Weaving with Kids

Weaving with Kids

I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with weaving lately (ha ha), ever since May when I saw these beautiful pieces made by Rachel Denbow. After seeing cardboard looms all over Pinterest this summer, which totally fueled my fixation, I decided to make some looms myself for my little campers. The week we made these I had five girls at art camp ranging from ages five to seven (and one 14 year old helper extraordinaire). I wasn’t sure what would happen, or if they could even handle weaving, but I decided to just give it a try.

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

Turns out, they LOVED WEAVING! My daughter and I did it with them so it was complete side-by-side, art-making bliss. I love that in the end, you couldn’t even tell the difference between my weaving and theirs (I’m only showing you theirs in this post). In fact, I loved theirs even more than mine because they were way more free with their choices and their technique. (Isn’t that true for most art making! Those little ones are so unhindered by vision and plans. They just enjoy the process.)

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

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Here’s what you’ll need to make your own looms and weavings:

~ A piece of cardboard about 6” x 8”, and two strips for the top and bottom.

~ Exacto knife or scissors

~ Ruler

~ Yarn (I buy mine at Michael’s, but these little guys are super cute for a project like this)

~ Plastic needle

~ Masking tape & Scotch tape

~ Pom-pom maker (optional)

~ Pony beads (optional)

~ Twigs

Making the loom:

1. Take your ruler and put it across the top of your piece of cardboard, about 1/2” from the top. Draw a straight line with a pencil. Now measure in 1” and make a hash mark. Continue on and make 12 hash marks about 3/8” apart all across the top. Do the same at the bottom. You can space them out however you would like, but this is just what I did for my looms.

2. Using an exacto knife, or scissors, cut along each hash mark, stopping at the 1/2″ line.

3. Glue on the strips of cardboard so that the top of the strip aligns with the 1/2″ line (strips are about 1/2″ wide).

4. Cut 12 pieces of yarn and thread each notch, making sure to leave a tail of about 3” on the back. Tape these ends to the back with scotch tape. Make sure the threads are fairly tight (but not so tight that it’s stretching the yarn). These vertical threads are called the warp. You have your loom!

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

Make your weaving:

1. Cut a piece of yarn about 2 feet long. Thread it through the plastic needle and then tie a knot at the top of the needle.

2. Starting with the first warp thread, slide the needle underneath and then up over the next thread, and then back under the third thread, and so on. Use this under-over pattern until you get to the last warp thread. When you get to the end of your first row, pull it through all the way, leaving about a 3” tail. You can tie this tail in a knot around the first warp thread to secure it for the little kids, but after they weave two rows it won’t be in danger of coming out anymore.

3. For your next row, go back the other way by doing the opposite over-under pattern as you did for the first row. (If you go under and over in the same way as the first row you will be undoing what you just did. This mistake does happen with the littles so make sure to check on them before they begin each row in the beginning, Eventually they get the hang of it).

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

4. Once you have a few rows, use your fingers to push up the weft yarn so that it’s snug. Be careful not to pull too hard on the weft yarns after each pass through because your weaving will start to cinch in at the middle. Of course, this did happen to all of us, but I thought I should warn you anyway! First time weaving mistakes.

5. When you are done with your first color yarn, or if you decide you want to switch colors, simply end it with about a 3” tail remaining. It might start to look sloppy with lots of tails hanging out all over, but don’t worry ~ all of them will be taped to the back at the end.

6. Start the next colors in the same way you started the first, leaving a tail of about 3”.

7. When you get to the end, just cut off the yarn that you are working with. Not to sound too redundant…but don’t forget to leave that tail. :)

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

Taking your weaving off of the loom:

1. When you are finished, undo the scotch tape in the back and carefully pull off the warp threads. I didn’t take any pictures of this process for some mysterious reason, but it’s fairly straightforward…it’s just that you have to be careful because the weft threads could come off easily.

2. When your entire weaving has been pulled off of the loom, tie all of the warp threads together at the ends. Tie 1 & 2 together, 3 & 4 together, and so on. You should have six knots at the top and bottom. Double knots.

3. At this point, it’s time to deal with the tails coming out of the sides. The reason to leave the tails on the longish side is so that you can thread them through the needle, and then gently weave them through the back a few times before trimming them. If you don’t want to take this extra step, you could just tape the tails to the back with masking tape.

4. Also use masking take to tape down the top and  bottom warp threads to the back of your weaving.

(back view) make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

Finishing your weaving:

1. Technically, you are now done with your weaving. Hooray! But if you want to embellish with pom-poms and beads, and hang it on a twig, then read on. Just a note: The kids didn’t do any of the finishings, except for the pom-poms. I did all of the taping, beading (kids picked out their colors) and attaching it to the twig. They watched as I did it all, but it was too finicky for their little hands.

2. We made our pom-poms with a pom-pom maker (I highly recommend these things…they are good for life!). But you can also do it the old fashioned way: around your fingers. Here is a good tutorial for that way. Don’t forget to leave a longish tail with the piece of yarn that you use to tie the pom-pom. You will thread this tail through the needle and then attach it to your weaving by going through the bottom (front to back) and then taping it on the back. You can add beads to your pom-pom before you attach it to your weaving.

3. To attach the weaving to the twig, cut a piece of yarn, about a foot long, and string it through the needle. Starting on one end, loop the threaded needle through the top of the weaving and around the twig, wrapping the twig all the way until the end. Tie knots on either end, then trim and use masking tape to tape the ends to the back.

4. Lastly, to attach the hanger, simply cut a piece of yarn about 18” long (this will be trimmed, but better too long than too short), and fold it over. Loop the folded end around one side of the twig and make a knot. If you want to add beads, now is the time. To finish off the other side just tie it around the twig in a double knot and trim.

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

make cardboard looms and show little kids how to weave and you will be amazed by what they can make

I know there are like a million steps, but the steps for the kids are pretty simple and fun. It’s the making of the loom and the finishing that involves some busy work on the part of the adult. I personally LOVE busy work…and I’m betting that if you’ve read this far, you do too.

One thing I forgot to mention is that this project is a great way to introduce some new vocabulary for the kids. They learned warp & weft, and they learned about woven fabric vs. knit. We talked about how so many things in their world are woven: the shorts they are wearing, their sheets and pillows, towels, tablecloths. It was such an eye opener and so fun to see all of this new knowledge sink in.

I hope you try weaving, it really is so cool.

xo, Bar


Love This {six}

Love This {six}

And now for my monthly (ish) round-up of the things I’m loving these days.

But first, a quote for my girls. School starts tomorrow for all three of my kids. My son is entering third grade, one daughter is entering sixth grade at the middle school, and the oldest is starting ninth grade at the high school. Three different schools and three different phases in childhood. I love quotes, and I scour Pinterest quite often for a good quote that might help a situation that they are going through. Sometimes I even make quote collages for friends to cheer them up or make them laugh. Today’s quote is specifically for my girls, because my son is eight and still so authentic. But the girls are in their tween and teen years, straddling the line between wanting to be cool and mature, yet yearning to be young again so that they can just be themselves. I want to send them off with these words from Robin S. Sharma, an author who wrote a popular self-help book. I find that this is sort of a version of the “do unto others” golden rule. But it’s a bit more zen and more about your spirit than about your behavior. Be positive, accepting, and inclusive and you will get back that same energy from others. Show kindness and compassion, and you will create a grateful life. Diminish the drama and you will find a better connection with your friends and a more simplified existence. There is so much to teach them about life from this little quote. It’s a good one.

Love This {six}

1. Winter is right around the corner (noooooo!!!!). We are totally doing this to fill some long, dark, cold afternoons. Genius!

2. If you have flat hair that is thick but not curly or straight, just kinda frizzy and blah (moi), then this tutorial for 5-minute beach waves is for you! I tried it, and it kind of looked ok.

3. Read this brilliant re-branding of the world failure.

4. My new favorite artist.

5. Sit down with your lunch and watch this video (10 minutes). Filed under “amazing” and “inspirational”, there is a 100% chance it will make your day. This one boy’s creativity filled my eyes water, because he is just that incredible.

6. I love this drawing game for a group of little kids.So simple and super fun. Cue the giggling!

7. I am totally saving up for this cool shelf for my son’s room. So rad!

8. I could be very happy in this renovated Barcelona loft. Especially since there doesn’t seem to be any room for kids. Sorry guys!

9. These paper balls are so cool. I’m thinking craft night and garlands!!

10. Just when you think it is not possible to be original as an artist, that everything has been done before…you see this. Unbelievably cool.

Cheers to the last day of summer vacation…always a little bittersweet.

xo, Bar


Rainbow Flower Collage

Rainbow Flower Collage

My four-year-olds made these! Some of them had just learned cutting so it was definitely a challenge, but they were up for it and they persevered and I was so proud of them! I was inspired by this post from Deep Space Sparkle, an awesome website with so many great resources by elementary school art teacher Patty Palmer. She has great instructions for this project which she did with kindergartners. We simplified a bit since my kids were younger, so I’ll go over our version.

great art project for cutting skills and color recognition

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Supplies needed:

Colored paper in a rainbow mix ~ you can cut up old art mixed with some construction paper, and some origami paper if you want some patterns.


Glue stick

A piece of cardboard (I cut mine from a box in rectangular sizes, about 8″ x 11″)

great art project for cutting skills and color recognition

great art project for cutting skills and color recognition

great art project for cutting skills and color recognition

I supplied circles for the middle that I cut from muffin tin papers. I thought they would get frustrated cutting a circle. I cut all of the papers into small rectangular shapes, then I taught them how to cut a petal by placing your scissors at the bottom in the middle, curving out, then ending at the top middle. This concept was tough! I helped some of the girls by putting my fingers in the scissors with their fingers on top. This allowed them to go through the movements and understand the concept of “curved”. After they chose their own colors and cut their petals, they laid them out around the middle and used the glue stick to glue them on. Some of the kids made a stem and leaves, but some were so tired from cutting they were done!

great art project for cutting skills and color recognition

I love the sweet & proud smile on this one. Melts my heart.

I am a huge proponent of open-ended art so this project was a little out of my comfort zone, but I also think it’s important to teach skills from time to time, and I loved how simple this was. Cutting, glueing and learning about the colors of the rainbow are all great lessons for four-year olds. And they were so excited to have a finished piece to show their mamas!

xo, Bar