Web-building spiders are an important model system to address questions in a variety of biological fields. They are attractive because of their intriguing biology and because they can be fairly easily collected and maintained in the laboratory. However, the only published instructions for working with web-building spiders are somewhat outdated and not easily accessible. This paper aims to provide an up-to-date guide on how to best collect, keep and study web-building spiders. In particular, it describes how to obtain spiders by capturing them or by raising them from cocoons, how to keep and feed spiders in the laboratory and how to encourage them to build webs. Finally it describes how to document and analyze web building and web structure.