Who doesn’t love spiders? What, you don’t? Well you will after you see how fun and interesting learning about them can be. Katie Newburn, Education & Outreach Director for FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake was with us, showing us how to create your very own Spider Web as part of this year’s Antelope Island Spider Festival!
This is a super fun project because you can be as creative as you want! You can build a web inspired by your favorite spider, or a spider web you saw out in nature, or just create your own design.
Get started by gathering our materials! The main things you’ll need are a few sticks, you can use popsicle sticks, wooden stir sticks, chopsticks, or skewer. You’ll also need some yarn! If you don’t have yarn you could use ribbon, thread, dental floss, wire, again, whatever you have handy. If you want, you can also add some additional details, like beads, leaves, pipe cleaners, or paper cutouts to represent prey that’s stuck in the web, or a spider waiting for its next meal!
The type of web Katie showed us is called an orb web, which native spider the Western Orb Weaver builds. But there are many different shapes and types of webs that spiders build using their silk – funnel webs, cob webs, sheet webs, wooly webs and orb webs, which all catch prey in different ways. Spiders can produce different types of silk to help them build their webs. For your web, the sticks will represent the spokes of the web which are made of strong, non-sticky silk to give the web its structure. The yarn will represent the sticky spiral that goes around all the spokes, this is the part that traps prey.
So to start weaving your web, cross all your sticks together, and we’re going to start looping our yarn around all the sticks. Try to get between all of these pieces, nice and tight to hold our spokes together.
Once that’s together nice and snug, you can start weaving you spiral. Just take your yarn and loop it around each spoke as you go around. You can make your spiral as tight or loose and as even or wonky as you want. The Western Orb Weavers’ webs usually have a looser and more uneven spiral, so that’s what Katie shows us. Remember, this sticky spiral is the part of the web that traps the spider’s prey, so if you want to add some beads to represent a fly or moth or gnat that got stuck, this is the place to do it! Spiders wait in their webs until they feel the vibration from something that’s gotten trapped, so make sure your spiral has good tension between all the spokes just like a real web.
When you finally get the end, just trim your yarn and tie a knot around your last spoke. You can trim off the extra yarn or tie it into a loop to hang up wherever you want.
We’d love to see your web if you give this project a try! You can share a photo to our Antelope Island Spider Fest event page on Facebook and you can also earn a Spider Fest goodie bag by telling us how you’re participating on the Antelope Island website!
Antelope Island Spider Fest is going (mostly) virtual this year! The whole week of August 3 – August 8 we’ll be posting spider-themed presentations, DIY crafts, citizen science opportunities, guided walks, scavenger hunts, costumes, prizes and more! These fun activities and educational resources from our incredible team of community partners are sure to bust spider myths and help the whole family learn to appreciate spiders’ critical role in our ecosystems. Antelope Island Spider Fest 2020
Facebook Event Page: Antelope Island Spider Fest 2020
FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Website: www.fogsl.org