Weaving can be a fun and interesting craft activity for children of all ages. Beginners can opt for easy projects and experiment with different designs and materials as they master the technique. Art courses often include basket weaving crafts and teachers need to plan the class beforehand keeping in view the children's interest and skill levels.
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Craft Preparation Tips
Decide what materials will be used beforehand. Select reeds, plastic straps, rope, ribbons or any similar flexible materials. Measure and cut the spokes, depending on the size of the basket, for the students so they can start working on the project as soon as the class begins. Keep the spokes longer so they can be trimmed when you reach the desired height. If you are using reeds, wrap them into coils and soak them in warm water for 30 minutes to make them flexible and easy to work with. Explain the weaving steps using simple illustrations on the board so all the children can easily view them.
Choosing the Basket Base
Select wooden bases when working with younger children, as they are easy to work with. Drill holes in the ply-board prior to class and set up the spokes in the base. When working with older children, you can let them prepare the base using spokes, making sure they set up the base spokes in straight lines and with even spacing to avoid lopsided baskets. Start weaving the sides when all the bases are checked and approved.
Basic Basket Weaving Structures
There are various types of weaving techniques.
With square weaving or plaiting, pokes are interwoven to form an open or closed checkerboard design. Flat spokes are usually used in this technique. This is good for starters as it is easier and kids can easily work the interweaving pattern using paper, flat reed, birch bark, rope, ribbons and any other flat and flexible materials.
In the round technique, the strands are coiled tightly and stitched together with a soft and flexible material like raffia to form a round shaped basket using round or any thin and flexible material. The finished basket looks like a stack of coiled rope or rings stacked together. Straw, rope, willow or grass is often used for making this type of baskets.
The melon technique uses two sets of spokes or strands are looped together. It is also called twined or wailing weave pattern. This is a more complex technique and may not be suitable for children's crafts as it requires two or more weaving elements to encircle the base material by crossing and wrapping the warp in the basket rows. Natural materials like reed, roots and waxed linen are often used to make these baskets.
Recycled Basket Weaving Projects
Children can utilise old cans and containers as bases to create interesting basket crafts. Mark vertical segments in the containers and cut them to create the base spokes. Select a weaving material and weave through the sections using the interlacing technique. You can also use strips from old newspapers, leftover coils of rope, strings or ribbons to craft woven stationary holders or jewelery boxes.
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