Making conker god’s eye is a great way to make use of the autumn conker bounty, and a really fun and easy craft. All you need are some conkers, sticks, and wool, and something pointy for making holes.
Making god’s eye weaves using sticks and wool is a favourite forest school activity at the sessions I run. Kids (and adults!) of all ages find the simple, repetitive motions calming and engrossing, and there’s something incredibly satisfying about seeing the patterns emerge as the weave progresses.
A conker god’s eye is an autumn variation that makes use of the annual horse chestnut glut to create a centre for the god’s eye. So rather than tying the sticks together at the centre to make a cross or star, you make holes in the conker and poke in your sticks to make a cross or star that way instead.
How to make conker god’s eye
You can’t make a conker god’s eye without conkers, so if it’s the wrong time of year, make a standard god’s eye instead! But if you’ve got conkers galore, read on…
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- Conkers! The larger the better
- Sticks – straight and sturdy, and not too thick. You can use bamboo skewers as an alternative.
- Gimlet (or other tool for making holes)
A note on drilling holes in conkers
Drilling holes in conkers is very easy, even for children to do. While they might feel hard, their outer shell is actually very thin, and the inner flesh has the consistency of a walnut and crumbles just as easily. The hardest part is the eye, but if you stick to the shiny areas, you’ll have no problem making a hole.
I use a gimlet for drilling conkers because I find it easiest for children to handle, and best for making clean holes. A gimlet is a small tool designed to make holes in wood without splitting it, so they work perfectly for conkers too. They are cheap and easy to get hold of, but you could also use a sharp skewer, screwdriver, or other kind of drill.
Conker gods eye instructions
Making a conker god’s eye weaving loom
1. Make holes in your conker, spaced evenly around the circumference. A minimum of five is best, so that the weave fits nicely around the conker without being forced out of shape. On the other hand, don’t do too many or you risk weakening and breaking your conker!
2. Insert thin but sturdy sticks into the holes, making sure they fit tightly. A bit of hot glue can help if they are too loose – you don’t want them coming out.
For this god’s eye, I used some willow that I had already, but any straight and strong stick will work – even kitchen bamboo skewers. Most of the sticks will be hidden by the weave once you are finished, but bear in mind that the ends will still be visible, so use something you don’t mind seeing!
How to weaving a conker god’s eye
Weaving a conker god’s eye is very easy, but you can get some lovely patterns depending on the wool that you use. Different colours and textures add interest, and you could also thread on beads before you start, or add decorative tassels once you are finished.
The first step is to tie on your thread. Once you have your ‘conker loom’ set up, simply tie a piece of thread or wool/yarn onto one of the sticks, and push it down against the conker. The conker loom is now ready for you to begin weaving.
4. The weaving itself is very simple and repetitive, so even very young children can have a go with a bit of help, and it can be a very soothing and meditative activity.
Pull the thread gently but firmly to the next stick (it doesn’t matter which way around you go). Then wrap your thread all the way around this stick, and pull tight. Then pass the thread to the next stick, and repeat.
You will need to keep the wool nice and taut as you weave, which can be the trickiest part of the process for little ones to master.
Keep weaving round each stick in turn, building up layers of weave.
Back or front?
You’ll soon notice a pattern developing based on whether you are going UNDER and then up around each stick (as shown here), or whether you have done the opposite, and gone OVER and then under and around. Whichever way you have gone, the reverse of your weave will show the other pattern.
The picture below shows the flip side of my weave. You can see that on this side, the surface is flat, with the sticks completely hidden. This is the pattern you will see if you go OVER then under, and will be on the reverse if you go UNDER then over.
I tend to think of this as the front, but you might prefer the other side, where the stick-ribs are visible, wrapped in your thread.
You can change colour by adding on new thread whenever you are ready. You can do this by either tying the thread off on one of the sticks, or just knotting on a new piece of thread onto the end of your original wool.
If you are going to be displaying only one side of your gods eye when finished, then make sure you tie any knots on the side that won’t be seen, just to keep it looking neat.
Once you’ve finished weaving, tie your thread firmly to the nearest stick. You may want to leave a long tail to use for hanging it up.
More from Rhubarb and Wren
Looking for more fun activities to do with conkers? Check out some of our favourites below!
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Quick-Read Instructions for making conker god’s eyes
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1. Conkers! The larger the better
2. Sticks – straight and sturdy, and not too thick. You can use bamboo skewers as an alternative.
4. Gimlet (or other tool for making holes)
1. Make between 5 and 7 holes in your conker, spaced evenly around the circumference.
2. Insert thin but sturdy sticks into the holes, making sure they fit tightly. Use glue if necessary.
3. Tie wool or yarn to one of the sticks, and push it down against the conker.
4. Decide which side is the front and which is the back. Hold your conker loom so that the back is facing up.
5. Start weaving by pulling the thread over to the next stick, and wrapping it UNDER, then up and around the stick once.
6. Pull the thread over to the next thread, and repeat. Make sure to always go UNDER then up and around. Repeat until your weave is finished, tying on new thread when you want to change colour.
Hints and Tips:
1) The front and back of your weave will look different. The back will have ‘ribs’, while the front will be smooth and the sticks hidden. You can display either side as they both look good.
2) Using a multicolour wool can give you interesting effects without the need to tie on new wool.