How to Make Paper Yarn

By Jessica Cook

Things Needed

  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Drop spindle
Spin your own yarn from recycled newspapers.

Yarn is the favorite crafting medium of many fiber artists. Knitters, crocheters and weavers use yarn made from various materials to craft works of art and fashion. You can make yarn out of several types of fibers, from wool to bamboo to plastic grocery bags. Paper is another readily available yarn-making resource; spin your own paper yarn and use it to weave recycled and up-cycled crafts galore. Try making place mats, wall hangings or even curtains from your recycled paper yarns.

Fold a single standard sheet of newspaper in half, then fold it in half again. This should be one side of a newspaper spread, not the full-sized double spread sheet.

Cut the folded newspaper into strips that are 1/2 inch wide. Make your cuts along the width of the paper, not the length.

Unfold one strip of newspaper and twist it into a yarn formation with your fingers. Simply pinch both ends and twist tightly until the newspaper holds its twisted shape. This will be your leader yarn; tie it to the drop spindle just above the whorl for a bottom-whorl spindle and just below the whorl for a top-whorl spindle. Bring the extra length of the yarn around the whorl and through the hook in the spindle.

Use the spindle to add twist to the newspaper yarn. To do this, spin the spindle clockwise (or in the same direction that you originally twisted your leader yarn). Pinch the newspaper strip and as the twist reaches the pinched spot, slide your fingers up and pinch again.

Stop spinning when you have approximately 3 inches of newspaper strip left. Wrap the extra twisted paper yarn around the spindle's shaft to make room for making more yarn.

Pull off a new strip of newspaper and pinch the end of this one together with the 3 inches of untwisted paper from the last strip. Hold these two pieces together and spin the spindle again, allowing the twist to secure the two strips together. Repeat Steps 4 through 6 for the rest of the newspaper strips. When you're finished, unwind the yarn from the spindle and it will be ready to use.

Tip

Use other types of paper, such as sturdy toilet paper or tissue paper, to make your yarn. Avoid overly thick papers like construction paper or printer paper.

Warning

Newspaper yarn is somewhat fragile, so be gentle with the yarn as you spin it and work with it or it could tear easily.