Tutorial: Strip Weaving Paper

Weaving paper strips makes a great trim on a page,  an elegant edge or letterhead-type top, or even a page itself. You probably learned to weave paper in kindergarten, and you probably learned the hard way–holding down vertical   strips with one hand while chanting “over, under, over, under” with a strip you pushed in horizontally (landscape orientation), while trying to keep everything lined up. There is a much easier way.

First step: tape all strips down to desk.

1. Let’s say you are going to weave a piece seven strips of paper wide. It’s best to use an uneven number for the strips you set up to weave through. In the illustration there are seven strips. Place the strips on your desk so the tops are even. Tape the tops of the strips to the desk using a removable masking tape. Make sure the strips are spaced evenly.

2. With your non-dominant hand, pick up the bottom of strips 1, 3, 5, 7 and hold them just off the desk. You can use a small ruler or strip of index card if you like to hold them up if you used very wide strips.  Your hand is fine, too.

3. Using your dominant hand, pick up one of the strips you are weaving with. Slip it under the lifted bottom of the strips, keeping it over the remaining strips (2, 4, 6). Slide the strip to the top, close to the tape.

Snug the woven strip so it is straight.

4. Lift strips 2, 4, 6 with one hand and slide a weaving strip from the bottom to the top, keeping it over strips 1, 3, 5, 7.  Continue this until the weaving is complete.

5. Leave the tape in place. Using glue on a thin brush, pick up the papers on the edge–only the ones on top of a strip of paper, and put a glue dot on the strip it is on. Glue only the top strips on the right and left side. When the glue is dry, remove the tape, turn over the paper, and glue this side as you did the other.

Do not glue the top and bottom, the weaving needs flexibility to work as a kinetic piece. That also means you won’t get good results if you glue it across the gutter in your journal–the page shifts and is bigger when the book is open and smaller when closed. The piece will eventually tear is you glue it across the

Weave from the bottom, lifting alternate strips.


Alternatives: Use one color for the long strips and another for the cross-weaving strips.

Your strips don’t have to be straight. They can be wavy or wiggly, as long as the overall shape is not sharply curved.

White strips make a lovely texture. Glue the weaving down on one page of the journal, cover with a thin coat of ivory paint. Dry. Write over the whole thing.

Weave the piece using white strips, then mark areas you want to color. Dissassemble, color, re-assemble.

Weave loosely, remove the tape, pull the corners to create a diagonal weave. Glue to keep the shape.

–Quinn McDonaldis an art instigator.  She wants people to play with art and stumble across meaningful results. That’s what her book, Raw Art Journaling encourages.

Weaving glued to right side, unglued on left.