For this creative craft we've been inspired by the turt-ally amazing marine reptiles in our Ghost Nets exhibition.
These crafts are not only cute, they're a great teaching tool about ocean health and sustainability.

Suitable for ages:
4 years and up
Time required:
30 mins
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Related Exhibition: Ghost Nets of the Ocean


They are some of the most ancient animals in the ocean. They have super-senses that allow them to navigate huge distances around the world without a compass or a map. They can breathe on land and hold their breath underwater for hours. They have a shell that they can never outgrow. And the most adorable eyes. They are turt-ally amazing aren’t they? Yes, we are talking about turtles. 

Turtles are fascinating creatures. 

Many species are endangered all over the world, 129 out of the 300 species of turtle in fact. Marine pollution and debris including plastics and discarded fishing nets (ghost nets) as well as loss of their habitats are all things that can seriously harm or kill turtles. They sure deserve more positive environmental action, love and attention from us.  

 

How to make a woven turtle
Pere (large female turtle), 2017 00055281 © Erub Arts & Joey (small turtle) 00055249 © Nancy Naawi

For our next creative spot we were inspired by these marvellous marine reptiles and some of the beautiful renditions of them we have in our collection, from the spectacular ghost net turtles from Erub Arts Collaborative that are displayed in our foyer like the ones featured above.

How to make a woven turtle

What You'll Need:
  • A copy of this woven turtle template - printed or traced onto 200gsm cardboard
  • A hole punch
  • String
  • A plastic needle
  • Googly eyes and glue or eye stickers
  • Scissors
  • Some recycled fabric strips
  • Pipe cleaners

To Make:

Step 1.
Cut out your turtle template 

How to make a woven turtle 


Step 2.
Punch some holes round the outer rim of the shell.

How to make a woven turtle

Step 3.
Start weaving. If you are making this with very young children, weaving raffia or pipe cleaners through the holes to form a shell is nice and easy and a wonderful way to develop fine motor skills. 

How to make a woven turtle

If you're up for a bit more of a challenge, making fabric twine produces a spectacular shell and is a great way to use up old scraps of fabric or old clothes. You can use fabric twine for all sorts of other things as well. 

To twine: 
Hold together 2 strips of fabric at the top. 
Twist the right hand side fabric away from you with your thumb and forefinger a few times, then bring it across the front, repeat this step over and over. 

How to make a woven turtle

You'll notice your twine holds its shape even when you let go and does not unravel. If it does unravel you might have twisted in the wrong direction. 

You can add in extra strips by twisting them in on each side when you are about 5cm away from the end of the fabric strip finishing.

How to make a woven turtle

Once you have about 30-40cm of twine you're finished. The thicker the twine the less you need so if you use a thicker fabric you can make less twine and save time. 

Step 4.
Coiling your twine: 

How to make a woven turtle
Start to shape your length of twine into a spiral starting at one end.

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

Insert a pipe cleaner in the middle and use this like a sewing stitch to loop together the layers of spiralled twine as you go.

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

You could also sew this neatly with a blanket stitch but the pipe cleaner method is easier for kids to get the hang of and much quicker.

How to make a woven turtle

Step 5.
You're almost finished! Add some eyes to your turtles. 

How to make a woven turtle

Step 6.
Thread a plastic needle with string and stitch your woven shell onto the turtle using the hole punched areas on the outer rim to weave in and out. 

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

How to make a woven turtle

And there you have your own turtle-y adorable creation, ready to dive and glide through your afternoon.

How to make a woven turtle

We’d love to see your creations! 
Please send us photos either by email to: web@sea.museum or tag us on Instagram - just tag the photo with our username @sea.museum

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