Paper weaving

Lesson by Christine Miller, Dallas, TX




Adaptive for Elementary through Secondary

Paper Weavings by Author
Top:  Magazine images woven together / Bottom: Photographs woven together Paper is a wonderful material to work with for teachers for a couple of great reasons:  it’s cheap and plentiful.  Weaving is easy to incorporate into your art curriculum!  It is multidisciplinary, multicultural and has multiple applications from young students to AP art programs.  It is not necessary to have specialized equipment or tools to get some wonderful products that are limited only by your students’ imaginations! Scroll down for the lesson, or download the PDF here:  Weaving with Paper Weaving Through Drawing

(Student drawing with weaving applied)

Lesson Plan Goals & Objectives
  • Students will design a composition utilizing 2 sets of elements that will be woven together
  • Students will use math skills in deciding width and length sizes of elements
  • Students will create a composition from interweaving 2 sets of elements together
  • Students will make decisions about focal point in their composition and how the woven elements affect the focal point
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Product by teacher in Art Education Workshop

National Core Arts Standards
  • Make art or design with various materials and tools to explore personal interests, questions, and curiosity.
  • Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches.
  • Speculate about processes an artist uses to create a work of art.
  • Analyze multiple ways that images influence specific audiences.
Tools & Materials
  • Sketchbook or drawing paper for designing
  • Pencil or drawing tool
  • Images from magazines, novelty papers, original drawings, prints, paintings on photographs, wall paper samples, fabric, newspapers, etc.
  • Tape – scotch or construction
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife and blades
  • Cutting Board
  • Glue
  • 12 x 18 white paper for foundation (or other size to accommodate the weaving)
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Advanced application of idea – woven sheet metal plate and engraved used for printmaking.

Artist – Christine Miller – Ties that Bind

  • Warp – vertical elements of the weaving
  • Weft – horizontal elements of the weaving
  • Composition – the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art
  • Focal point – the point where elements converge and draw the eye; the emphasis of a composition.


  • Jackie Abrams –
  • Joell Baxter
  • Ellen Jackson -
  • Suzanne Pretty -
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Artist Ellen Jackson – Tapestry #0061

  • Step 1 – In any paper weaving activity, it is easiest to leave the top edge of the warp intact to keep the warp elements connected during the weaving process.  Cut vertically up the paper, stopping within a ½” or so.  Tape these connected elements to a paper foundation.
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  • Step 2 – The weft elements are then woven across the warp elements going over, under, over, under until the weft has traveled all across the warp.  The next element is woven in an opposite way, going under, over, under over until it has traveled across the warp. 
  • Step 3 – As you can see in the drawing above, the elements can all be the same size, or can vary in widths.  They can be cut straight, the can be curved, be undulating or form stair steps.  When the elements are not straight, they need to be woven in the order they were cut so one piece fits another like a puzzle.  If the strips are cut in regular widths, they can be mixed up or woven in order – each method will produce different results.
There are MANY ways this technique can be incorporated into students’ artwork!  Here are just a few ideas – see if you can come up with your own application.
Examples of Work Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 4.07.00 PMIn this example above (by author), the backpack of the magazine image was cut into narrow warp strips with an X-Acto knife.  The old map magazine image was woven across (the weft) carefully, in order not to tear the warp strips.  The weft strips were woven in a twill pattern (over two, under one for one row, then stepping over one element and repeating over two, under one for the next row).  This created a twill weaving pattern and allows the weft strip to be more visible in order to maximize the image being more visibly cohesive. These are just a few things that can be woven together:
  • Magazine pages
  • Large scale posters
  • Photographs
  • Students’ original prints, paintings, or drawing on paper
  • Specialty papers
  • Metallic papers
Students original drawings can be cut and manipulated to create interesting contrasts between the drawing and the weave structure. Additional layering can be build up on the positive side of the image for relief sculpture details. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.32.55 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.33.13 PM Encourage your students to think about the images they are weaving together – how will size, shape and placement of the strips emphasize their concept?
Procedures Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 4.31.04 PM

Artist – Christine Miller – altered book page

Woven sections can be incorporated into collage, paintings, multi-media work, altered books, visual journals, books and portfolios. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.47.19 PM

Student example

Different solid colored papers can be woven together to explore color and weave effect to see how the eye mixes colors. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.49.26 PM

Artist Emilio Aponte-Sierra - Blondie

Three dimensional forms can be created into unstructured forms or into precise shapes working the weaving over an armature. Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 5.50.59 PM

Artist Jackie Abrams – Sculptural Baskets and forms above and below

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