Cardboard is a favorite art supply of mine because it is plentiful, free, and versatile. I end up using it a lot with all ages for different projects.
A super easy and fun project is weaving on a cardboard loom. The simple loom pictured above is quick and simple to make. You will need:
- A piece of cardboard any size, the one pictured is roughly 5″x 8″
- yarn (you could also use string, strips of fabric, ribbon, long grasses…)
Begin by cutting slits in the cardboard. I cut these every half inch but they can be closer together or further apart. Note that the closer they are together the tighter the weave will end up. Repeat on the opposite side of the loom. Try to line up the slits so they are opposite the first set.
Next take string or yarn and wrap the loom this is called the warp yarns. I use a long continuous string to do this because it helps hold the tension while weaving rather than individual strings. I start by placing one end of the string in the first slit allowing several inches to hang free on the back of the cardboard loom. I then pulls the string across the front to the corresponding slit on the opposite side. Pass the string through the slit and wrap around the back side all the way up to the top of the loom and pass it through the second slit. Again pull the string across the front to the second slit on the opposite side and around the back to the third slit at the top of the loom. Continue in this manner until you have passed through all the slits on your loom. To keep the tension tight as we weave I like to tie the ends together across the back of the loom.
Now it is time to weave. I usually pre-cut some lengths of yarn to start with about 2-3 ft in length. You can tuck the end into the first cardboard slit or tie it on to the first warp yarn to secure it. Now as you weave pull the yarn (called weft yarn) through the warp yarns (over one under the next) all the way across. When you get to the last warp yarn pull the excess yarn all the way through, snug. Now go back in reverse essentially warping the last yarn to keep it from undoing the original line. You will always be opposite the sting above (so if your weft yarn was under the warp on the line above, this time it will be over it). When you wish to change colors simple tie the new color on to the end of the last weft yarn and keep going. Tip: Knots can be pushed through to the back of the weaving to hide them.
As you weave you may want to gently push the weft yarns up toward the top of the loom. You can gently use your fingers to do this. Pushing the woven lines up will compact the weaving which will allow for a tighter weave.
Once the project is done you have a few options. I like to leave the finished weaving on the cardboard backer for display, but it can be cut off as well. To cut it off, turn the loom over and snip the warp yarns across near the middle of the loom. Carefully tie the warp yarns together 2-3 at a time on each end leaving tassels so that the weaving does not slip off and come undone.
The cardboard loom can be used again and again once the weaving is cut off. You can extend this activity in a variety of ways. Consider making circular looms or using your finished piece in a larger mixed media project. Consider looking up weaving tutorials to find more intricate weaving patterns that can be done on your cardboard loom. This is a fun one to try for older kids. Try making larger looms with more warp yarns. There really are so many ways to extend this activity! My next post covers one of my favorite extensions, check it out here.
Until next time,