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Beginner Weaving Project: Burlap and Yarn

Here’s my new favorite beginner weaving project that takes very little prep work, is inexpensive, and makes a pretty bookmark or decoration when complete.

A beginner weaving project made with burlap ribbon and yarn.

Weaving with paper is a common beginner weaving project, but that happens to comes with lots of caveats. Pre-cutting all that paper is either a tedious job for teachers, OR a time-consuming one to do with students. Add to that the high probability of getting lots of tears from frustrated students, and suddenly the dread of a weaving project starts to set in.

I discovered this burlap and yarn solution years ago, thanks to the strips that are sold every fall in craft stores, and felt like a hero every time I brought it to a class. The benefits? Little prep (other than pressing the burlap flat), students loved the feeling that they were “sewing”, and something really beautiful came the result.

I also found this to be a really flexible process for a range of grade levels. First graders who had never worked with needles before (not to worry, tapestry ones have very blunt ends) could just enjoy the process of working their needles up and down. And older students, or ones with more dexterity, could try to make their stitches more precise and not skip any of the threads. Either way, the looseness of the burlap weave made it easy for them to see and work with, and the finished edges of the strips kept everything in place.

My tip if you are actually buying yarn for this? Get one gorgeous multi-colored skein from the yarn isle and the whole class can use it. They can always cut out certain colors if they wish, and everyone will be happy.

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A beginner weaving project made with burlap ribbon and yarn.

Materials for Beginner Weaving Project

Burlap Ribbon*
Yarn, multi-colored*
• Scissors
Tapestry needles*
• Old steam iron
• Ruler

*Affiliate links. If you purchase or take action, I’ll receive a small compensation, but at no cost to you!

Step by Step Directions for Weaving Project

Time needed: 30 minutes.

Beginner Weaving Project

  1. Unroll the burlap and press it with an old steam iron to flatten.

    Cut 9″ strips of burlap with the help of a ruler.
    Cut lots of small stretches of yarn that are also about 9″ or so.

  2. Show students how to thread their needle with yarn.

    The large tapestry needles make this pretty easy to do.
    A sharp scissors to trim frayed edges will help when the yarn does come out.

  3. Students start the weaving is about 1″ down from the top of each strip.

    They use their needle to weave up and down, over and under each burlap string.
    The yarn is pulled and repeated until the yarn is woven from side to side.
    Older students can be more precise and younger ones can just practice the process of stitching up and down and pulling the yarn.

  4. The steps are repeated until the strip is full.

    There is no need to knot anything, the yarn is meant to just lie flat and look pretty!

Another Option: Using cut strips of burlap

Cut strips of burlap are pretty too, but they are more fragile and tend to unravel easily.
How to Draw a Weaving Pattern

3 Responses

  1. Kathleen Barbro

    Hi! I’m glad you like my site. I bought my needles at my local Michaels, and don’t recall the size, but I think that I would just go for the largest ones you see. The burlap weave is really loose, so I don’t think it’s possible to get anything that is too big, and larger is always easier for students to thread.

  2. IslandTeacher

    Hi, I’m excited to have found your website. Thank you for all these generous ideas. Do you know what size tapestry needles you have there? I’d like to order some but they come in different sizes and I’m not sure which would be good for kids (K-6). Thank you!

  3. jfournier@walnutcreeksd.org

    Thank you for offering this project Kathy. I’m excited to try other art projects with the kiddos in addition to the guided draws (which I just love)!
    Joan Fournier
    Walnut Creek, CA

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