How to Make a Tabletop Loom

By Margaret Mills

Weaving is an ancient art that is experiencing a resurgence among handcrafters. Looms vary from simple card or the ancient backstrap looms to full-size looms that take up most of a room. Small tabletop looms produce attractive fabric for potholders, mats, belts and bags. A simple frame loom that fits on a tabletop is a good choice for children or beginners. A small frame loom can be made with just a few pieces of wood. Ordinary white pine or fir works well for the frame, but you might wish to use a hardwood, such as maple, for the shed stick.

List of Items Needed

  • 3/4-inch lumber, 1 1/2 by 55 inches
  • 5/16-inch dowel, 13 inches long
  • 1/4-inch lumber, 2 by 12 inches
  • Skill saw or hand saw
  • Rotary cutting tool with wood-cutting wheel
  • Clamp
  • Drill with 5/16-inch bit
  • Wood glue or mallet
  • Hammer
  • Oscillating sanding tool
  • Sandpaper
  1. Cut the 55-inch-long board into four pieces: two 11-inch lengths and two 16-inch lengths. Cut the dowel into eight pieces, each 1 1/2 inches long, with a rotary cutting tool.

  2. Clamp one of the 16-inch pieces to a workbench or table. Position the shorter pieces and the other long piece on the workbench so the short pieces are on top at the board ends at right angles. Mark two spots diagonally at each corner.

  3. Drill two holes with a 5/16-inch bit at each mark, making two holes at each corner through both pieces of wood.

  4. Coat each dowel piece with wood glue and insert them into the holes. Use a hammer or mallet to hammer them all the way through. Let them dry.

  5. Sand the frame, when the glue is dry, removing any rough edges. Sand the dowel ends so the junction is smooth and the dowels are level with the boards. Use an oscillating sanding tool or sand the pieces by hand. This is your loom frame.

  6. Sand a 12-by-1/4-inch piece of hardwood, rounding the ends. It needs to be smooth enough it will not catch or snag the yarn or string. Sand the sides smooth. This is the shed stick or needle.

Tips and Warnings

  • To use this simple loom, you will also need a chop stick or dowel, and a comb or fork to use as a “beater.”
  • Place a piece of scrap wood beneath your boards before drilling to protect your workbench or table.

© Demand Media 2011