Many patrons have enjoyed our ongoing series, Scrap Crafts.  In this program we utilize numerous books from our nonfiction section to create and explore accessible art and handicrafts. As we all stay at home we have continued this series virtually and will occasionally post tutorial posts so that you too can use to try out a new skill.

Project: DIY Loom

There are many types of looms. We will be creating a simple loom out of cardboard and going over the basic weaving vocabulary and methods in order to equip you to better understand the many resources available to help you achieve advanced techniques.

Description:  This loom will enable beginner weavers to grasp the basic concepts of a warp and weft and decide if they like the textile form enough to contemplate making more fabric with this or another type of loom.

Materials to gather:

  • A box*
  • Scissors
  • A long piece of string
  • Long scraps of fabric, yarn, string or anything you would like to use to weave
  • A small stick to use as a shuttle
  • 2 sticks the width of your box
*Instead of a box some people may choose to use an old picture frame and nails. This would create a more durable loom, but I suggest waiting on this and instead learn a bit more about weaving from this class before diving into the investment. I will point you to a number of resources you can use to expand you weaving skills depending upon your project and skill goals. 
  • Use your sicssors to cut small notches at regular intervals (for example, every finger width) across two opposing sides of your box. These will be used to string your warp.
  • String your warp by taking a long piece of string and placing it through each of the opposing notches. Keep the tension tight, but don’t bend the box. Your box should now look look like a cage with vertical string bars. These strings are your warp. The pieces you will weave through your warp are called your weft.
  • Create your weft by working from right to left or left to right and weaving your string, fabric, or whatever it is you want to weave through the warp. Go under one (#1) string, over the next (#2) warp string, under the following string (#3) etc. until you reach the end of the row. At the end of the row, take another color or use the same material you have been and go back in the opposite direction. This time, however, you want to go under every string you previously went over (the even numbered parts of the warp) and over every string you previously went under (the odd parts of the warp). This process is known as weaving. Check out this box tutorial here.
  • After becoming familiar with this basic technique try to make shapes by starting to change threads at different points in your horizontal row. Hide the starts of your new colors/materials in the back of your piece. This is one way people make patterns for their tapestries. Now you’re ready to play with a variety of weaving patterns. Check out these for inspiration.
  • Continue to use these techniques until you either tire of the process and desire a shortcut, or until you have finished your piece.
  • Make a heddle
    • After you practice your over-under and under-over weaving you will quickly desire a heddle. There are many different types of heddles, but one you can add to your cardboard loom is a string heddle. You’ll need two sticks the width of you loom and string. There is a great online tutorial to make these here. After you master this technique you can save your string heddle and use them on a different project, like a backstrap loom, or you can make a ridgid heddle or experiment with a really large loom, There are many ways to explore this new skill.

To learn some advanced techniques or explore other types of looms use your library card to try out Creative Bug weaving classes or check out some books.