find lots of bloggers with great instructional posts and the kids will enjoy them all, but the burlap is a very easy way to get started stress-free. Happy Weaving!

  6. The recycled ones are my favorite! I love them. I just got done with a weaving with 1st grade too... Will post soon!

  7. where are you finding colored burlap?
    I seem to only find straw colored burlap and the kids are not very excited about it.

  8. Hi Phyl - Weaving must be the thing to do!!! Here are some samples of 4th grade weavings on Clay Looms:

  9. Phyl, thank you for the explanation. I am excited to try it out. It will be great to use all the burlap and yarn I have. Marcia and Susan, I also checked out your posts on weaving...thanks! Hopefully I will have some lovely weavings to share in the new year!

  10. Re: colored burlap - I either ordered it from School Specialty (arts and crafts division, which used to be called Sax)or from Nasco. I bought it in packages of pre-cut pieces, which I then cut in 1/2 again, as I've learned the 3rd graders tire of the weaving process if the pieces of burlap are too large. The color assortments that are sent seem to vary from year to year.

  11. By the way, if you haven't already, check out Susan Bivona's clay loom weavings. VERY original idea!

  12. oh yep I just found the packs of multi colored burlap at Nasco for a good price if I am going to cut them down!
    This is the link if anyone else wants to buy them.

  13. Those are actually bigger than the pieces I got. I would cut them into fourths! The pieces I got were 9"x 12".

  14. Love it...I will try this after the break!
    Happy Holidays-

  15. Phyl, I wanted to let you know I made my 1st burlap weaving today. I am excited to introduce it to my students after break!

  16. The recycled paper weavings by your 1st graders are great, and I would love to share this blog post with a FB Group about Paper Threads, Yarns and Textiles.

    1. Absolutely! Go ahead and share! I've actually got a couple other posts about this project, too, with different variations. One includes work embellished with feathers. I'm having trouble locating them tonight because my Wi-Fi is acting up, but I will reply again tomorrow with the links,

    2. Here's the link to the ones with feathers:

      I'm interested in finding out more about this Facebook group; I'm going to look for it. On Facebook, I'm Phyllis Levine Brown