How to Weave Fabric & Build Your Own Looms
If you're interested in having a go at hand weaving, then you've come to the right place. Below you will find plenty of beginners information on the different looms available, plus online lessons for building, as well as using, different types of loom.
There are all kinds of looms which vary greatly in complexity and price. Peg looms and cardboard looms are cheap and perfect for trying weaving for the first time. I've focussed on the early stages of learning to weave on this page, and if you would like to take this hobby further, I recommend taking lessons so you can try using more complex and expensive looms before taking the plunge and buying one yourself.
You will also find some weaving tutorials to give you some great ideas for starter projects. I hope you find this page useful!
Lego Loom Machine
A great way to see how looms work - keep your eyes on the green thread!
Top-Rated Weaving Looms
Unless you make your own loom with the DIY plans on this page, you will need to buy a loom. There are a few types available, with the potholder loom being the simplest. I would recommend a rigid heddle loom for keen beginners.
Wool Roving Weaving
Some Weaving Terminology
A Few Terms To Know If You Are Keen To Weave on Looms
LOOM = The tool used to weave fabric.
WARP = The lengthwise, parallel threads on which you weave. They are held in position and kept under tension.
WEFT = The crosswise threads which are moved in and out of the warp threads.
HEDDLES = Long wires or threads inside a harness. Each heddle holds an individual thread of the warp in place.
HARNESS (sometimes called a SHAFT ) = A frame which holds the heddles. The harnesses move up and down to create the shed. Most commonly, there are 2 or 4 harnesses on a loom.
SHED = An opening created by lifting warp threads in different combinations. The opening/shed is for the weft thread to go through.
TREADLE = These raise the harnesses and are powered by the user's feet. The order in which the harnesses are raised determines the pattern of the woven fabric. Each treadle is tied (by the user) to each harness, or to multiple harnesses at once.
CASTLE = Holds the harnesses and is usually part of the loom's supporting framework.
SHUTTLE = Sticks which pass the weft threads across the warp threads.
REED = A metal 'comb' type tool which has metal strips set equal distances apart. This tool determines how many threads per inch there will be in your warp (8, 10, 12 and 15 are the most popular).
APRON = A piece of canvas which attaches to the cloth beam and the warp beam. It holds the bar/rod for attaching the warp threads to.
WARP BEAM = A beam at the rear of the loom where the warp is wrapped.
CLOTH BEAM = A beam at the front of the loom where the woven fabric (i.e. the cloth) is wound.
BRAKE = Stops the beams from turning until necessary.
For further weaving terms, have a look at this glossary.
Types of Loom Available
There are several types of loom available, as well as a few variations of each type. I'm going to be covering the construction and use of cardboard looms, simple frame looms, potholder looms and peg looms on this page. If you enjoy weaving on these starter looms, then it would be a great idea to take a weaving class before investing in more complex and expensive looms. I will not be covering anything too complicated on this page as it is aimed at complete beginners.
Click here for the basic principles of weaving before you explore looms.
The looms you may come across are:
- FRAME LOOMS are quite simple, small and inexpensive. They consist of a wooden frame with 4 components; heddles, a heddle rod, a warp beam, and a shed stick.
- RIGID HEDDLE LOOMS are a popular choice and are cheaper than most types. They are simple and portable frame looms with rigid heddles to hold the warp threads still when weaving. They don't have multiple harnesses so the weave pattern is limited to plain weave designs (unless using pick-up sticks). This type of loom is a bit more complicated than frame looms as it has 9 components including a cloth beam and apron bars.
- HARNESS LOOMS have multiple harnesses and are portable. The weaving width starts at about 15", and the loom has a beater that presses the woven threads down evenly throughout the weaving process. These are large looms and the 15+ components included with the loom allow greater control over the weave pattern. Harness looms can create large amounts of fabric quickly. Click here to learn about 4-Harness Looms.
- TABLE LOOMS are good for your first 'proper' loom purchase as they are small and lightweight enough to sit on a table. The possible weaving width can vary between about 15" and 22" usually. Table looms have levers on top rather than foot-operated treadles to lift the harnesses.
- FLOOR LOOMS are larger than table looms and use treadles to control the harnesses.
- BACKSTRAP LOOMS are a more casual and fun weaving tool, and are the most portable of all looms. They use a rigid heddle and you tie one end (via a backstrap) to yourself and then the other end to a fixed point like a tree/fence/table etc to maintain the tension.
- INKLE LOOMS are used for weaving belts and sashes.
- TAPESTRY LOOMS are very varied. The most basic is the simple peg loom which is great for beginners. On the other hand, the looms can be very big and complex with treadles and harnesses. These looms stand upright and the tapestries are woven section by section.
- DOBBY LOOMS have a mechanical or computerized system to lift the harnesses in a programmed sequence. They can have up to 40 harnesses.
- JACQUARD LOOMS allow each thread to be controlled individually and can be used to weave complex patterns and pictures.
Kromski Harp Rigid Heddle Loom
Weaving Lesson Videos - View Weaving in Action for a Better Understanding
Weaving Tutorials - How to Make and Use Your Own Looms
More professional and commercial looms will need to be bought, however you can make your own cardboard, wooden frame and peg looms quite easily yourself :-)
- Make a Cardboard Loom
Make the easiest and cheapest loom and learn the basics.
- How to Use a Peg Loom
How to weave on a wooden peg loom.
- Peg Loom Details
Info on what you can use to weave and more.
- Make a Peg Loom
How to construct your own own with wood and dowel.
- How to Use a Frame Loom
How to build the loom and how to begin weaving on it.
- DIY Simple Frame Loom
Build your own loom with a simple framework.
- Large Frame Loom
With extra additions for a more professional loom.
- Giant Floor Loom
Create rugs on this loom using up old t-shirts and fabric rags.
- DIY Potholder Loom
Make a square framed loom for making potholders with.
- Using a Potholder Loom
A video lesson on weaving a potholder.
- Downloadable Instructions
Tutorials for different types of loom.
- Potholder Making Patterns
Patterns for different sizes of potholder loom.
- Potholder Basics and Beyond
All you need to know about potholder looms.
Peg Loom Weaving
Tapestry Weaving in Egypt
Weaving Tips & More How-Tos
- Joining Fabric Strips
How to join strips of fabric to create a continuous piece.
- Hula Hoop Loom
An unusual technique to make a woven circular shape.
- Loom Making Tutorial
Efficient loom you can make yourself.
- T-Shirt Weaving
Constructing a simple loom and making large fabric pieces from jersey.
- Make Your Own Yarn
From fabric, plastic or even newspaper.
- Check Weave Potholder
How to create a check pattern on a weavette potholder loom.
- Triangle Loom
How to build and use a triangle shaped loom.
- 2 Types of Circular Loom
2 ideas for cardboard looms that are ideal for kid's crafts.
- Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom - Part 1
Nicely photographed guide to using this popular loom.
- Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom - Part 2
Nicely photographed guide to using this popular loom.
- DIY Inkle Loom
Narrow loom to make scarves and guitar/bag straps on.
- Tapestry Loom
Detailed step-by-step instructions on building a tapestry loom.
- 'L' Loom Plans
Instructions for constructing a very simple loom.
Salish Woven Art Hanging
This piece was woven on a frame loom and incorporates tapestry weaving techniques and woven-in fringe embellishment.
If you would like to know more about Salish Weaving, click here.
Photo by Georgette.
Fun Knitting & Weaving Loom Kit
This versatile kit contains many different straight and curved plastic pieces which slot together into 30 or more different configurations. Each configuration is a different shape or size of loom, which allows you to get creative and weave or knit lots of different shapes and projects including hats and blankets.
Weaving Basics & Further Information
- Types of Weaving
3 pages of weaving terms and types of loom.
- Help Selecting a Loom
If you are serious about getting into weaving.
- Weaving Background
Weaving history from around the world.
- Buying a Weaving Loom
All about looms, and what to look for when buying.
- Frame Loom Basics
The construction and use of this type of handloom.
Rigid Heddle Weaving
Things To Make - For Beginners Without Expensive Equipment
- Greetings Card
Create a lovely woven decoration on a card.
- Woven Trivet
Rustic trivet made from scraps of fabric.
- Woven Rag Rug
A no-sew rug which is useful for recycling fabric.
- Eyeglasses Case
How to turn a potholder square into a glasses case.
- Ribbon Pendant
Tutorial for weaving ribbon and making jewellery with it.
- Woven Cork Tray
Doesn't need a loom but is a nice project.
- Summer Placemat
Colourful mat made with t-shirt yarn.
- Woven Leather Stool
Build a lovely stool with a woven top.
- Sock Potholders
Use socks to create fabric loops for your loom.
- Rope & Pom-Pom Rug
Impressive and colourful rug made by weaving with cardboard.
- Woven Patches
Create luxurious and detailed patches for mending or adorning clothes.
- Weaving on Twigs
Make attractive ornaments using yarn and a bit of nature.
- Advanced Friendship Bracelet
The classic weaving project with a more challenging design.
Woven Project Instructions
Easy projects which help you understand the concept of weaving.
- Cat Mat
Weave with fleece for a super soft rug.
- Laptop or iPad Case
Weave soft yarn around your laptop or iPad.
- Zakka Napkins
With sweet little designs embroidered on the front.
- Bead Weaving
Technique for making beaded jewellery.
- Woven Heart Card
A Valentine's day greeting card made with paper strips.
- Hula Hoop Rug
How to weave a circular t-shirt rug.
- DIY Flossy Bangle
Very pretty bangle revamp created using embroidery floss.
- Paper Weave Cards
Simple but effective woven paper greetings cards.
- Woven Rope Bench
Transform a bench by adding rope seating.
- Complex Ojo De Dios
Beautiful woven 'God's Eye' decoration - a kit is available to buy.
- Weaving a Doll's House Basket
Make a cute mini basket for a dollhouse.
- Hot Air Balloons
Free template for weaving together card balloons shapes.
Kente Cloth Loom
Traditional Kente cloth being woven in Ghana.
Photo by Lee D. Baker.
More Creative Tutorials & How-Tos
- Woven Satchel Bag
Create a woven ribbon and trim section to make a fashionable leather bag.
- Paper Weaving Artwork
Make your own modern wall art with just paper strips.
- Loom Beading
Beadweaving can be used for all kind of décor and jewelry.
- Christmas Tree Topper
Weave gold metallic paper into a pretty ornament.
- Woven Chair Seat
Revamp a chair by using plastic string for the seat.
- Braided Cotton Belt
Detailed tutorial showing how to braid two yarn colours together.
- Tasselled Wall Hanging
Beautiful weaving made within a simple wooden frame.
- Aluminium Chair Makeover
Colorful transformation created by weaving onto the aluminium frame.
- Boho Woven Chargers
Experimenting with different yarns and textures produces lovely results.
Kid's Weaving Activities
- Woven Coasters
Using a styrofoam tray as the loom.
- Weaving with Nature
Using natural and found items for creative works of art.
- Branch Weaving
Using the natural shape of branches to create unique weaving patterns.
- Dyed Wool Art
Weave with wool roving dyed with Kool Aid.
- Homemade Jump Rope
Kids can weave the rope on their hands.
- Woven Sun
Create a pretty circle decoration using a cereal box.
- Miniature Weaving
How to do small scale weaving for jewelry.
- Woven Watch Strap
Customize your watch with a DIY braided strap.
- Cardboard Looms
A tutorial for helping kids get started with weaving.
Weaving in Nature
Weaving Inspiration & Blogs
Weaving archives of tutorials and great ideas.
- Weavette Projets
Things that have been made with the popular Weavette loom.
- Hand Woven Inspiration
Lovely complex hand woven products.
- Handmade Rugs
Woven rugs of all kinds to give you ideas.
Lots of people's projects on display to give you ideas.
- eLoomaNation Gallery
Photos of home décor projects, accessories and more.
Lots of articles and interesting information.
Top-Rated Weaving Books
Books offer a great wealth of information for keen beginners as well as experiences weavers, and they are packed full of unique and inspiring project ideas. There are some of the best examples:
Ikat Rug Weaving
Please Leave a Comment!
Robert Rinkus--- on September 11, 2016:
I am 92 and as I lay in bed last night I could not go to sleep. I was feeling the soft texture of the high density woven sheet our son recently bought and began thinking------how marvelous the weaving machines. Just think of it-----weaving a cloth with over 600 threads per square inch----I could not sleep for sure thinking about that. So I got out of bed and found this wonderful instructive article---thank you Leggo! And the best weaving in the world is still done here in the good old USA!
Lgraham7980 on March 06, 2014:
Oh I misrepresented on the poll. Sorry. Wasn't thinking about the loom knitting I do as actually being a woven kind of craft. Sorry!
Lgraham7980 on March 06, 2014:
Oh my goodness! I have been reading through a few of the links on your lens. So much great information in one place! Awesome job and thank you for sharing all your research. I am always on the lookout for new craft and this one page has given me more ideas than I probably have lives left lol!
wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on February 17, 2014:
@ladynaturekm: I don't have that loom myself but I think your best bet would be to try to find a Youtube video on setting up that loom or a similar one :)
ladynaturekm on February 08, 2014:
I really need help here. I've done bead weaving but not loom weaving. Recently a friend bought me a Brio Loom. It did come with instructions, but I really don't understand them that well. It does have a sample set up on the loom, but the loom itself is not set up & I don't know how to do that. Can someone, literally; walk me through setting up this type of loom.
Lee Hansen from Vermont on November 05, 2013:
The nature weaving is on my list of projects to try with my grandchildren. I'd like to set up an area in our yard that fosters this type of nature and craft activity.
ScentsWithBling on August 24, 2013:
Great lens! I have been wanting to learn to weave for a long time. Your lens has given me lots to think about
Rosetta Slone from Under a coconut tree on March 15, 2013:
Wow! You've put so much work into this lens, and it was well worth it. What a fabulous resource, and all the terminology is so well explained and illustrated. Good job.
CraftaholicVete on October 20, 2012:
Awesome lens! I knit with the knifty knitter and that is sort of like the peg weaving but I know it's not the same. Very interesting and am wanting to try weaving. Thanks. Keeping this for another day.
anonymous on June 15, 2012:
Wow! You've done an awesome job on this lens! I am amazed by the lady weaving in the picture titled "Tapestry Weaving in Egypt." I couldn't imagine creating something that detailed with a loom!
I haven't weaved since I was in elementary school, but I loved it at the time. I just might try something now. I've never heard of weaving with beads before, very interesting as well.
TinTeddy on April 21, 2012:
Thank you, that was very interesting. Just one little point - you can do more than plainweave on a fixed heddle loom, using pick up sticks :-)
miaponzo on March 23, 2012:
I've just started weaving and I do a traditional type of Kuwaiti (Arabian) weaving called "Al-Sadu)... it's amazing and fun, and now I'm trying to get into other types! That roving weaving looks amazing! Blessed!
bikerministry on February 15, 2012:
I want to try roving weaving, ASAP!! Blessings. Great lens.
Traceeshobbies on January 11, 2012:
I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, I think I will start now!
bead at home mom on August 15, 2011:
Always enjoy seeing others creativity. Thanks for the inspiration.
Shanir LM on July 06, 2011:
Nice lens XD