Weaving is one of the oldest skill trades in the world today. The skill is reminiscent of a world where everything had to be made by hand whether it clothes or houses. In the days of our ancestors it became an essential task that every young person needed to learn to survive. Many people who weave did not have the fancy looms that we enjoy today. Many of those people who used weaving to survive had to build their own weaving looms in order to practice their trade skill.
The reasons for wanting to make your own loom are endless. Some weavers prefer to have their own custom looms to help with whatever design they are working on. There are some weavers that have search for the perfect loom only to find out that the cost of said loom is around the $3000 mark.
Whatever the reason, making your own weaving loom does not have to be a hassle. Weaving looms can be made from an assortment of materials whether it be wood or cardboard. Traditionally weaving looms are constructed from wood because it is inexpensive and is sturdy enough to hold up against the constant motion needed when weaving for long periods of time. Below we are going to outline how to create a simple weaving loom to fit your purposes.
The first thing that you need to decide is how large do you want the weaving loom to be. This is an important step because the size you want will determine the size of material that you will need. This will also help determine the skill set of the weaver. You would not want an overly large weaving loom if you were a novice weaver. Once you have decided on a size it is time to gather your materials. A list of materials can be found below:
For the loom frame:
• 4 pieces of hardwood. The size you want the weaving loom to be will determine the size boards you need. Typically you are going to want to obtain a more rectangular shape.
• You will need a drill to drill screws and brackets into their place. You could use hammer and nails but a drill and screws are more effective.
• 4 screws. Standard size for screws would be about 1” but this will also vary with the thickness you want your loom to be as well as the size of the boards.
• 4 corner brackets. As with the screws the standard size is 1” but thickness and length of the wood does come into play. Typically whatever size screws you go with you need to get the same size brackets.
• A sharp knife
Assembling the frame is an important task. You will begin by forming a rectangle or square, depending on the length of your wood pieces. You need to then take a bracket to one of the corners of the frame and mark with a pencil where the bracket holes meet up. Remove the bracket and use your drill to drill holes at each mark, then place the bracket back into place and drill in place with screws. Do this with each of the corners. You could choose to just screw the frame into place and that would still be an effective frame. By using brackets it give the loom an overall better appearance and leaves the option to later add legs to the back of the frame for weavers who want a self-standing loom. Then take your knife and carve eight grooves on the inside of the loom at the top and the bottom. It is important to ensure that the grooves all line up exactly otherwise the loom will not work properly.
Warping the frame is an important task. In order to properly warp your frame you need to tie the end of your string to the first groove starting at the upper left corner of the frame. Make sure that you knot the string in place. You then need to take the string and bring it directly down over the opening of the frame all the way to the bottom groove that corresponds with the top knotted groove. You will then thread the string back up to the second groove and complete the above steps until all the grooves have been connected. Make sure to keep a good amount of tension in the strings but not enough tension that the strings are at risk of breaking. When you reach the end tie the string to the last groove before cutting away an excess string. This vertical set of strings is what weavers refer to as the warp.
Weavers have many preferences and some weavers prefer that their looms stand independently. Small legs can be added to these frames either in the front of the back to offer that added support. All it would take are additional small blocks of wood, the length depending on the angle the weaver prefers and can be attached with either wood glue or can be screwed right into the frame. These steps are optional as each weaver is unique in their preferences. For the weavers that prefer that their frames have legs it is important to attach little rubber covers over the ends of the legs to prevent the legs from causing damage to other surfaces. The product Sugru is a good alternative as it is a self-setting rubber that will prevent damages to other surfaces.
If wooden looms are not for you weavers also have used cardboard looms to work. Cardboard looms are the most inexpensive way to loom weave because you can take a cardboard pizza box and you are half way to having a proper loom. You will then have to take some of your yarn and evenly wrap it around the cardboard box. Always make sure that you have wrapped your yarn around to an even number. Then you just take a weaving needle or tapestry needle to help keep your weaving pattern. By using cardboard you eliminate the need to create shuttles and heddles.