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How to make Spider Silk Thread

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During the summer months, spider webs cover every corner, and every open space of my yard. These webs are humongous, the largest ones being about 5 feet wide. The webs I encounter in my garden are webs are from several kinds of Orb spiders. None of the spiders that build the giant webs in my garden are poisonous. This is lucky for me, because I have walked into countless numbers of webs.

I have also encountered many abandoned webs, which gave me the idea of harvesting these out-of-use webs for their silk. Having walked into so many webs, I know how unbelievably strong and stretchy their threads are. Spider silk, in fact, is the strongest fiber ever discovered. Spider silk is stronger than steel, for its diameter; that is, a thread of steel would be weaker than a thread of spider silk of the same size.

Scientists have been working on how to entirely artificially duplicate spider silk in the lab for a while, but have not yet been able to make the silk entirely without spiders. I have included some websites of some recent research on the subject at the end of the instructable.

In this instructable, I will show I how I harvested abandoned webs and turned them into threads that I could use to sew.
 
 
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Wow. This is gorgeous! I never knew that you could make thread from spider webs! Too bad I don't live anywhere near a place where the spiders you listed live.
emmieberry2 years ago
This is hands down the most interesting instructable I have ever seen, It's well done and I learned a lot from it! : D
tinker2342 years ago
hey wow could you go and cath spiders and begin a spider web farm
YEAH THATD BE AWESOME!!
yeah it would be fun
yoshi13 years ago
I think ticks should be added to the arachnid list because they have 8 legs too.
zzoe yoshi13 years ago
No need to add them, they're already there. Ticks, and all other mites are arachnids. You had the right idea.
-Z.
raja6813 years ago
here is something creepy in a lab on a farm in Sweden they are making a goat that u can milk and it has milk and spider silk..............MILK SILK ANYONE!!!
Persona (author)  raja6813 years ago
I think I remember hearing about that! It makes NO SENSE!
I've seen "spider goats" at Purdue University. It actually makes a lot of sense. It's come a long way in a past several years. The milk is still "drinkable". The silk protein doesn't present as a fiber in the milk, it needs a chemical catalyst to be extracted. The goats have a number of advantages, they don't bite(well not like spiders do), they are easier to milk than spiders, they don't eat each other and they are still useful for things that goats are useful for. The process is still pretty young as technologies go but there's a lot of promise in it.
ya i really want one of the spider goats
Haha. I saw a documentary about that a few years ago. They would extract the silk proteins from the milk of the genetically modified goats or something like that. It was less productive than pulling the web right out of the spiders. But I guess the crazy scientists scientists just wanna have fun.
yoshi13 years ago
You should see the size of a camel spider they are massive! I'm not sure if they make webs though?
Toxonic0 yoshi13 years ago
No they don't, they're not actually spiders. They're more closely related to scorpions. No web at all.
srry said spider meant arachnid not spider srry they are in the same order as the spider and the scorpion which makes it no more closely related to either
I bet that if you were to weave a friendship bracelet out of spider's silk, it would last for YEEEEEEARS. Some of the strongest stuff is said to be 10 times the strength of Kevlar. That's awesome.
manadhon3 years ago
It's kinda nice knowing that here in Michigan all I have to worry about is the brown recluse (which is not native to Michigan as it comes in with wood shipments), and the northern black widow (which sadly, is native to Michigan). Other than those two species, there isn't really any interesting species of arachnid here
Yeah, but New Zealand is even better: no spiders that could hurt anything bigger than a rabbit (if that). Plus, no snakes or other bitey things!
your wrong about that.there are poisonous spiders in New Zealand, three species to be exact.the kapito ,white- tailed and red back spiders. 1.red back bites can cause severe pain, aches and profuse sweating. 2.kapito bites may lead to severe pain around the bite area and possible muscle cramps. 3.A White-tailed spider bite usually leads to severe pain and swelling around the bite area, but there are no long-lasting effects. and yes you are right about the snakes and other "bitey" things"
yoshi1 manadhon3 years ago
But aren't there mosquitoes? They can kill!
manadhon yoshi13 years ago
most mosquitoes in michigan suck blood. few will carry diseases as disease carrying mosquitoes are more common in tropical regions
For the record, the brown recluse is actually much more poisonous than the black widow. Black widow bites are painful, cause inflammation, and require doctors etc. Brown recluse bites cause necrosis of the flesh rapidly and require a doctor for not only anti venom, but usually removal of flesh to amputation.
Where I live (west coast of North America) we have many black and brown widows. It's weird because brown widows are from Florida. The Brown recluse is the most poisonous spider,and following that is the brown widow. They're not really dangerous though, because they don't bite as often as the black widow.
Would daddy long-leg spider webs work?
Persona (author)  nutsandbolts_643 years ago
I think it would, especially if this sentence from a website on them is any indication:

"the spider throws tough stiff web material over the victim and disables its mobility"
MaXoR Persona3 years ago
I think most people when talking about a "Daddy Long Legs" will be referring to a harvestman arachnid. You didn't exactly use a well known website to source your information, and most side websites will get certain details mixed up. Either way, the harvestman arachnid is not even capable of producing web in any great quantity, if at all. If you see one in a web, he is trapped, and going to die! Although yes, on Myth Busters they proved that it is possible to entice a harvestman into biting into your flesh, a reaction because of it doesn't mean it punctured the .5 - 4mm of flesh to the other side, likely only puncturing the first layer or two, and causing an irritation. The average one's fangs are only .25mm long, and they don't have strong uncate fang muscles either. They do however have a wonderful myth that they have some of the most poisonous venom, and that likely stemmed from the fact they prey on redback's (Part of the black widow family) and win consistently, however scientists have learned it's merely because they are quicker, and get the upper hand, or neck...lol!
frabotta MaXoR3 years ago
@MaXoR

I believe you are confusing harvestmen (order Phalangida) with spider, Pholcus phalangioides (featured on Myth Busters), that has a near-cosmopolitan distribution. As true spiders, Pholcus DOES possess fangs, can penetrate human, skin, and 'throws' stiff web silk around their prey.

Harvestmen (order Phalangida or Opiliones), while arachnids, are not spiders and possess neither fangs nor silk glands.
A thread of spider silk the thickness of a pencil cna stop (cut through) military jerts moving at full speed...
Yeah. I need to collect a LOT of silk... Gonna make a climbing rope if I can.
lop1453 years ago
no dangerous spiders here exept if your allergic. and there's just one spider that has a nasty wasp like bite but that one lives under water.
chuckr44 lop1453 years ago
The underwater spiders I know in the US do not live underwater, but they do hunt underwater by carrying a bubble of air with them.
lop145 chuckr443 years ago
this one makes an underwater web and fills it with air. they are quite rare and only live in heavily grown underwater places. although holland is a country with a lot of water not mutch is so grown that it can make its web there. never been bitten by one and i'm not planning to be bitten anytime soon.
You are kidding right? How can they make a air bubble? I didn't even know they had lungs?
They don't "make" an air bubble, the air gets trapped between the hairs on the outside of their body and makes the body look silver. They do not have lungs, their respiratory system, I believe, is an open system. Air travels freely inside their body cavity.
Actually, yes, some spiders do "collect" air at the surface to fill their air bubble underwater...
Arachnids, including spiders and scorpions have a respiratory organ called a "book-lung" because it looks like a large open book with the pages "leaved-out" to each side. Attached is an image of a tarantula's well-developed book-lungs.
Try this link for a pic: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n2/scuba-spiders
eek! underwater spiders? NOW im scarred!!!
Has anybody tried using it to sew clothes up with? Does it work well? Be really cocol if the thread were really practical.
Thats a great instructable. May I ask how much thread you have collected so far ? I am a huge fan of spiders i think they are incredible creatures and often had them as pets. Thanks again for the tutorial.
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