Today local artist Beth Curtin shares a wonderful easy way to teach weaving to children using old styrofoam trays from the grocery store. Kids can learn about color, patterns and texture, using their creation as a mini wall hanging, a toy horse blanket or a rug for their dollhouse. Find more creative ideas on Beth’s blog, Acorn Pies.
Yarn (Start with a basketful of woolen yarns in colors you love. Thicker yarns make the weaving work up quickly. We spun and dyed most of ours at home but you can also find yarns at your local craft or yarn store.)
Styrofoam tray (Get a clean, unused one from the butcher or re-use one from vegetables or fresh pasta) or piece of heavy cardboard.
Ruler, Scissors, String for loom, Pen for marking
Now you are going to make a loom out of a meat tray. A grown-up is going to set this loom up. She is using a knife and a little measuring template to make 8 notches in one end of the meat tray.
Now notch the other end in the same way. You can make sure the notches on the other end are lined up evenly by using a ruler.
Now weave over and under, over and under. This grown-up is weaving with a little ball of yarn, but many children will find it much easier to hold the end of the yarn (not too long a piece,) and pull it all through. After you weave a row, scrunch it down a little bit with your fingers. This is called beating.
You can assist a really tiny weaver by weaving a ruler through, and propping up the threads the warp goes under. Then the tiny weaver doesn’t have to do the over-under motion.
You can change colors as much as you want. Just be sure to weave in the ends a little bit.
If you don’t have a meat tray and you are ready to start weaving right now, corrugated cardboard works fine, too. Here is a child weaving. The meat tray is a little easier to work with, though, because it creates a space for the child’s fingers under the warp threads.
Tie each two together in a square knot, to keep the weaving from unraveling.
What are you going to make? An itty-bitty dollhouse rug? A keychain decoration to hang on your backpack? A blanket for a little toy horse?
Beth Curtin is a Providence artist, portraitist, craftswoman, and mother of three. She recently went from being a complete technophobe to launching Acorn Pies, a blog for children and their grownups, all because she got a new MacBook.