Scotland: Make your own Tartan weaving

If I asked you to close your eyes and picture someone in a traditional Scottish outfit, I have no doubt that your mind would be conjuring up a Scotsman in a kilt of tartan! Tartan is a fabric made up of horizontal and vertical stripes in different colours.

Did you know that there is actually a Scottish registry of Tartans with over 12,000 tartans belonging to different clans listed?!

Historians found the first mention of tartan in Scotland in documents dating from 1538! Historically, each clan (or family) had their own tartan - and they were made with coloured wool that had been dyed using plants, mosses and berries!

In this activity you can make your own tartan paper weaving!

Make your own Tartan Weaving

You will need:

Download the leaning tower model here
  • coloured paper in a variety of colours (we used five different colours)

  • ruler

  • pencil

  • scissors

  • a copy of our tartan inspiration sheet

  • washi tape (optional)


  1. Using your ruler and pencil, measure strips of paper in a variety of widths. For example, we measured red and gold card in 0.5cm strips, pink in 1cm strips, blue in 2cm strips, and gold and green in 3cm strips.

  2. Cut out your strips.

  3. Now plan out your tartan. Have a look at our tartan inspiration sheet and decide how you would like your tartan to look.

  4. Time to get weaving!

  5. First, group any strips of colour that you'll be weaving together (for example, we had thin strips of pink on the centre of each of our thicker green strips that were woven together)

  6. Use a little washi tape and tape the vertical strips down to the surface you are working on - this will make weaving much easier!

  7. Now, weave the horizontal strips, alternating over and under, until you have a square of your own tartan!

  8. To secure everything, carefully flip over the tartan, fold the ends of each strip of paper over and use washi tape to secure in place - all done!

You can download a free printable with all the instructions for this activity right here.

Love this?

Scotland ebook