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Art and Activities Cardboard Creations

How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom

My oldest recently had an opportunity to weave on a loom and thought it was a very fun experience.

I looked up looms for kids online, and while there are many options, wasn’t ready to invest in one. The good news is that you can make one out of cardboard for FREE!

Weaving is one of those magical activities that you can just leave out with a few strips of yarn or fabric and when someone wants to work on it, they can add a few rows and then pick it up again later. No water, rinsing brushes, or major cleanup required. 

And in case you still need convincing, weaving is a really meditative and thoughtful process.

My oldest was back and forth between weaving and playing with racecars this particular day.

There are some beautiful large cardboard loom tutorials online. I’d personally love to give this one by the Weaving Loom a try. But for a really simple cardboard loom, follow the instructions below.

Book Recommendation

There’s an organization called Mayan Hands that provides,

“economic and educational opportunities to Mayan women so that they can bring their families out of extreme poverty as they continue to live within the culture they cherish.”

Mayan Hands

I have a clutch bag and a few baskets from Mayan Hands and all of their Fair Trade weaving goods are beautiful!

Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris by Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri is a wonderful children’s book inspired by Mayan Hands.

It’s an inspiring story about a young girl named Ixchel who wants to carry on the tradition of Mayan women weaving and ends up finding a special use for colorful plastic bags.

My kids love this story and it speaks to so many important issues like honoring cultural and familial traditions, care for the environment, perseverance, and creativity.

Here’s a fun coloring and paper doll printable from the story too.

Now, on to the cardboard loom!

Supply List

  • A piece of cardboard in the size and shape of loom you want to create
  • Scissors
  • String to create the loom
  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • Yarn, fabric, or string for weaving
  • Plastic needle (optional)

Directions

Step 1 – Cut a piece of cardboard to your desired loom size. Measure the distance between loom rows using a tape measure and mark them on the top and bottom. For younger kids, bigger is better. I’d recommend starting with at least one inch space in between rows.
Step 2 – Cut a small tab on each of the loom row markers. Do this on the top and bottom of the loom.
Step 3 – Thread your string into a top corner loom tab from the back of the loom and secure with tape.
Step 4 – Flip the loom over and weave the string up and down through the tabs to create rows.
Step 5 – When you reach the end of the loom, pull the string to the back and secure with tape.
This is what the finished loom should look like.
Step 6 – Using an over/under pattern start to weave yarn through the loom. In this picture, my oldest is using a plastic needle which can be helpful. When you are ready to change colors, simply cut the yarn leaving a tail to tuck into the back later on.
Step 6 – When you have done as much weaving as you like, simply bend the tabs of the loom and slide the string loops and the weaving off the cardboard. Flip over the weaving and tuck the loose threads into the back and secure with tape.
You can put a dowel through the top loops of the weaving and hang it. My oldest wants to turn this weaving into the cover for a pillow so we have a new project ahead of us there.
You don’t even have to finish the weaving if you don’t want to. I personally think they look really interesting and unique on the cardboard. You can just trim the extra yarn.
Have fun playing with different sizes and shapes of looms! You’ll notice in this picture that the long, thin loom strings are being pulled tight in the middle. That happens when you weave too tightly. But it’s fun to experiment and learn about tension and notice differences when you weave differently on different looms.

By the way, we use a lot of Thrive Market boxes in our recycled creations. In case you don’t know about Thrive Market, it’s a wonderful online grocery store chock full of healthy and allergy friendly foods, cleaning supplies, health and beauty, and more. Their boxes are sturdy and great for recycled projects too!

What Will You Create?

If you give this project a try, please share your pictures with us. We’d love to see what you create!