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Paper weaving tutorial

Weaving doesn’t just have to be used to make fabric! Use strips cut from magazine pages to weave a colourful and original design. Once you’ve finished weaving, you can easily turn your work into a stylish card or bookmark, or even wall art.

woven paper cards and bookmark

Here are some cards and a bookmark I just made with woven paper. If you’d like to find out how you can make some yourself, continue reading this tutorial…

You will need:

  • Paper! Glossy magazine pages work well; you will also need some thinner paper (e.g. regular copy paper) for the base
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Xacto knife
  • Cutting mat

paper weaving tutorial

1. Cut your base sheet of paper (the white paper in my case) to the size you would like to work with.

2. Decide on the size of your woven squares. Larger squares are easier to weave and work up a lot more quickly! I used 6mm squares; I recommend you use a larger square size (e.g. 1cm) for your first attempt.

3. Cut strips from magazine pages. It doesn’t matter if the pages have text – the small size of each square will render the text unreadable. You can choose a colour palette for your strips, or use random strips – anything will look good! The strips should be slightly longer than the width of your base sheet. You don’t need to cut them to length now – you can always trim them once they are woven.

paper weaving tutorial

4. Use your pencil and ruler to mark up the back side of your base sheet. Mark two horizonal lines, one 1cm from the top and one 1cm from the bottom, then mark vertical lines between the two. The vertical lines should be the same distance apart as the width of your paper strips:

paper weaving tutorial

5. Use your xacto knife and the ruler to cut along all the vertical lines. Take care to leave that 1cm border at the top and bottom intact (uncut). Below, you can just about see the slits I have cut:

paper weaving tutorial

6. Take your first strip of paper and get ready to weave…

paper weaving tutorial

7. Place the strip over the first vertical bar, then slide it under the second bar. Continue to work across the base sheet in this way, weaving the strip alternately over and under each vertical bar.

paper weaving tutorial

8. When it is woven all the way across the base sheet, gently ease the strip right up to the top of the vertical slits.

paper weaving tutorial

9. Now take your next strip, and begin to weave it across the base sheet. This time, start by weaving the strip under the first vertical bar and over the second bar (the opposite way to the first strip). 

paper weaving tutorial

10. Snug the second strip up so it is as close to the first strip as possible. I find it is easiest to weave the next strip away from the previous strip, then wiggle it up to the previous strip once it is woven.

paper weaving tutorial

11. Continue to weave your strips, alternating between starting above and below the first vertical bar. Here is how I ‘snug’ each strip closely up to the previous strip: I turn the work upside down, hold down the bottom of the base sheet securely with one hand, and use my fingertop (NOT a fingernail) to gently drag the paper strip towards me, starting at one edge and dragging each exposed area of the strip down into place. Be slow and delicate – you don’t want the paper to rip or crumple.

paper weaving tutorial

12. When you reach the last strip, it will be very difficult to weave. I find that tweezers help to grab the end of the strip and slide it through each gap, although it does make the end of the strip a bit ragged, so make sure you start with a strip that’s too long, to allow for cutting off the ragged end afterwards. Alternatively, skip this last strip if it’s too difficult to weave through.

paper weaving tutorial

Framing. To easily turn your work into a greeting card or wall art, make a paper or cardboard frame for it. This hides the edges and reduces the amount of finishing you need to do. To do this, cut a shape from the middle of a piece of card, and place it over the woven paper, so the weaving shows through the hole. The frame doesn’t have to be rectangular, and you can mount the woven piece at any angle – experiment to find an effect you like.

Unframed. If you don’t want to use a frame, you can use scissors to trim the edges of each strip flush with the backing paper, or leave them uneven for an arty effect. To keep it all together, glue each sticking-up end of each strip down to the backing paper, then flip over the work, and glue the rest of the strip ends to the backing paper. You can also cut away the top and bottom borders from the base sheet of paper and glue all the ends of the vertical strips to the top or bottom horizonal strip, or you can fold the top and bottom borders behind the work so they don’t show.

woven paper cards and bookmark

What can you make with your woven paper? Here are a few ideas, but I’m sure you can think of many more!

  • Greeting Card. Glue your weaving (framed or unframed) to the front of a folded card.
  • Pen pot. Wrap the woven paper around a something like a can, jar or plastic cup, to make a decorative pen pot. Use double-sided tape to stick the ends to the can.
  • Book cover. Make a woven cover for a handmade notebook or journal.
  • Bookmark. To make a bookmark, once you have glued down all the strip ends (I used Mod Podge for this), seal both sides of the finished piece with a few coats of Mod Podge (or a similar paper sealant) to add strength and keep everything locked together. The nice thing about a woven bookmark is that both sides of the weaving will be on display. (Note: you could also make paper coasters in the same way.)

If you try weaving paper, we’d love to see what you make! Please upload your pics to the Folding Trees Flickr group. Happy weaving!

Comments

Comment from Mrs. K
Time: September 4, 2008, 1:58 am

Instead of cutting a piece of paper in straigt lines for strips, you can also cut wavy/ondulated lines and weave them. You only have to take care of the order.
Or combine two pictures for weaving. One for the base sheet and one for the strips.

Comment from Jan
Time: September 4, 2008, 11:00 am

Awesome.

Pingback from Smitteniche » The Feed Five: September 5th
Time: September 5, 2008, 9:02 am

[...] paper weaving tutorial from Folding Trees — a fun and fabulous way to recycle old magazine pages and create [...]

Comment from Marsha
Time: September 9, 2008, 6:36 pm

This looks like a lot of fun. I can’t wait to try it myself! Thanks for posting this.

Comment from Caitlin
Time: September 10, 2008, 11:43 am

This is absolutely brilliant! I get so many catalogs in the mail and I really think just recycling them is so useless. I love this tutorial–thank you so much!

Pingback from Inspired by Whipup «
Time: September 10, 2008, 1:39 pm

[...] dare say that i am quite inspired here folks!  i may even try out foldingtrees paper weaving tutorial tonight!  i think if you weave the paper and then cut it into shapes it [...]

Comment from se7en
Time: September 17, 2008, 8:47 am

Thanks for reminding me about this fun craft we used it to make: Woven Camouflage Beasts on Safari – not quite as neat and tidy as yours, but heaps of fun! My kids love your paper site and all your wonderful paper goodies.

http://www.se7en.org.za/2008/09/09/woven-camouflage-beasts-on-safari

Comment from Lori Ann
Time: September 21, 2008, 7:49 pm

Yay, a chance to feature a Folding Trees post on my new blog! Linked to in this week’s top 10 for craft tutorials. I picked it for the great, thorough instructions and well-illustrated photos!

See: http://www.simplemakes.com/2008/09/top-10-craft-tutorials.html

Comment from lavu and adi
Time: October 17, 2008, 3:23 am

yap, its marvaleousssss!!!

Comment from Jean Saporito
Time: November 14, 2008, 3:01 pm

This looks like loads of fun. I will have to try it. Thank you so much.

Comment from Delia
Time: July 30, 2009, 8:51 pm

Hello! I found your tutorial.
I would like to translate it into Russian and post it in my site. I will mention you and your site (let me know which one).
Is it possible? What will be your condition?
Delia

Comment from V
Time: August 8, 2009, 11:28 pm

Love your card, must try it soon!
Check out some other card ideas at – http://livealindalife.blogspot.com//livealindalife.blogspot.com/2009/04/these-are-some-greeting-cards-i-made.html

Pingback from Make Your Own Bookmarks: 32 Crafty Ideas & Printables : TipNut.com
Time: March 12, 2010, 6:43 pm

[...] Paper Weaving Bookmarks: Use strips cut from magazine pages to weave a colourful and original design. Once you’ve finished weaving, you can easily turn your work into a stylish bookmark. [...]

Comment from angelina ramirez austria
Time: April 17, 2010, 2:33 am

I love it! am starting to make one. thank you and more power.

Comment from Carolynn
Time: April 22, 2010, 8:36 am

What gorgeous cards can be made using this paper weaving. I’ve bookmarked your tutorial and will be trying it in the future – I only hope it will turn out as lovely as your work does.

Pingback from Parents Only Zone Blog » Blog Archive » Making useful objects from your recycling bin
Time: May 9, 2010, 7:56 pm

[...] regular binder into an amazing album.  You can find the weaving technique used for this project on this page.  It has always bothered me that some food wrappers are not recyclable.  This is such a great way [...]

Comment from iggei
Time: September 26, 2010, 7:25 am

very nice and informative. thanks

Pingback from Tessitura con la carta. | Tina Festa
Time: November 24, 2010, 6:26 pm

[...] http://foldingtrees.com/2008/09/paper-weaving-tutorial/ [...]

Comment from claire
Time: December 2, 2010, 9:45 pm

thanks so much for the awesome idea. i never wove before and it was super easy!;)

Comment from TheBrownieFan
Time: February 21, 2011, 10:49 am

Great Job!! It was so easy and fun. My son had a project for school and this worked perfectly!!

Comment from somia
Time: June 12, 2011, 8:01 am

it z simply a great idea im rather exhilirated.

Pingback from 22 Crafty Ways To Reuse Magazines : Craft Stew
Time: June 22, 2011, 7:14 am

[...] Turn Magazines Into Cards And More - Use a simple in and out weaving method to create cards, bookmarks and ever wall decor. [...]

Pingback from 22 Crafty Ways To Reuse Magazines | Green Eco Services
Time: June 25, 2011, 11:13 am

[...] Turn Magazines Into Cards And More – Use a simple in and out weaving method to create cards, bookmarks and ever wall decor. [...]

Pingback from Crafts Made With Junk Mail
Time: July 12, 2011, 5:31 am

[...] Paper weaving tutorial Once you’ve finished weaving, you can easily turn your work into a stylish card or bookmark, or even wall art.http://foldingtrees.com/2008/09/paper-weaving-tutorial/#more-889 [...]

Comment from Hannah
Time: December 10, 2011, 9:52 pm

I will definately have to try this! It looks fun and easy.

Comment from jemarie Bermudo
Time: February 26, 2012, 4:41 am

i hope to see for more design soon…thank you… :)
but actually i’m glad to see this design because i am leaning on it… <3…muah

Comment from nimmy
Time: June 21, 2012, 3:10 am

truly lovely…:)

Comment from Super girl
Time: July 21, 2012, 6:24 am

I will try this later it is soooooooooooo easy!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :))))))))))) :D

Comment from priyanka jain
Time: September 19, 2012, 12:19 pm

It is realy intresting…. plz update me with more designs…

Pingback from Reusing Old Materials: Part 2 « Paint The Sky Yellow
Time: September 29, 2012, 5:48 pm

[...] If you want to learn how to make the weaving pattern for the coaster, click here. If you want to go ahead and make an actual gift card, here’s the link! [...]

Comment from armina deen
Time: December 23, 2012, 7:29 am

MAGANDA ANG PAGKAGAWA…………..NICE TALAGA..I LIIKE IT!! :)

Comment from the kamster
Time: March 28, 2013, 7:55 am

I saw something like this in an arts and crafts book and made a basket out of woven strips of wrapping paper.

Comment from Jude
Time: May 1, 2013, 9:00 pm

I also do paper weaving as cards, bookmarks, wrapping it on cans as covers, artistic book covers, etc. My favorite thing to do (& it uses short strips that are left over) is take the weavings and cut them into various shapes, glue the ends down, and piece them together like a quilt or mosaic. I also look at a city map (Istanbul, Turkey), take illustration board and pencil in the streets, then fill in the city blocks with the woven shapes. (I’m a map lover) You can view this on the website above and see what is looks like.

Comment from a young human
Time: December 7, 2013, 3:55 am

i use this teqnique to frame some of my art by cutting the base paper onto the shape desired.

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