• Search

Weaving With Children

dscf2748Today 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.

Letting the end of your warp hang down the back of the loom, start to wind back and forth across the notches, from end to end.

Once you have wrapped the 8 warp threads, pull the end across the back, leaving enough to tie to the beginning end of the yarn, and cut it. Tie a knot.

Begin to weave. Whenever you begin a new color, you weave a little bit of the end in.

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 also beat a freshly woven row with the ruler.

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.

When the weaving is as long as you want it, snip the warp threads in the back.

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?

Thank you, Wendy Paradiso, for the meat tray idea.

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.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • This is amazing, good job. I don’t know if you figured this out by yourself but I want to start out slow on weaving because of a lot of scrap yarn leftovers, your website is perfect for this. Great job, especially working with children, I had my own daycare for years until ruamatoid arthritis I needed to close down. I would of loved to have taught this to the children. Keep up with the good work! Gayle

  • You can also use sturdy cardboard. For younger weavers, the thicker the yarn the better…just put your notches further apart.

    Also, we just cleaned out my Mom’s basement and came across a box of macrame cord. This is super for K and pre-K weavers since it is woven, it is less apt to tangle.

    If an adult runs a stitch along the outer edge to stop it from coming apart, they also make fun coasters.

    Have fun!!

  • thank you so much for this!! the step-by-step photos are just great!!!

    i just picked up a great book, kids weaving, from the library too so we are ready to start weaving!!!!