Thanks to fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, most kids know that cotton is spun into thread, and thread is woven into cloth, but most kids these days have never seen a spindle or a loom in action, let alone know how to spin or weave. Most of the looms available in craft stores are the rainbow kind, but if you want to give your child a basic idea of how to weave thread into cloth, all you need is some yarn and a paper plate. Here’s a fun weaving craft that will keep kids of any age busy for hours:
Using a pencil and a ruler, draw 8 lines that cross through the center of a paper plate, dividing it into 16 equal “pie wedges.” Label each line consecutively with numbers from 1 through 16. If you want a looser weave, you can divide the plate into a smaller number of wedges (draw 4 lines across the plate to make 8 wedges). Similarly, a tighter weave will require a greater number of wedges.
Use scissors to snip around the edge of the paper plate at the end of each line. Fasten the end of the yarn at line 1. Stretch the yarn across the top of the paper plate and fasten at line 9.
Wind the yarn around the back of the paper plate and fasten at line 10. Continue winding the yarn across the paper plate, fastening the yarn at each line in the following order: 2-3-11-12-4-5-13-14-6-7-16-15-8-9.
Note: Do not wind the yarn across the bottom of the paper plate, only across the top. The bottom of your paper plate should look like this:
You should now have a “yarn wheel,” with 17 yarn spokes radiating outwards from the center of the circle (line 9 has 2 yarn spokes).
Cut an 18-inch length of yarn. Tie one end to the center of the yarn wheel. Begin to thread the length of yarn through the yarn spokes, in an under-over-under-over pattern (begin by passing the yarn underneath line 1, over line 2, under line 3, etc….)
Because your yarn wheel has an odd number of spokes (17), your under-over-under-over pattern will reverse itself once you get back to line 1 (over line 1, under line 2, over line 3, etc….), producing a simple weave pattern.
When you get to the end of the yarn, simply cut another length and tie the new yarn to the old yarn. If you want to make a concentric ring pattern, use a different color of yarn! As your circle grows bigger, you’ll need more yarn to weave your way from line 1 to line 17, so if you want to keep your concentric rings at an equal thickness, you’ll need to cut a longer length of yarn each time you switch colors.
Another tip: to keep your circle nice and flat, avoid pulling the yarn too tightly.
Keep weaving all the way up to the edge of the plate. To finish it off, simply tie the end of the yarn to one of the yarn spokes and pull each of the yarn spokes away from the plate. If you want to make a smaller circle, tie the end of the yarn to one of the yarn spokes. One by one, pull each of the yarn spokes away from the plate, cut them in half, and tie the two ends together. If you want to make a flower instead of a circle, pull the two ends together more tightly, which ruffles the edges and gives it a petaled look!
These woven circles or flowers make adorable pot holders, door hangers, coasters, holiday tree ornaments, and dollhouse throw rugs!
If after doing this craft you decide to stick with Rainbow Looms after all, be sure to check out this Bedtime Math problem.
Images courtesy of Ana Picazo