How to Make and String a Loom

Make a loom that can be customized to fit your weaving project. Our step-by-step video shows you how to build a loom, string the warp, and create the shed.

Learn how to make and warp a loom from a simple canvas stretcher.

There's something so special about handcrafted textiles. Whether you're looking to expand your weaving skills or want to create a chic DIY wall hanging, our homemade loom will get you started. Making one yourself is fairly simple: Attach nails to a wood frame or canvas stretcher, then string it with medium-weight yarn to create the warp. Our how-to instructions walk you through the loom-making process, including properly placing the nails and stringing the warp.

What You Need

  • Wood frame or canvas stretcher, 12x16 inches
  • Ruler
  • 3/4-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Dowel, cut to frame size
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Painters tape

Step 1: Mark the Frame

Measure 1/2 inch from the inside corner on both short sides of the wood frame. Mark spots. Measure 1/2 inch in from the long sides of the frame. Continue measuring across bottom of the frame in 1/2-inch increments. Repeat along top of frame. Hammer nails into marked spots.

Step 2: String the Loom

String the loom to create the warp—or the vertical strings used for weaving the weft (horizontal strings). Starting in the lower left corner, tie a knot around the nail with one end of medium-weight yarn. Pull yarn up to first nail on the top left, go around the nail, and continue back down to the bottom of the second nail, wrapping around it. Continue stringing thread across the loom until the warp is complete. Keep the tension even and taught; you want a nice bounce to the warp yarn. Tie off at the last nail on the bottom right.

Step 3: Cut Cardboard

Cut a piece of cardboard about 1-1/2 inches wider than your loom. For reference, we cut ours to 1-1/2x11 inches. Insert cardboard along the bottom of the loom by weaving it in and out across the warp. This will make it easier to remove the final product once weaving is complete.

Step 4: Insert Dowel

Cut a dowel to the width of loom. Weave the dowel in and out, left to right,  opposite the cardboard piece. Push to the top. This piece is the shed; it will allow for one row of the warp strings to be lifted when moved toward the bottom of the loom. Apply painters tape over bottom row of nails to prevent strings from slipping while you weave.

Creative Things to Do with Dowels

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