Sunday, May 29, 2011

RE(used) Weavings

I like weaving. I expose the students to different types of weaving every year except 4th grade. Two years ago, 5th grade made weavings out of watercolor experiments with warm and cool colors. Last year, I opted for a different weaving experience. We made cardboard looms, then wove with plastic bags---a great way to reuse disposable grocery bags! While I have some bags available in common colors (black, white, and red---the color most often used by vegetable vendors), the fun is seeing what students are able to find in their own homes! Baby blue, orange, pink, yellow, green, even metallic silver! Thin plastic works best, though we take whatever we can get. After they've warped their loom with translucent bags, they weave back and forth with strips cut from their colorful collections. Rare colors become extra valuable, with students trading and sharing their treasures. I emphasize a limited color palette (4-5 colors) and suggest patterning, but neither consideration is a requirement.

To finish off the project, students tie two warp strings together, then use extra strips of bags to create fringe.

This year, we had a little extra fun and donned appropriate headgear while weaving.


Rina said...

I love this project! How did you cut the bags into strips? How long are your strips? This would be a great earth day project.

Stephanie Melachrinos said...

To warp the loom, we use thin clear bags. The bags are very soft and available on a roll here in China. You tear off each bag individually. Think a roll like the produce bags at the grocery store, but a very soft, thin, clear material. I fold each bag accordion-style from right to left. Once folded, make one smooth cut that goes horizontally across the bag, creating loops. We then put a finger from each hand in the loop, then twist it. The twisted bag then becomes the warp once each twist is taped to the back of the loom.

For the weft, I cut the bags either direction and open the loops so they are one long strip. The strips vary in length based on the bag dimensions. When the students get to the end of a strip, we use a square knot to tie on another strip, either the same color or a new color.

For both the warp and the weft, I make strips that are about 1cm wide.

Truthfully, it is a lot of trial and error and making due with the resources you have available. Experiment a little and see what works for you.

Rina said...

Thanks Stephanie! I will need to experiment :)
Rina at

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