“Necessity is the mother of invention.” That phrase rang unusually true for me this past week. I facilitate monthly Full Moon Labyrinth walks at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick. We’d been using a borrowed canvas Labyrinth for our indoor walks. It was suddenly called home to its owner (for use in her church) three days before a scheduled Labyrinth walk. It became necessary to find a suitable substitute on very short notice. Thanks to my mother, sister and sister’s-boyfriend, we managed to work a minor miracle and now have a lovely Classical Labyrinth for use at the church. It cost slightly less than $200 in supplies and took my family and I 4 hours to make, start to finish.
Here’s how to make one.
All of my supplies came from my local Home Depot. You will need:
*6 9′ x 12′ canvas drop cloths. I paid $21.98 each. Make sure the canvases all match in color. Different brands may have a variation in hue.
*1 roll 60 yds white duct tape ($6.97)
*Colored duct tape. This part is a little tricky. I created a rainbow Labyrinth. Each circuit is marked out with a different color of tape. If you choose to go that route, you will need 40 yards (2 20 yard rolls) for the three outermost circuits. Each circuit thereafter will only need one 20 yard roll. So, for mine, I had: 2 black, 2 red, 2 orange, 1 yellow, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 purple, 1 silver, all in 20 yard quantities. 20 yard rolls cost $3.57 each. If you’re using all one color, you will probably need about 120 yards or 6 rolls. Save your receipts in case you need to return any unused tape.
*some friends! This goes a lot faster with a little help.
*a big, empty room
Graph out your design. This will help you keep track later on, as well as explain to any helpers what you’re trying to accomplish. In this graph, the canvases are in purple ink, the circuits in pencil, and one square = 1 foot.
Step 3: Using the white duct tape, tape the edges of the canvases together. Because these are painter’s drop cloths, the canvases aren’t cut perfectly. The outermost edges of your finished Labyrinth won’t be perfect. You can always trim them later if it makes a big difference to you 😉 I began by taping the long, center seam of the canvases, then working out from there.
Step 4: Carefully (this is where having extra hands can help) turn your now-one-whole-piece canvas over. The ‘right’ side will now be facing up. Using the white duct tape, tape the edges of the canvas together. This reinforces the seams and smooths over any uneven edges.
Step 5: Using your chalk and tape measure, mark your circuit spaces from the outside edge in. In this design, the circuits are 15″ wide. So, starting a couple inches from the outside edge at the top of the canvas and both sides, mark a line every 15″. You’ll have eight marks (for the seven circuits) on each side.
Step 6: Measure the center space from edge to edge to find the exact center point. Using your yarn, make a rough compass by taping (or having your helper hold) one end at the exact center. Attach your chalk to the other end right above one of your marks. Run a chalk line from center mark to center mark using your rough compass. It will make a circle.
Step 7: Using your tape measure (or tape measures if you’re having helpers assist), mark out the rest of the circuits in chalk. Mark them out a little over 1/2 of the way around to the center bottom of the design. Leave that space blank so you can mark in the turning points.
Step 8: Draw in your center cross, L-shapes and dots, remembering to leave 15″ space on all parts of the path.
Step 9: Connect the circuits to your center cross, finishing off the design. Walk the Labyrinth to be sure everything got connected correctly.
Step 10: Duct tape over your lines in the color pattern you’ve chosen. It’s great to have help for this part!
Step 11: Walk/dance/run your Labyrinth in joyous celebration!
Step 12: Fold/roll your Labyrinth up. Canvas Labyrinths are very sensitive to soot and moisture. Make sure to store it in a waterproof plastic bin and to remind folks not to wear shoes on it during walks. Only use your canvas Labyrinth indoors.
Here’s the finished Labyrinth at a Full Moon Labyrinth Walk, photo courtesy of Elisa. The lights are little flickering LED tealights we place on the Labyrinth during a Walk–they’re not actually attached to the canvas.
Ta da! Not as sturdy and flawless as a canvas made from heavy-grade sailcloth, but still quite usable and resilient. This one comfortably fit 5 walkers at a time.