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.