I know it seems obvious but it took me a while to realize that I had to go straight to the experts; I needed to learn from a spider.
After a few failed attempts at spinning a web from looking at spider webs in the backyard, I instead started from the beginning. I watched multiple you tube clips and searched the internet for images that would fit the expectations in my head. Miss Possum came along for the journey too. She does love spiders!
I finally found this excellent diagram that was very similar to what I wanted the obstacle course to be like. I love that it points out the parts of a spider web too, and I’ll be using these terms to explain how I made the course. Unfortunately I didn’t stick to this colour code though.
You will need :
- A lot of rope (we bought some rope for camping but we didn’t need all of it, so decided we could use some of it for the web.)
- Two 1.5 meter stakes
- One smaller stake, about 30cm long
- Matches or lighter
- Glue gun (affiliate)
- Craft string
We knocked the two tall wooden stakes into the ground about 1.5 meters apart. We put the small stake into the ground in the middle of the two larger stakes.
Then, we started with the bridge thread and anchor threads (like the diagram above). Ensure you burn off the ends of the rope or they’ll fray.
We added more threads down the bottom to make the obstacle course. One reason we decided to make this obstacle course (other than learning about the world of spiders) was to encourage body awareness, so I wanted to make some spaces that were easy for Miss Possum to climb through without touching the web, and some areas harder.
We used nails to attach the rope to the stakes, but otherwise we just tied knots.
Next, I had to make something that would allow the radius lines to connect in the middle. So I made a rope circle to start the axillary spiral and that worked really well (see photos).
I attached the radius threads to the rope circle using a glue gun.
I made another rope circle for the other side of the web too, to give it further support and make the web look good from both sides.
Now the fun starts. Just like a spider, we made the auxiliary spiral first (to support the web before starting the more intricate capture spiral). We glued the end of the rope to the auxiliary circle and then weaved the spiral through the radius threads. It held quite well at the start of the spiral but when you move outward, you’ll need to use the glue gun to secure it onto the radius threads.
Make sure you increase the space between the auxiliary spirals as you move outward to give that spider web effect.
Lastly (and probably the most time consuming) was making the capture spiral. I used craft string for this part and I also painted the string yellow using acrylic paint. I decided since I had different coloured string, I could make it a rainbow web.
We attached the string to the auxiliary circle (in the same way we made the auxiliary spiral) and started weaving though the radius threads. This time though, we kept the gap between the strings a similar length apart. So don’t make the gap wider.
Once you’ve run out of room to weave, you’re done. Now for some spider web fun!
The spider web looks awesome at night with these solar dragon fly lights though them too!
Next week I’ll be posting activities that you can do with the spider web obstacle course, plus a free fly/butterfly mask printable that was a hit with Miss Possum and the kids next door. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come.
Building a spider web obstacle course may take a little more effort than most of the activities on this blog but it was well worth it and we are using it in more ways than one!
Do your children like spiders?