Woven Paper Art

Woven Paper Art by Zim on a Whim

Over a year ago, I made this woven paper art and have gotten many compliments on it. I think it’s a great project, especially if you need certain colors in your decor and can’t find exactly what you like in the stores. The texture makes it so much more interesting. You don’t need to have any skills at all for this project! Even the kids can do it. My two got in on the action and did their own last year, too. Because you are weaving damp paper, I suggest that you do this project with kids who are a little older, say 10 and up. It can get a little frustrating for the little ones, but they can certainly help with the “painting”.

I did another one today so I could show you how to do one yourself. I got the idea and instructions from Gail over at Can’t Stop Making Things for my original projects. I used the food coloring like she shows you, but today I tried it with watercolors. The food coloring can get very messy and I wanted more control. The watercolors will be more muted, and the food coloring will be more vibrant. It depends on the look for which you are going, and how messy you want to get. Try both ways if you want! My instructions are for using the watercolors. If you want to use food coloring, refer to Gail’s post on how to get your paper “painted”. You will need a paper shredder, but if you don’t have one you can make strips using an X-acto knife and ruler. The shredder gives the paper a ragged edge which gives it more texture, but either way will be fine!

What you will need:
8.5 x 11″ white cardstock (You can find this at craft stores and in stores like Target where they have craft sections.)
Watercolors (Crayola is fine!)
Paint brush (or fingers!)
Paper Shredder
Photo frame with mat

*Note: Your finished artwork will be about half the size of the paper your start with. If you need it larger, just make 2 or more paintings.

1. Start by painting a design on your cardstock with your watercolors. Use more water for a more muted look, or less water for deeper colors.

2. Put your artwork through an empty paper shredder. Make sure it goes in straight or some of your strips will be unusable.
3. Remove strips from shredder, using caution. They will still be a little damp and can tear.
4. Count the strips that made it through the shredder okay, and divide them in half. Don’t worry about keeping them in the same order.
5. Get another piece of paper (any white paper will do), lay half of the strips down vertically next to each other, and tape the strips to the top of the paper to hold in place. Keep them close together, but not overlapping. (I had some casualties, so I was only able to get 10 strips across and 10 strips down.)

woven paper art - taping
6. Starting a little bit down from the top, start weaving the strips in horizontally. Under, over, under, over, etc. Make sure to alternate each strip – if you started with the first one over then under, then the next strip will start under then over. Capiche?

woven paper art - weaving
7. Try to keep them close together, with no space in between. If you start the second row a little further down, you can weave more easily and then scrunch it up carefully under the first row. Handle with care, as the strips can tear easily. Repeat until you use up all the strips.

woven paper art - complete
8. Let the paper dry completely.
9. You can leave it all taped to the other paper if you want, and cut to fit your selected frame.
10. Frame and enjoy your work of art!

Tip: I prefer to use a larger frame with a big mat that has a small opening, or a frame that has a shadow-box type of look.

I did this one last year and the frame and mat have a shadowbox effect:

woven paper art - orange-red

These are two that my kids did and we used a large mat with a small opening:

woven paper art - black frame      woven paper art - white frame

Give it a try and see what wonderful artwork you can make yourself!