Build Your Own Loom

I have had a lot of queries about my first loom – the one I created with a picture frame, ice-block sticks and rubber bands.  I don’t have a full tutorial, but here are some pictures and notes…

  • First up, for the frame I used canvas stretchers.  You can take the canvas off an old painting that you find in a junk shop or go to an art store and buy canvas stretchers (the timber frame) in any size you want.  I have stacks of old paintings lying around, so used one of those (you can see some of the staples I didn’t take out!).
  • The back and front beams were dowel from the hardware store.  I drilled holes across the dowel at each end and inserted a small stick to poke out (more on that later)
  • The beams were held in place with brackets created with wide ice-block sticks that I attached with a hot glue gun.  I used two together on either side of the frame, on left and right, top and bottom.
  • In place of a ratchet and pawl system to maintain tension, I used rubber bands.  I added a small ‘hook’ to the ice-block stick brackets using the tip of another ice-block stick.  Then I stretched elastic bands from one bracket, to the small stick poking out of the side of the dowel – a pawl if you like.  They worked surprisingly well considering!  You can see them on the picture of the loom with red yarn setup on it.  I doubled up the system by stretching a band from the hook on one side right over to the hook on the other side.
  • Then there was the heddle….!!!! I didn’t really think this through before creating it, otherwise I would have lined up all the skinny ice-block sticks and used a ruler to mark where to drill the heddle holes.  Never the less, the scheme worked by-and-large.  The issues were with the roughness of the holes and edges on the yarn despite my sanding efforts.
  • The second issue I had with the heddle was the lack of heddle stands.  I held it up and pushed it down to create sheds, which was doable… in the end I put two large bulldog clips on the frame to balance the heddle on (no pic, sorry).
  • The system worked well enough to make half a dozen blankets and a few scarves on.  I ditched my wonky heddle after a while and replaced it with an Ashford heddle.  If I had been smarter, I would have got the heddle in the same width as the loom I was going to buy ‘one day’ but my crystal ball gazing didn’t reveal what that size might eventually be!  The Ashford heddle balanced beautifully on the bulldog clips BTW.




3 responses to Build Your Own Loom

  1. KerryCan

    That’s pretty industrious of you! It’s a great project to get you started and I bet it gave you all kinds of insight to how a loom works.

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