Building a Rug Hooking Frame

Lap Model
Lap Model

Build or buy? It’s a tough question. There are several issues to consider when building a rug hook frame. You will want to consider frame size, location of use, ability to transport, type of wood, type of fasteners, and whether to stain or paint. Also, the design you create will depend on if you do rug hooking daily.

Fame size – A small 10 inch frame is easier to manage and transport, but is inefficient as you will have to move your base material often on the frame. A larger 20 inch frame requires less moving of your base material, but is bulky and difficult to transport. Also, a larger frame is almost impossible to use while sitting. Do you watch TV while hooking? If so, a larger 20 inch floor model is a nice wide unit, but will likely obstruct your view while sitting. A 16 inch frame is easy to use and a large enough space that you can work for several minutes before having to move your material.

Location of use – If you are sitting upright in a chair, consider a floor model. If you are sitting in a recliner, consider a laptop model. Also, a laptop model is easier to store and easier to set aside when getting up from your chair. Most lap models have a shield underneath the hooking surface to protect you from poking your leg, hooking your blouse, or hooking into the arm of your chair.

Ability to transport – This is a key issue to consider. If you work in a social group, you may want to bring your frame with you. A fixed design is typically more rigid, but an annoyance to travel with. Your entire rear view of your vehicle may be blocked by the device, or, you may have difficulties getting it into your back seat or trunk to begin with. You will want to seriously consider building (or buying) one that is collapsible, but not one that requires you to take it apart each trip. Having to carry a bag of tools is annoying and extra baggage to lug when entering a friend’s home, especially if you are rug hooking daily.

Type of wood – A “hard wood” will be more durable, so consider using oak or maple. Additionally, oak has a straight grain and doesn’t tend to splinter. I have seen frames made of (inexpensive) pine, but the knots show through over time if painted and they crack easily. Pine is inexpensive and looks nice initially if stained, but not durable long-term.

Type of fasteners – The barb wires should be securely fastened to the frame. You should also consider having the wire tape glued to the frame. Stapling the barb tape to the frame can crack the frame if done too close to the edge. You may want to consider having stainless steel barbs if you store your frame in a damp basement or live in a humid environment.

Stain or paint – A properly applied stain brings out the beauty of the wood. Paint looks cheap and can rub off on your project or even your clothes if using a laptop version. A rubbed stain, dried, then covered in polyurethane looks beautiful and protects the wood nicely.

A well designed rug hooking frame should be easy to transport, easy to store, durable, and make your social event more enjoyable.

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