Paper weaving is a cheap, fun and effective craft for kids to try out. It’s perfect! You should have all the materials you need in your house already and the biggest difficulties your kids will have will be choosing how they put their craft to good, decorative use. Paper weaving is a really good way to introduce younger children to the ideas and skills behind basic sewing and needlework skills.
Making a place mat is a good example of the basic craft of paper weaving.
Start by choosing a sturdy piece of base paper or coloured card for the design.
Fold the base in half so the two shortest sides meet.
Using a pair of scissors cut strips across the paper about 1 inch apart. Make sure that you don’t cut right to the end. You need to keep a border of about an inch. When you open the base out again, you should have a series of slits along the longest length of the base with a good ‘frame border’ all around.
Once the base is prepared you need to think about strips of paper to weave with. You can include as many different colours and patterns as you like in the design. Choose plain paper in a variety of contrasting shades or even paper strips cut from magazines or newspaper. This creates some really interesting effects. The kids can experiment by cutting either straight strips of paper for their weaving or strips with scalloped or jagged edges to add something special to the finished design. Torn paper edges can look very artistic and different.
Weave your strips of paper in and out of the slits of the base paper making sure that the loose ends are all positioned on a single side of the base. This gives a tidy finish to the ‘right’ side of the work.
If you’re making place mats for the family, try adding cut-out letters and initials to each of the place mats to personalise them. You could also add small cut out shapes in a contrasting colour, this could be hearts, stars or diamonds.
To use your paper weaving as a place mat, you will need to protect it from spillages, wear and tear. The best way to do this is by laminating the finished work, either with a machine at home or paying a small charge at a high street print shop.
More Paper Weaving Ideas
To make a larger scale piece of art, use a large piece of base card and glue together a collage of paper weaving. To make the collage more interesting, experiment with different finishes for the paper strips, using lots of different colours and patterns. The finished effect is like paper patchwork.
When you make homemade cards, add a small panel of pretty paper weaving to the front of the card for a piece of contemporary design. Use paper weaves to cover gift boxes and tubs. You can decorate your design with glitter if you like.
Paper weaving is a simple skill which lays the groundwork for needlework and sewing crafts, with no expensive materials to buy and striking results, paper weaving is a winner.