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Weaving Tutorials for Beginners & Kids | Loom Techniques, Lessons and Craft Projects

Updated on December 19, 2015
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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.

Harrisville Designs 7" Potholder (Traditional Size) Deluxe Loom Kit, Makes 6 Potholders
Harrisville Designs 7" Potholder (Traditional Size) Deluxe Loom Kit, Makes 6 Potholders

A quality and traditionally styled potholder loom measuring 7" across, with enough cotton loops provided to create 6 woven squares.

 
Harrisville Designs Lap Loom (Style A)
Harrisville Designs Lap Loom (Style A)

A well-built hardwood lap loom with basic weaving accessories provided such as shed sticks, stick shuttle and tapestry needle.

 
4M Weaving Loom Kit
4M Weaving Loom Kit

Beginner's plastic loom set, perfect for kids, which can weave small projects such as coasters.

 
Ashford Weaving Rigid Heddle Loom - 16"
Ashford Weaving Rigid Heddle Loom - 16"

A more expensive and higher quality rigid heddle loom with a 16" weaving width. It's a versatile loom which you can create complex patterns with.

 

Wool Roving Weaving

This is a Kromski Harp loom which has been set up with a cotton warp and a wool roving weft.
This is a Kromski Harp loom which has been set up with a cotton warp and a wool roving weft. | Source

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.

Simple Loom

A simple loom like this one is a great starter loom, and is perfect for kids to use.
A simple loom like this one is a great starter loom, and is perfect for kids to use. | Source

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

Shows you what you can accomplish even as a beginner!
Shows you what you can accomplish even as a beginner! | Source

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 :-)

Peg Loom Weaving

Weaving on a peg-loom with natural plant-dyed wool and wool roving.
Weaving on a peg-loom with natural plant-dyed wool and wool roving. | Source

Tapestry Weaving in Egypt

Weaving tapestries at Wissa Wassef.
Weaving tapestries at Wissa Wassef. | Source

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.

Lion Brand Yarn Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Loom Kit
Lion Brand Yarn Martha Stewart Crafts Knit and Weave Loom Kit

Examples of the looms you can assemble with this kit are: a rosette loom, a rake loom and a round loom. Also included with this product are knitting and weaving tools, needles and a crochet hook, plus instructions and patterns for 3 projects.

This is an excellent all-in-one craft product for people of any skill level.

 

Rigid Heddle Weaving

The brand of loom is the Kromski Harp.
The brand of loom is the Kromski Harp. | Source

Potholders

Weaving on potholder looms produce woven squares which can be used as coasters or potholders, or joined together to make scarves, dishcloths, blankets etc.
Weaving on potholder looms produce woven squares which can be used as coasters or potholders, or joined together to make scarves, dishcloths, blankets etc. | Source

Woven Project Instructions

Easy projects which help you understand the concept of weaving.

Kente Cloth Loom

Traditional Kente cloth being woven in Ghana.

Photo by Lee D. Baker.

Handwoven Towels

Source

Weaving in Nature

Use nature's loom by weaving between two tree branches.
Use nature's loom by weaving between two tree branches. | Source

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

Have you woven anything before?

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Please Leave a Comment!

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    • Shanir LM profile image

      Shanir LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens XD

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 5 years ago

      Always enjoy seeing others creativity. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • profile image

      Traceeshobbies 5 years ago

      I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, I think I will start now!

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 5 years ago

      I want to try roving weaving, ASAP!! Blessings. Great lens.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      TinTeddy 5 years ago

      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 :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      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.

    • CraftaholicVete profile image

      CraftaholicVete 4 years ago

      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.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      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.

    • profile image

      ScentsWithBling 3 years ago

      Great lens! I have been wanting to learn to weave for a long time. Your lens has given me lots to think about

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 3 years ago from Vermont

      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.

    • profile image

      ladynaturekm 3 years ago

      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.

    • wellingtonboot profile image
      Author

      wellingtonboot 3 years ago from U.K.

      @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 :)

    • Lgraham7980 profile image

      Lgraham7980 3 years ago

      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!

    • Lgraham7980 profile image

      Lgraham7980 3 years ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Nancy at ColorFiberTexture 22 months ago

      I noticed the link to my Rigid Heddle loom warping tutorial isn't working. I recently upgraded my website - here is the new link: http://www.colorfibertexture.com/2010/07/weaving-o...

      and http://www.colorfibertexture.com/2010/08/rigid-hed...

    • profile image

      Robert Rinkus--- 10 months ago

      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!

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