I love teaching students to weave, but it has taken me a few years to really come up with a good system for making weaving work with younger students. Today I’d love to share my top three tips.
1. Prepare the looms yourself
I know that taking extra time to prepare the looms yourself isn’t ideal, but for students in grades K-2, it saves a ton of time. After all, at this age, I really want them to get the concept of under, over, under over, and the quicker we can get to that part the better. I bought cardboard looms four years ago, and they are still going strong. I wrap the looms with economical cotton string, tie a bow in the back, and put a piece of tape over the bow to keep it in place. The tape acts as a name label, which is great, because when the weaving is done, I just peel the tape off the back, cut and tie the strings, and stick the same name back on the weaving. The tape labels make passing back finished weavings a breeze. Here is what the wrapped loom looks like from the front and the back.
2. Have the students practice with paper first
Because many students have not woven before, I like to have them practice with paper first. The paper strips are easier to manipulate than the yarn and slide more easily under and over the cotton string. As an added
bonus, the kids are able to check themselves easily. If they are getting what looks like a checkerboard or basket pattern, they know they’re doing things right. After practice, the strips easily slide out of the loom and we’re ready for the real deal. Which brings me to number three…
3. Set up a “yarn buffet”
Jessica has shared her handy tip for dispensing yarn with the yarn cart, and today I’d like to add another idea, the yarn buffet! The concept is similar in that all the yarn is centrally located. I put out the colors of yarn and students are allowed to come up and take two colors at a time. They pull about an arm’s length, cut with a scissors and take it back to their seats. Any yarn left at the end of work time gets wrapped around their looms for the next class. No mess!
In the past, I’ve also set up a yarn buffet with trays full of pre-cut pieces of yarn like the one seen below. This is a nice option for kindergartners as it eliminates extra steps. The students just come up and take 3-5 pieces of yarn from the buffet and head back to their seats to weave them in. When they run out of yarn, they can return to the buffet.
How do you make weaving more manageable in the art room?
Anyone brave having the kids wrap their own looms? We’d love to know!