Woven Kwanzaa Mats

Spend special time with your family making these unique holiday mats (mkeka) that represent traditions and family origins. Be sure to set your Kwanzaa table with these colorful woven designs.

Present Pointers

You can make a woven mat using red, green, and black raffia in place of the ribbon, or you might want to make a banner out of the leftover burlap. Remove some of the strands to make open spaces of various widths. Reweave the open part using twigs, flowers, weeds, leaves, and so on. Fringe the ends if desired. Fold the top over about 112 inches and glue with a glue gun to make a sleeve for a dowel. Tie a piece of cord to each end of the dowel for hanging purposes.

Time frame: Two to three hours

Level: Easy

What you need:

  • Two pieces of burlap cut into 18 x 12-inch rectangles
  • Scissors
  • Crochet hook or large yarn needle
  • 20-inch long strands of red, green, and black thin satin ribbons
  • Glue gun or tacky glue
  1. Fray the edges of the first burlap rectangle to about 12 inch. With a crochet hook or yarn needle, pull out three strands from the sides of the burlap, every inch or however far apart you'd like your design to occur.
  2. Thread the yarn needle with the ribbon and weave the ribbon through the pulled out burlap, leaving about five strands of burlap material in between the weavings. Alternate the colors—I chose to use black, red, black, green, black, red, and so on—or pick a pattern that appeals to you. You may want to use three red ribbons, one black ribbon, and three green ribbons to represent the kinara. Be sure the ribbon is flat when you pull it through the burlap.
  3. After all the openings are filled with ribbon, lay the mat on top of the other piece of burlap and glue the two pieces together around the perimeter. Be sure to catch the ends of the top mat onto the glue.
  4. Take two pieces of trim ribbon and glue them onto the right and left sides.

More on: Kwanzaa


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Great Gifts © 2001 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks