Weaving # 5: Weaving on Objects - Recycled Cardboard Containers Make Great Looms!


I have been weaving on a little different kind of "cardboard loom"! Weaving on cardboard objects! In this case cardboard containers! The weaving becomes part of the container, embellishing and strengthening at the same time.


Personally, I love embellishing storage containers with weaving. My first was woven using yarn as the warp and recycled paper as the weft.


When I shared the storage container a few years back, I did not include a tutorial. But I have had so many requests asking how it is done that I decided to put together this little tutorial. 

However, instead of weaving paper, I am weaving with yarn.  It is a little easier to do and will probably be more durable in the long run.

1. Start with any cardboard container. Oatmeal canisters are perfect. But so are almost any cardboard canister of any size. And of course - don't overlook the possibilities using cardboard cereal or cracker boxes! Any size or shape. (My next project - two square cracker boxes!)

Note: Small containers like tea boxes can be embellished with a bit of weaving and filled with candy or cookies or a small gift! OR threads!  OR embroidery floss! A pretty way to "wrap" a gift and make the "wrapping" re-usable!

I think kids would love making these - for storing all their secret treasures. I tend to weave very tight - but it is not necessary - as long as most of the graphics disappear. (OR glue plain paper to the surface before weaving if the graphics bother you!)


2. Use an ice-pic to make holes in your canister or box as shown. One row near the top and one row near the bottom. (If you are sharing this craft with a child - I recommend YOU take care of hole punching!

I usually place my holes about 3/8 inch below the rim so the yarn won't interfere with the lid. I usually leave the same allowance at the bottom.


If you are using a cereal box (or something similar) - make your holes about 1/2" from the bottom and top. (I usually like to draw a pencil guideline so the holes pretty much line up.

Because cereal and cracker boxes are not quite as sturdy as cardboard canisters, before making the holes, I recommend placing a couple layers of shipping box cardboard cut to size on the bottom. Glue into place if you like but not necessary. (For small boxes, the added support is not necessary.)

Your row of bottom holes should be made right above the cardboard. And once the warp is in place, it will hold the cardboard at the bottom.



3. Warp your "looms" using a tapestry needle threaded with worsted weight yarn with very little give. (Some yarns are quite stretchy and are not a good choice.)

The images above show the warping process!

When you run out of yarn, simply tie on more using a square knot.


4. Once warping is complete, begin weaving! This process can be done with fingers - but I prefer using a tapestry needle as it seems to go much faster.

5. Change yarn by tying a square knot. If you like texture, cut the ends about 3/8 to 1/2" and let whatever happens - happen! If you don't want the knots to show - cut the ends about 3/4" long and lifting the weaving slightly with your needle, tuck them behind the weaving.

6. Finish off the top of the cereal box with a whip stitch around the top edge - using the holes already in place. Then weave several strands of bulky yarn through the whip stitch yarns. 

This adds a bit of strength to the top edge and makes it look much prettier!  Adding more rows than needed to fill the space will result in a  "buldge" which will cover the holes quite nicely. (Compare the paper storage container to the pink and green container to see what I mean.)

7. The bottom edge! The bottom edge of the canisters look just fine - as you can see! But I am not crazy about that bright yellow strip along the bottom of the cereal box.

I haven't yet decided what to do with it but am toying with either coloring it with a sharpie or glueing yarn around the edge. Probably I will go with option #2!

If you have another idea - please share!

how do you begin the weave?

how do you begin the weave? Do I need a knot to begin. I am doing it with my 5.5 years old. I hope it is not too young to start. All she tried was paperweaving at school. She can braid.

Thank you. These are fantastic.

You could also adhere a nice

You could also adhere a nice contact paper to the edges of the container before punching holes too, and use yarn colors to complement the paper's colors.

i think I'll weave the bottom

i think I'll weave the bottom also just using the woven edges around the bottom to connect to. It wouldn't be attached to the box but it would hold bc the edge is attached.

So awesome!! Thank you!!!!!!

So awesome!! Thank you!!!!!!

Add card stock at the bottom

Add card stock at the bottom and top with hot glue before adding the holes so you don't have to worry about the bright yellow line. I don't know how to add pictures other wise I'd show you how it looks. Thanks for such a great idea!

So glad you like the idea

So glad you like the idea Naomi!  I hope you have as much fun as I did weaving!!!

You mentioned one of the

You mentioned one of the steps is "warping" what does that mean, and how do you do it? (Sorry, I'm not very knowledgeable on the weaving process). Thanks!

Don't apologize!  I am sure

Don't apologize!  I am sure you are not alone!!  And a very good question to ask!

Warp is the yarn that is secured to a loom that provides the framework for weaving.  So in the case these simple boxes, it is the yarn that is strung through the holes and creates the vertical bars through which the weaving is done.  The yarns used to weave in and out among the warp yarns are called weft.

In the case of a large floor loom or a table top loom, the warp would be all those millions of yarns secured at both ends of the loom - looking almost like piano wires!

Here are a couple links that may be of help:

Simple weaving part 1

Simple weaving part 2

Weaving on a cardboard loom

That last one is so great for new weavers and I have created everything from journal covers to ornaments using it!

Hope this helps!

Okay. Okay Okay. This is

Okay. Okay Okay. This is over and above. a person could faint from this!

I love this soo much. I would probably glue something around the edge, although I don't mind it.

This is so great for all my use of recycled containers. Oh, and HANGING FOOD BOX BOARD ON THE WALL WITH WEAVING OVER IT!

sorry about the yelling.

What a cool idea! I had been

What a cool idea! I had been thinking of making some kind of containers to store my husbands medications; these would be perfect. And, he would like it that I made something for him :-).

I did a bit of weaving today, my first lavender wand! Wow, it was fun to make. I'm thinking about Christmas, too :-).

You mentioned you didn't like

You mentioned you didn't like the yellow showing at bottom of weaving on the cereal box . . . how about adhering a bit of fabric or paper to bottom of box before punching the holes. That way you could punch through the box and the fabric/paper and your weaving would cover the "seam". Think I'll try the canister weaving with fabric first, and then try the box idea.

Karen!  Why didn't I think of

Karen!  Why didn't I think of that!!!  Let me know how it works for you - pleeeeeeeeze!

Pam, How do you keep coming

Pam, How do you keep coming up with these? You are incredible! These look like so much fun. I plan on making these up on my off nights,(when I don't want to do an ongoing project), to use for Christmas gifts. This is the second time I've written you about Christmas in the same week. Can you tell I start early? Thank you for another great idea.

You are welcome!  So glad to

You are welcome!  So glad to find people liking it so much.  

Makes me happy to know I am not alone in starting Xmas making "early".  

Super idea! And I have a BIG

Super idea! And I have a BIG oatmeal container to start on! Woohoo!

Woah!! Totally sweet

Woah!! Totally sweet idea!!!!!!!!!!!

(And is there any reason you can't put the lower cardboard holes on the bottom of the box, working your way up over the corner for a seamless look?)

Totally doing this with the boys.

Elizabeth!  What a GREAT

Elizabeth!  What a GREAT idea!  Having only worked with the canisters with metal rims, I got stuck in that rut.  Your idea should totally work and I can't wait to try it out. THANK YOU!!

Great idea. Great

Great idea.
Great directions.
Great daisies!

Wish my painted daisies had

Wish my painted daisies had been blooming for this shoot!  Looks like they are slow growers!  Maybe in time for a fall project!

I LOVE this idea! I'm

I LOVE this idea! I'm thinking weaving fabric strips - fantastic.
Thanks you clever clogs you!

I love your idea of weaving

I love your idea of weaving with fabric strips!  I loved how the paper strips worked out and i think fabric should give a similar result - only softer looking.  Great idea!