Stick and Yarn Spiderwebs
Yield: One spiderweb
My kids love to get into the spirit around Halloween and decorate our house. While it’s easy to run out and buy decorations, I love to focus on simple, spooky crafts we can make ourselves with few supplies. Spiders have long been associated with Halloween and are believed to possess supernatural abilities. If you witness a spider weaving a web, it’s not hard to imagine why people think this! In the fall, I find myself transfixed at the windows watching garden spiders weave webs on the rosebushes outside. She nimbly pulls silky thread from her stomach and turning it into her masterpiece. Since spiders use these strong, sticky silk webs to catch prey, while you weave these webs it is nice opportunity to think and talk about the cycle of life.
This craft allows you to weave a web simply with branches and yarn. You forage for branches outside, tie together and encircle with yarn. You can make small webs with short branches or scale the size up by choosing larger branches. For an easier web, you can choose a branch with several branches on it and weave the yarn around those branches. There are so many different options and you can’t go wrong. You can also go wild with the yarn colors you choose. While white is classic, you could use rainbow yarn or make an assortment of colors. We like to put the Chestnut Spiders (instructions below) in the webs or have them hang down from the web on a piece of yarn. You can use these to hang in your window, put in plants or hang in trees outside. You can also place these webs on a shelf or altar and tuck photographs or drawings into them.
- 3 branches of similar size
- Ball of yarn
Hold the three sticks together in the center with your fingers. Space the outer branches evenly from each other so they only overlap in the center. Tie a knot around the center of branches and then wrap the yarn around the center axis of the branches until it is tightly bound. Tie another knot. This is the frame for your web.
Now moving out in concentric rings, wrap the yarn around the branch and then around the next branch until you have moved around the frame. Make sure the yarn is taut or your web will be loose. Keep this process going around the frame and moving up the branches until you reach the outer branches. Tie another knot and cut yarn.
To use: Hang around your house, in plants or outside in trees. Welcome the Chestnut Spiders to their new home.
Yield: One spider
These spiders are so fun to make, you might soon find a whole array of them crawling around your house! October is a perfect time to make a multitude of spiders, as it is the time of year that they are the most active. You might notice more spiders inside and outside your house, but please treat them with care. Spiders do a lot of nice things for us (like eat mosquitoes) and they ask we respect them in return.
Spiders are an important part of our ecosystem and making this craft feels like a good opportunity to talk to kids about how incredible spiders are and get to celebrate them. The spider is not an insect but an arachnid. There are over 45,000 types of spiders in the world! Many spiders pass away in autumn after laying their egg sac, but many survive the winter and can live for several years up until 20 years, like the tarantula. Spiders lay up to around 200 eggs at a time, which sure means a lot of spiderlings!
For this recipe, we use loose horse chestnuts that we forage for in our neighborhood. Just be careful of the spiny shell while you are harvesting. I prefer to collect chestnuts that have fallen out. You could also use acorns, hickory nuts or stones. If you use stones, you will need to glue the legs on.
- 1 unshelled horse chestnut
- 8 toothpicks or twigs
- paint color of choice to paint eyes
Adults, take a horse chestnut and carefully with a sharp-tipped knife puncture 4 holes on each side. I find the best technique to be putting the knife on the chestnut and then twisting handle back and forth until a hole is formed.
Then take the 8 toothpicks and bend each in half gently, trying not to break them. These will be your spider legs. Insert the smooth tip into the hole and press in. You can deepen the whole with knife if necessary. Repeat for all 8 legs.
Take a fine tipped paintbrush and paint eyes on the spider. Most spiders have eight eyes, but please give them as many as you want. You can also add designs and color to your chestnut spider.
Repeat to make as many spiders as you desire!