Swedish Woven Paper Heart Basket Craft
I originally made these with my 4th and 5th grade students a few years ago around the time of Santa Lucia, when we were talking about Swedish traditions. See more about the Santa Lucia tradition and hear the traditional song in this video.
I have my colleague to thank for finding this printable template.
Once we figured it out and got the hang of it, they were so easy and quite addictive! Princess Pea and I then made several more to put little goodies in for friends and colleagues for holiday treats. This latest one will be a Valentine for Princess Pea's little friend who is moving away soon. Haven't yet decided what to fill it with (right now there's just a bunch of foam hearts [affiliate link] in it). Any suggestions?
*Update: We also made them as favour bags for Sweet Pea's pink and red heart-themed birthday party.
So to make them, I'd suggest printing out the template linked above, at least to start out until you get the hang of the necessary proportions. (If you choose to free-hand it instead, it's important to make sure the slits are slightly longer than the width of the whole shape.) Make sure that you fold your paper in half and line up the straight edge along the fold. Then use the template to trace and cut out the shapes from two different papers and cut the slits as shown. (If you're making these for Valentine's Day, it's nice if you have some Valentine-themed paper, or for Christmas, some Christmas-themed paper. [affiliate links])
Next comes the weaving part, which is the part that was tricky at first. I'll try to explain it with our flowery and red papers. Take the far right 'arm' of the flowery paper and insert into the far left arm of the red paper. Then take the middle arm of the red paper and insert into the far right arm of the flowery paper. Then take the far right arm of the flowery paper and insert it into the far right arm of the red paper. Slide it along towards the top of the heart.
At this point you should have the first (far right) arm of the flowery paper woven through all three arms of the red paper. Note that each time, you insert the arm of one into the arm of the other, don't just go front to back or else you won't end up with a 'pocket' that opens in the end. (This is where we went wrong at first.)
Then you take the middle arm of the flowery paper and do the same in reverse: The far left arm of the red paper into the middle arm of the flowery paper; the middle arm of the flowery paper into the middle arm of the red paper; and the far right arm of the red paper into the middle arm of the flowery paper.
And finally, do the reverse with the far left arm of the flowery paper. The last one is a bit tricky, so you have to do it carefully.
This wasn't a craft that Princess Pea (aged 4) was able to make on her own, of course, but she traced and cut out the papers and we did the weaving together until it got too hard and then I finished it off. And she loved getting to use the hole punch and stringing the ribbon through to make a little hanger for it.
This project is featured in a book available at Hands On: As We Grow as part of The Heart Project, a fundraiser to support the American Heart Association. Please consider ordering a copy of this book full of beautiful heart-themed art and craft projects with links to tutorials (available as both a printed book and as an e-book). All proceeds will be donated to the AHA.