Wednesday, May 29, 2019

CRAFT: Wrapped Walking Stick

Decorating a walking stick with yarn/and cloth is a fun craft that can be simplified for a young child, yet is still an enjoyable project for a teen or adult to do!  Learn how to make your own below!

This post contain some affiliate links through which I can earn a commission. 

Finding The Perfect Stick
Finding sticks for this craft is easier than you would would think.    You can go to local wooded areas and look for downed branches (sometimes you'll even see downed branches on the side of the road).   Or, look for neighbors pruning their trees and ask if you can take some of the branches.   Once I started looking for sticks for this project, I started noticing them everywhere. 
You'll want sticks that are relatively straight, and about 1-2 inches in diameter. Watch out for sticks that are rotten or molded, and make sure to ask if any of the wood had been treated for pesticides (which you will want to avoid.   If any of the bark seems loose, see if you can peel it off as that can be a sign there are bugs underneath.  If you leave on the bark, or are able to peel the bark free, you won't have to sand it.  If you choose to carve off the bark you will want to sand the stick afterwards.  Bark left on may detach on it's own over time.

A good height for a walking stick is about 6-8 inches taller than a person's elbow if their arms are hanging straight down while standing (got that tip from Boy's Life).  Even if you find a stick nearly the exact height you want, you may want to saw one end off to flatten out the bottom of your walking stick.

Wrapping a Walking Stick With Yarn
We decorated our sticks with either yarn or cloth (or both). Below is a video showing a simple way to wrap the stick with yarn. At the beginning of this video I said that I have "a few inches of yarn." I misspoke...I actually had a few feet...but what I meant was that I had a few inches of yarn left over to form a "tail."   You can add beads other charms to the left over yarn tails, as shown in the picture at the top of this page (more on that below).

I love how the yarn looked on this curvy stick.  

When we did these we were looking for simple things we could do with cheep materials.   If you are looking to do something more complex, you can find several more detailed techniques using Paracord (which would also be more weather resistant).  

Turks Head

Cow Hitch

Fish Scale Braid

French Hitching

Solomon V

How to Wrap a Stick With Cloth

You can also wrap a stick with cloth tied in yarn (or leather).  

This is actually a useful feature as it creates a padded area for a hand-hold (the more padding you want, the more layers you will want to wrap around your stick).  We used strips from old t-shirts, but you can use any type of cloth you want (or even scraps of leather).

Wrapping cloth on a stick is fairly simple. First roll a strip of cloth around the stick. Then take a long piece of yarn and tie it tightly near to top of the cloth.  Make your tie in the middle of the yarn so you have two fairly equal lengths of yarn hanging down, and leave about an inch of cloth above where you tie it. For a criss-cross design, spiral one of these down the cloth, and the other in the opposite direction, so that the two lengths of yarn criss-cross, then at the bottom (about an inch from the edge of the fabric), tie these two yarn-tails together tightly.

Adding Decorations

You can add beads or charms to the strings that are left when you are done tying your yarn. You will need beads with a hole large enough that yarn can fit through. I look for beads with holes just slightly larger than the yarn, because then after I've put them on the yarn, all I need to do is tie a double or triple knot in the yarn and that holds on the beads. You can also get charms that tie on the yarn, and those will hold up all the beads above them as well. 

Getting beads onto thick, fuzzy yarn can be tricky! But I have a trick that makes it easy! I use floss threaders (the kind found in the dental aisle of most supermarkets). Just put the yarn through the large hoop of the floss threader, insert the bead over the small pointy end, and then pull the bead down over the yarn. You can see floss threaders in use in the picture below.

I decorated some of the walking sticks with small shells.   Sometimes, while walking on the beach, I find shells with holes naturally worn into them, but you can buy shells buy shells with drilled holes.  Usually these holes are too small to fit yarn through, even with a threader, so I put a small diameter jump ring through the holes and then I can put the yarn through the larger jump ring.

Some Bead and Charm Ideas
(Click to see on Amazon)


Other Decoration Ideas 
And a few practical considerations

You can add lots of other decorations as well. You could use decorative tape, paint, ribbons...whatever you can think of.  You can even carve patterns in your stick if you like to whittle. Skies the limit!

But whatever you do keep practicality in mind. Make sure to leave a smooth surface to hold (or a soft one). Don't put hanging beads and baubles where it will hit your hand as you walk. Be careful of putting paint where you will hold your stick as it might rub off over time (stains might work better). And make sure that whatever you decorate with, it's able to withstand a little weather and wear.

Tips for Group Projects

I originally did this project for our church's Vacation Bible School.   Doing this with a larger group is different than doing it with just your own kids.   You can see my suggestions for doing this project with a large group over at my other blog here (just scroll past the how-to in the beginning, since you've already read that here).

This has been shared on Encouraging Hearts and Home and Littles Learning Link Up.


  1. There are so many advantages to walking sticks. If you can't balance on your foot easily then you can use a walking stick or you can use a walking stick for hiking. Further, you can use a walking stick as a fashion accessory. Folding walking sticks

  2. Love it! We just made some a few days ago with yarn and craft feathers. I love the idea of using paint and ribbons, we may have to make more soon!