Warm Up to Weaving With the Right Lesson Plans

Explore the process of creating the fabrics, cloths, blankets, and rugs that warm the chilly months of winter with weaving lesson plans.

By Alison Panik



Fabric is something many students take for granted. As they choose which pair of jeans to put on each day, few will think about what went into weaving the denim fabric of the pants. Weaving is the process of creating cloth by crossing two fibers under and over each other. Most often done on looms, weaving is not only a craft, it is also a major industry in many countries. The most important technical element in the many weaving mills found in cities around the world is the weaving loom. A loom is the frame that holds the threads under tension so that weaving can take place. The warp threads are aligned vertically on the loom. The weft threads are woven horizontally across the warp threads to form the woven cloth. There are different kinds of looms used in weaving, including hand held looms, table looms of all sizes, and large, modern machine looms. Find ways to expose your students to different kinds of looms to help them grasp the full range of the weaving process. 

Weaving can be a valuable art-based learning activity both in the regular classroom and in the art classroom. Weaving provides a link to history and culture. Students can make math and music connections as they explore different weaving patterns and compare them to rhythms and numeric patterns. Exploring nature’s weavers, the arachnid family, can also be a fun way to compare the human craft of weaving with the survival craft of spiders.

Because weaving requires concentration and slower movements, it can also be a nice change of pace for students who live in a face-paced , technology-based, modern world. Often used in art therapy, weaving and other fiber arts have been proven to lower pulse rate and blood pressure, thereby calming and relaxing the physical body. Weaving also offers a sense of achievement as the woven fabric grows and grows on the loom. Problem-solving skills get plenty of exercise while weaving. And the action of weaving makes use of both visual and kinesthetic/tactile skills at the same time, facilitating hand-eye coordination, left-right coordination, and concentration skills.

Have I convinced you yet? Weaving gives children a unique process for creativity that I believe every child should experience. The lesson plans below provide a variety of exciting weaving opportunities for your classroom:

Weaving Lesson Plans: 

Paper Weaving

Introduce the concept of weaving to children in kindergarten through third grades with a basic paper weaving lesson that makes a colorful impact. Solicit donations of weavings from families and other teachers to create a display of woven items for students to explore with their eyes. Prepare paper weaving examples ahead of time to inspire students.

Philippine Banig Weaving

Explore the Philippine culture while learning a new multi-step weaving technique. The sequential order of steps may seem daunting at first read, but as fourth grade and older students discover the rhythm of this weaving process, they use their perception and thinking skills, while at the same time connecting geometry with visual art and culture. This activity is a gem. Be sure to practice the steps yourself first so you can discover your own strategies.

Weaving with Seed Beads on a Bead Loom

This lesson would be an artistic way to connect to studies of Native American cultures or geometric figures for upper elementary and middle school students.  Includes steps for building your own cardboard bead looms. Introduce the history and techniques. Provide materials and instruction to help students build their own looms. When students get rolling, this can be a great way for them to use free time constructively and creatively. 

Beginning Weaving on a Cardboard Loom

I like this lesson because of the breadth of information included, particularly the illustrations of different kinds of weaves, which can be a great resource for weavers of all ages. The extensions offer exciting options for inspiring students in sixth through ninth grades to be even more creative and expressive with their weaving. Invite students to invent and experiment with weaving on embroidery hoops, chicken wire, and other suggested items.

Watercolor and Weaving is Wonderful

This website clearly lays out a 3-step process for creating unique artwork combining watercolor with weaving techniques. If possible, project the steps from this website for your students using an LCD projector or other media available to you. The visual presentation of the process has more impact than the written instructions. Also inspiring are the finished artwork samples. This lesson is for students in grades 6 through 12.

Elementary Art Guide

Alisonpanik thumb

Alison Panik