3 Tips for Weaving with Young Students

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.

loomfront copy 2

loomback copy 2


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…

paperweaving copy 2

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!

yarnbuffet copy

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.

yarntray copy


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!

Amanda Heyn

Learning Team

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. 


  • Abi

    I warp with alternating colors of string label the sides of the loom with the color initial and an arrow. When students get to the other side they know to pick up the yellow strings because of the Y and they remember to put their yarn in from the correct side which saves so much time trying to correct problems. I have had students as young as first grade adding rya and doing block colors, where they weave half way across and come back and weave the other half with another color. Additionally we use our weavings as the bodies for people, because we all know the start pulling tighter and we end up with triangular looking weavings. For girls the weaving is used like a dress, wide part at the bottom and for boys the wide part is used as the shoulders of a shirt. Additionally I will do pot holder looms, straw looms, finger weaving, plate weaving and inkle looms with students. I prefer to weave at the end of the year when there is a lot of chaos going on in the school weaving helps relax the students.

    • Great idea to save it until the end of school- it really does relax the kids because they have to concentrate.

      • Patricia Groe

        What is the trick to getting the weaving off of the cardboard loom?

        • It’s a bit tedious- you have to cut across the strings in the back and then tie the loose ends together at the top and bottom of the weaving. It’s good project to do while watching tv or on a long car ride!

          • Patricia Groe

            Thank you for your advise… I’m thinking about having my students practice tyeing knots at the beginning of the year with scrap string, that way they know how to do it themselves before they do their weaving project.

          • That’s a great idea! As you know, knot-tying is something kids just don’t know how to do. For the sake of time, I usually just do it myself, but I wish you the best of luck! :)

    • Margaret Roddey O’Neal

      I would love to see your yarn people.

  • Margaret Roddey O’Neal

    We use paper in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade then in 4th we warp and weave with yarn. It is a chore and chaos ensues for several minutes but we survive and then the fun begins.
    I put the yarn in copy paper boxes with the lid on and run the yarn through small holes in the lid. You can get 9 to 12 different colors in each box. You just have to remind the kids(over and over) to cut away from the hole or it will snap back in.
    We also use those pointy sticks you get with the scratch art paper to help us weave faster. Just tape yarn on with a tiny piece of masking tape.
    There is a fantastic 6 minute youtube video that shows all the fancy stuff. It is by I.K. Tolbert. It’s called, Weaving on a Cardboard Loom. I show this several times.

  • Susan Lyke

    Two years ago, Family Fun magazine ran an article about cooperative weaving on a hula hoop using torn circles of tee shirts. We used it in our kindergarten class as an optional activity during math centers. The students loved it and did well (esp. when an adult was present or able to dart in and monitor). We ended up with a small, circular rug for our room.

  • Laura

    I teach art to prek 3 to 8th, and I always do weaving with third grade and seventh…with the third graders, I teach paper weaving first, then I literally spend a day teaching the third graders how to make a knot. I refuse to knot their strings, because in theory if they can tie their shoes they can make a knot. I have a big collection of red shoe laces, and I have them practice knotting one string to another. When they feel they are ready, they approach my desk ( the only time I actually sit, haha) and they show me how they can knot. Once they do, they “pass the test” and next class can start their weaving.

  • Jummai Emeruwa

    its really a task getting the grade k kids to prepare their looms, but with these tips, I’m sure my next weaving class will be easier and faster.Thanks!

  • Kristin

    I love the idea of weaving with paper before yarn on the loom. Great! I also like to warp (prep) the loom for the kids, but I use two colors and alternate them. That way I can say go Under all the blues and Over the whites. There are always a few kids who this technique really helps. Also, I pick up old wine boxes at the liquor store for distributing yarn. It keeps them separated and tidy.

  • Debra McDowell

    Great idea’s. I’ve always been afraid to weave with my k-4 classes. I think I’m going to try this.

  • zia joaquin

    Great tips. All the first grade teachers think I am crazy teaching weaving! Glad to know I am not alone.

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