Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Art Smarts: Homemade Looms and Weaving

Handmade Looms and First Weaving Project

Today's project was inspired by a tutorial I found over at Buggy and Buddy. She used Popsicle sticks to make small, homemade looms for weaving, and that was my original plan as well. But after raiding our craft closet for 10 minutes and realizing to my dismay that we didn't have any, I changed the plan. 

We'd use sticks instead. We have a lot of trees in our yard (and vines). Finding a few sticks should be no problem. And it wasn't. It took all of 5 minutes to find what we needed.

I really wanted today's project to happen outside, but:

It started raining. Boo.

After collecting some sticks and cutting them to size, I headed back indoors. 

The sticks that I found actually came from one of our truly annoying, won't die for anything, thorny vines. Although they were strong and reasonably straight, they had sharp little thorns all over them. So after bringing them inside and clipping off the sharp point, I sanded them the rest of the way down with a bit of used sand paper. 

Then I told each of the kids to choose four sticks.

Sorry for the poor quality of these photos. My camera's on the fritz and I'm currently using my phone to take pictures.


Lay out four sticks to create a square. Once you're satisfied with the shape, use a hot glue gun to glue one corner together. Then cut a long length of yarn and wrap thoroughly around that corner, securing with glue every few wraps. 

Do the same thing with the opposite corner, and then glue the two pieces together (wrapping each corner as you go) to make the final square. Make as many frames as you have kids (if you don't want to hear them arguing over who gets to use it first!).

Then cut another long length of yarn to wrap around the frame. My kids both commented on how it looked like a harp and tried to "play" it once this step was complete ;)

Let that dry for a few minutes. Use this time to cut out several strips of scrap fabric (as in the picture above).

Now you're ready - and I bet your kids are, too - to weave! 

I couldn't believe how quickly the kids caught on. I thought I would have to hover over them and guide them with each new strip of fabric, but after the first one, they were on a roll. And the actual weaving took very little time.

Over, under, over under. Daniel spoke the directions out loud as he worked.

It's always fun for me to see the creative juices flowing. Daniel stuck with red until there were no more red strips. Then he chose another dark color. And Natalie alternated between dark and light colors.

Little hands.

Finished tapestries:

Age 4

Age 3

At first I was going to try to figure out a way to save each piece. But I quickly realized that that would be a major headache. How would I save it? Glue? Adding stitches? And wouldn't it just fall apart as I cut it off the loom? 

Perhaps we can start saving pieces when they get older and learn how to really make a tight weave. But for now, I think we'll just enjoy each one for a little while before taking it down so they can make another piece. Or we could make this sort of a busy bag activity, like the lacing cards. That way they can weave and disassemble as many times as they like. 

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