It’s SO EASY to make beautiful yarn art! Create a colourful yarn “painting” by gluing leftover yarn onto a dollar store canvas. It’s such a fun craft to experiment with colour and texture!
Yarn art is the perfect art project for groups at summer camp or sleepovers. You can make a picture of a landscape, like we did, or create a simpler, abstract design. Either way, it’s so much fun to make this unique fiber art!
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DIY Yarn Art
Check Out The Video Tutorial:
Step 1: Find what you need
- Gather your supplies and materials.
Step 2: Draw your outline
- Draw your design on the canvas in pencil.
Step 3: Fill the first section with yarn
- Choose the section of the drawing you plan to start with. Then add a generous amount of glue to that section of the drawing.
- Use a paintbrush to spread the glue so that it's in an even layer across the entire section. Be sure to get glue along the edges of the canvas.The yarn absorbs the glue, so make sure you have a generous layer of glue over the whole section. If the glue layer is too thin the yarn won't stick.
- Add your first piece of yarn to the canvas where your drawn line starts. Leave an inch or two of yarn hanging off the starting edge. Carefully line up the yarn with the line drawn on the canvas. Gently press the yarn into the glue as you work your way across.
- When you've finished the first line of yarn, cut the yarn about an inch past the edge of the canvas.Gently press the yarn at the both edges of the canvas into the glue to make sure the ends will be fully stuck down.
- Continue adding yarn below the first line of yarn, carefully shaping the yarn to match the contours of the previous piece. Make sure the pieces of yarn are close together without leaving any white space of the canvas showing. It's okay if some yarn hangs off the bottom of the painting - it can be trimmed later.
Step 4: Fill in the rest of the yarn painting
- Add a generous amount of glue to the next section on your canvas and, again, spread it out evenly with a paintbrush, right to the edges of the canvas.
- Again, leave an inch of yarn hanging off the starting edge. Then carefully line up the yarn with the next line drawn on the canvas, gently pressing the yarn into the glue as you work your way across.
- Cut the yarn off an inch past the edge of the canvas. Again, gently press the yarn down at both edges of the canvas to make sure it's stuck in the glue.
- Fill in the rest of the section with yarn. When you're working with curved lines you'll find areas where the yarn doesn't go all the way across the canvas. For these sections, start the yarn at the edge of the empty space (don't leave any extra yarn at the end), then cut it off where the gap ends.
- Fill in the next two smaller sections, working one section at a time. Start at the top and add the yarn to follow the curves, cutting as you go. Continue adding more glue and yarn to fill your canvas.
- If you have any small gaps, like the ones between our green hills, cut small pieces of yarn to fill these gaps, rather than cutting them as you go. Once your canvas is completely covered with yarn, allow it to dry for 1 hour (or until the glue is completely dry).
Step 5: Cut off the excess yarn
- Using fabric scissors (or other sharp scissors), cut off the loose ends of yarn around the edges of the canvas.
- Cut around the edges one more time to make sure the cuts are even and close to the edges of the canvas.
- Your yarn art is complete!
- This is a great project to use up pieces of scrap yarn!
- Use different weights and textures of yarn for the best look. Fluffy, chunky yarn would make great clouds, while thinner cotton yarn would look great as grass.
- You can use a pencil end or a toothpick to help push the yarn into place.
Is this craft messy?
Since we’re spreading quite a bit of glue over the canvasses, this art project can get a little messy if you aren’t careful. We recommend making your art on a foil lined baking sheet so that any drips of glue are contained.
You may also want to keep a container of water nearby for your paintbrush and a damp cloth to wipe up any glue from your fingers.
How long does it take to make yarn art?
This will depend on how complicated your design is and how thick your yarn is. Our designs took between 30 and 45 minutes each.
Designs with thin yarn take longer, whereas designs with thick yarn go quicker.
Where is yarn art from?
Yarn painting originated with the Huichol people of Mexico. This yarn art was made by pressing yarn onto boards coated with beeswax. The paintings often represented nature, or were used to pass on stories of religious or cultural significance.
Huichol yarn painting has folk art beginnings, but the detailed yarn paintings are now often viewed as fine art. It’s so fun to learn about the history of this fiber art and then make your own!
What can I create my yarn painting on?
We used 8 x 10 canvasses from the dollar store, which gives the yarn art a nice, sturdy backdrop that doesn’t bend or warp under the glue.
You could also make your yarn painting on a styrofoam tray or a piece of cardboard. Cereal box cardboard would probably work, but thicker cardboard, cut from a shipping box, is an even better option.
What type of glue is used to make yarn art?
We used Elmer’s Glue-All, which is very similar to regular school glue. Both of these options work well, but you could also use tacky glue. Tacky glue won’t spread as easily across the canvas, but it will do a great job holding the yarn in place.
If you’re working with younger kids, you can even use a piece of contact paper, sticky side up, instead of gluing on a canvas. This will allow them to place the yarn without messing around with glue.
Use this bold and colourful yarn art as decorative home decor, or give your creation as a homemade gift. It can take a while to put these yarn paintings together, but making them is such a relaxing, mindful process!
Here’s even more yarn craft ideas:
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!