I found my new favorite beginner weaving project that takes very little prep work, is inexpensive, and makes a very pretty bookmark or decoration.
Weaving with paper is a common way to introduce students to to the skill, 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.
• Burlap rolls (found at Michaels, for $3.29 each)
• Yarn, multi-colored
• Tapestry needles (also found at Michaels)
• Old steam iron
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Beginner Weaving Project
- Unroll burlap and press with an old steam iron to flatten.
Use a ruler to cut 9″ strips. Cut lots of yarn, about 9″ or so.
- Students thread their needle with yarn.
The large tapestry needles make this pretty easy.
A sharp scissors to trim frayed edges helps.
- The weaving is best started about 1″ down.
Students use their needle to weave up and down, over and under each burlap string.
They pull the yarn and repeat until the yarn is woven throughout.
Older students can be more precise and younger ones can just learn the process of stitching and pulling the yarn.
- 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!