Paper weaving is a simple and inexpensive way to teach young kids the basics of weaving. This can be a tricky skill to teach (and learn) but starting with a few simple tips will help your young artist to be successful!
Why teaching weaving is important…
I’ve taught lots of little people to weave and I will tell you it’s not the easiest skill to teach, especially if you’re in a classroom setting with one adult and many learners. Unlike many art processes there is a right and a wrong and kids can get frustrated easily! Never mind the challenges- teaching weaving is a worthwhile skill for your students to learn.
Weaving helps kids with fine motor skills, patterning, hand eye coordination, and listening skills.
Paper weaving supplies…
This paper weaving project really only requires paper and scissors. Easy, right?!? Colors, size, weight – all of these details are artistic decisions. Let your people pick their materials!
Standard 8.5 x 11 paper is a good size to start with. It’s a reasonable size of paper weaving for kids to start and finish in one sitting without getting frustrated. Heavier colored card stock is perfect for this project. The sturdier weight makes it super easy to guide the strips of paper through the weaving.
You’ll want to prepare for this cutting some straight strips of paper. While you can weave virtually anything, for a first weaving experience it’s best to start with straight, even pieces. Cut these in a variety of widths. Cut these so they are 8.5 inches long by approximately 1- 1.5 inches.
How to begin teaching paper weaving…
Take a full size paper and fold it in half the “hamburger way.” That’s art teacher speak for folding a paper down the middle the short way, making a squat rectangle. (The example in the pic is 8.5 x 11.)
Show kids how to position their scissor on the fold and cut almost to the open edge. Leave about a a fingers width of paper connected at the bottom of that cut.
Scissors are starting back at that folded edge again. Leave about two fingers width between the first cut and the new cut. Do this all the way from one side of the paper to the other. Making cuts closer together will not hurt anything but it will make the paper more fragile and the weaving more complex. If this is your artists first experience keep the spaces larger to make the process as simple as possible.
After your student is done it will be worth your time to check these cuts. Make sure they all end about the same distance from the edge of the paper.
Weaving paper strips….
The strips you weave will be the width of your paper, approximately 8.5 inches long in this case and between 1/2″- 1″ wide. I recommend providing these strips already cut. If they have jagged edges or aren’t straight edges it can make the process much harder. Eliminate that frustration by providing straight, even strips.
I recommend working with at least two colors so there is a definite contrast in pattern that kids can see developing as they work. Start with one long strip weaving under, over, under over, each of the white strips.
Push the skinny strip down to the bottom of the weaving. If your artist is having a hard time keeping the strip pushed down add a touch of glue to either end with a glue stick. Grab another strip and begin weaving it in the opposite pattern. If the first strip started under this one should start over. Try to check kids work before they move on. This is where they “get” the patterning. If they haven’t gotten the hang of it yet it helps to catch it before they’ve invested too much time.
Adjust and keep working.
Teaching weaving is really about teaching patterns….
Weaving is all about noticing and creating the under over pattern. Strips alternate starting either “under” or “over” the base piece of paper. As the strips get woven they go up and down, over and under the weaving base.
It’s a lot to pay attention to for kids as they work through the fine motor skills as well as the logistics. But when they get it- they really get it! This simple paper weaving project takes super simple materials and turns them into a bold artwork!
Let’s learn how to weave paper together…
Follow along with the above video and I’ll walk you through learning how to weave paper in a step by step video tutorial!
More weaving projects for kids….
This paper weaving is a pretty straight froward one day project. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to get fancy with weaving the first time around. Think simple.
Once kids get the hang of weaving the possibilities are endless. Check out these projects to get more ideas for weaving both paper and textiles!