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Soda Straw Weaving Loom

Here’s a great recycling craft for kids. Did you know you could weave on soda straws! You may have a few unused straws from fast food restaurants in your car’s glove box or a kitchen drawer. The Imagination Factory encourages you to help save landfill space by recycling them to make a simple loom.

Supplies

Three or four plastic soda straws
Yarn scraps
Masking tape
Scissors
Large needle (optional)

Instructions

There are many items you can weave on a soda straw loom. You may want to make a bracelet or a bookmark. If you are making a bracelet, cut all the straws so they are about 4 or 5 inches long. The straws for a bookmark should be about 6 or 7 inches long.

Now you are ready to warp or thread the loom. Measure the length of a straw and add 5 or 6 inches to this number. Cut one piece of yarn this length for each straw in your loom. Thread the straw by dropping the yarn through it. This may be easier to do if you shake a threaded needle through each straw.

With their ends even, tie an overhand knot in the strands of yarn. Push the straws up to the knot, and tape them together at the top by running the tape around the straws, front to back. Now you are ready to weave! Tie one end of the yarn onto an outside straw just below the tape. Start weaving by going over that straw and under the next.

Continue the over-under pattern until you want to change colors. Knot the yarn onto an outside straw, and cut it off from the ball or skein. Begin a new color as before, and continue weaving. Tuck loose ends inside the weaving. If you use yarn made of several colors (variegated), you will need to tie only the knots at the beginning and end, because colors will change automatically.

When you come to the end of the soda straws, tie off the yarn and cut it. Remove the masking tape. Hold the weaving lightly in one hand as you pull out the straws, one at a time. Push the weaving up to the knot, and finish it by tying another overhand knot in the other end just below the weaving. If necessary, trim the ends so they are even.

It's possible to weave something longer, like a headband or belt, with a soda straw loom. Just make sure the warp threads, the ones that go through the straws, are long enough to tie around your head or waist. Don't cut the straws, because you will need all the length and then some.

When you are weaving a longer item and you come to the end of the straws, remove the masking tape. Then move some of the weaving off the straws and up onto the warp threads. Do this by pulling the straws partially out of the weaving, being careful to leave the last inch or so attached to the straws. Repeat this process as often as necessary, and continue weaving till you come to the end.


Tips and Tricks:

Weaving on straws with a large diameter, like milk shake straws, will be easier to thread. You can recycle used straws for this project, but be sure to rinse well before using. This loom is small, so you can take it with you on car trips and to doctor appointments. Probably the best thing about the soda straw loom is that it can be used over and over and over again!

This is Art Lesson #9 and you find more information about the history of weaving on The Imagination Factory. 

This craft reprinted courtesy of The Imagination Factory.

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The Imagination Factory

Listed by the American Library Association as one of the best online resources for kids, The Imagination Factory shows visitors how to make art using materials most people throw away. Some of the activities include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, papier-mâché, marbling and crafts, and a special section for holiday art and crafts is featured. A Trash Matcher helps visitors find appropriate art activities for the solid waste they have available, and a feature called the Badge Matcher allows Brownies, Girl Scouts and their leaders to quickly locate art activities that help satisfy badge requirements.

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