33 Fiber Art Ideas For Your Classroom

Today we’re bringing you an extensive list of fiber art ideas for your classroom because, let’s face it, although weaving is awesome, it can wear out its welcome pretty quickly.

Thanks to everyone that commented on this post on Facebook about fiber arts in the classroom and helped contribute to the amazing list below. We hope you find some new inspiration!

***As always, please use your professional discretion with the following ideas. Some things may not be suitable for very young students (sharp needles, permanent dye, etc…) or may be better suited for a small group of students rather than an entire class.

Sewing

  • Have students sew superhero capes, complete with their own personalized logos.
  • Create soft sculptures around a theme. Food, fish, monsters, self-portraits, etc…
  • Have students do some quilting. You can have them create a single square, a wall hanging, a collaborative piece, or an entire full-sized quilt!
  • Have students sew their own decorative pillows.
  • Have students update the traditional “sampler” on burlap with a favorite quote or even a hashtag.
  • Have students create puppets. Then, perform group skits with them.
  • Teach your students cross-stitch or embroidery techniques and have each of them revamp a piece of old clothing.

Fabric

  • Have students tie-dye t-shirts with the primary colors to learn about color mixing.
  • Create batik panels using either the traditional or school glue method.
  • Explore silk painting on silk scarves and sell the results as an art room fundraiser.
  • Check out this amazing book about Shibori then have your students create designs on cotton handkerchiefs or napkins with indigo dye.
  • Have students create a collaborative rag rug for your classroom.
  • Instead of paper, have students use fabric to create collages.
  • When doing block printing or stamping, have students create a print or two on fabric to create a t-shirt or wall hanging. If printing on clothing, make sure the ink you use can stand up to washing!
  • During a bookmaking unit, have students work with fabric instead of paper.

Knitting

  • Have students knit a simple scarf or potholder.
  • Make finger knitting an activity for early finishers. You can have students create bookmarks, belts or bracelets out of the finished pieces.
  • Have students create scarves using arm knitting.
  • Have your students create their own take-home spool knitters out of toilet paper tubes and popsicle sticks. Then, teach them how to use them!
  • Make t-shirt yarn out of donated t-shirts and have students knit something of their choosing.

Weaving

  • Have students create baskets with thick cord or recycled plastic bags.
  • Go on a treasure hunt outside and around school. Use your findings to create found object weavings.
  • Have students make friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss.
  • Purchase a friendly loom to use as a station or activity for students that finish early. Hang finished pieces around your school or auction them off to participating students.
  • Need to be thrifty? Have students weave on straws looms.

Felting

  • Have students create small felted landscapes using this ziplock bag technique.
  • Have students create felt beads to use in original jewelry designs.
  • Make needle felted pins or appliqué patches to sell at your next art show as a fundraiser.

Yarn

  • Have students create yarn paintings of their favorite animals.
  • Have your high schools students collaboratively yarn bomb your school on the weekend. (You probably should ask for administrative approval on this one first.)
  • Create Ojos de Dios.
  • Have anxious students create Worry Dolls to take home.
  • Make pom poms to add embellishment to other projects.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for even more great fiber art projects, check out the four resources below!

  • Explore Fiber
    This website has everything you want to know about fiber arts, including a collection of lessons that is continuously being updated. A must read!
  • Dick Blick
    Dick Blick has an extensive list of fiber art lesson plans to draw from, many with helpful videos!
  • The Children’s University of Manchester Talking Textiles
    This is a cool website that would be great to introduce elementary students to the idea of textiles.
  • Cassie Stephens
    By now, you’ve probably heard of Cassie Stephens, the best-dressed art teacher in the world. Cassie’s love for textiles comes through in many of her lessons, which you can explore on her blog.

There you have it! 33 ways to bring fiber arts into your classroom.

Tell us, what are we missing? What other fiber art projects do you do in your classroom?

Any tips or tricks about any of the methods mentioned here?

Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 

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  • Kristin

    Hi Amanda! Thank you for including my project about wet felting in a ziplock bag. I just wanted to point out that another project we do at my preschool that is an enormous hit with ages 3-6 is sewing on a handmade tapestry table. Tapestry sewing tables are very expensive so I made one very cheaply using an old coffee table and burlap. The link to the project is here http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2012/02/something-new-at-the-preschool.html

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Kristin. That looks wonderful!

  • anna nichols

    Amanda, thank you so much for organizing this list of helpful information! I would LOVE to see more like it – you have an amazing opportunity to glean priceless wisdom from art teachers all over the world………I appreciate all your hard work! As an art teacher who has been working to help other art teachers, I owe you a big THANK YOU!
    Mrs. Anna Nichols
    Visual Art Instructor, grades 6, 7, 8
    Managing the Art Classroom
    artteachershelpal.blogspot.com

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