Posted in weaving

Fun, Kid-Friendly Fiber Art Lesson

Dear friends: Due to travel plans I will not be able to post blogs for the next week or so. So today I have for you a project that you can do at home, with your kids or with yourself. This is the last lesson I did with my fiber arts kids, ages ranging from eight to fourteen. They all enjoyed it. I call it:


After spending weeks looking for some inexpensive frame looms that were more than just toys, I decided to make them myself. I found a package of ten 8 by 10 inch stretched canvas artist frames for $13 at a local Walmart. I bought a box of 1 inch panel board nails and a tack hammer at the local hardware big box store. After marking every 3/10th of an inch across the top and bottom of the frames, I tapped the nails about half-way in. ( I used the needle nose pliers to hold nails in place. That was a tip from my husband) Voila: loom. After a few hours of hammering I had made ten looms for less than 25 dollars.

Next I fashioned some shuttles by cutting 8 inch by 1 and 1/2 inch rectangles from matt board. You can use any sturdy cardboard you can get your hands on. I made a few from posterboard which worked okay – just tended to bend too much. Cut each narrow end into arrow shapes, then slice straight down into the center of each end about an inch. I removed a narrow sliver from this slot. Here is my finished shuttle. Make more than one so that you can have multiple colors of yarn ready.

You will need the following materials and tools to get weaving: cotton yarn or string for making warp, yarn, string of other fiber stuff for weft threads, wide craft sticks about 8 inches long, scissors, tapestry needles and a plastic fork which serves as a beater and of course, your home-made loom and shuttles.

Procedure: Using a cotton of other sturdy thread, tie one end to lower right nail. Begin wrapping by stretching yarn up to corresponding top nail, then back down to next bottom nail, up, down and so on until all the nails are wrapped. Be sure to keep the yarn moderately taut. Tie the end of the warp thread securely to the final thread. I used a surgeon’s knot, but a double half-hitch will also work. Wind your shuttles with about three feet of yarn.

Use the craft sticks as weaving sticks: weave one stick in and out of warp threads all the way across your loom. Push this stick to the top of your loom. Now work another stick through the warp going the opposite way, that is, the over threads are now unders and the unders are overs. Push this stick up next to the first stick. To open a shed, you just twist the lower stick. Run your shuttle through the opening, spreading weft thread evenly. Drop the stick and remove it. Now mash your first weft thread evenly down to the bottom of the loom. Open the alternate shed with the remaining stick and run your shuttle back through. You can leave the top stick in place, but you will need to reset your bottom stick every time. Such is the fate of a weaver using a primitive loom. If you don’t like using the shuttles, you can weave with yarn and a tapestry needle. The down side is that you will use shorter lengths of yarn and have to rethread often.

There’s lots of little techniques you can use to vary your weaving. To carry the first color up the side of your weaving, wrap the second color around the first before the next pass of the shuttle. With each pass of the shuttle the yarn will be covered as it moves along to the location of its next use.

Have fun. I am attaching a pdf file with the complete lesson. Since I have never done this before, I hope that it is useable.


One of six children, I was raised by a busy mom, who instilled in me a love of fabric. Though I learned to sew and knit at a young age, it was the arrival of my first grandchild that pushed me into action. A long-time knitter, I am now ready to explore all things fiber.

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