How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom

comments (49) January 15th, 2016     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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Weaving like this can be the basis for so many projects: place mats, coasters, bags, hats—use your imagination.
Keep your edges a little loose, and theyll stay nice and straight.
An ordinary salad fork makes a great tool for keeping your weaving snug.
Weaving like this can be the basis for so many projects: place mats, coasters, bags, hats—use your imagination.

Weaving like this can be the basis for so many projects: place mats, coasters, bags, hats—use your imagination.

Photo: All photos by Diane Gilleland
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Weaving is such a meditative, relaxing craft-and at the end of it, you have fabric! You don't need a lot of expensive equipment to take up weaving. Here's how to build a simple loom on a piece of cardboard.

I like to re-use cardboard shipping envelopes for my simple looms. They're very sturdy, yet easy to cut with a pair of strong scissors. You can also use a sheet of cardboard, but I don't recommend corrugated for this project.

coaster Find more weaving projects:

• How to Create an Easy Double-Weave Spring Vase
• How to Weave a Basket from Newspaper
• How to Weave an Easter Basket from Recycled Boxes
  A sturdy cardboard shipping envelope makes a great loom.

Begin by deciding how wide you want your weaving to be. Are you making a bookmark? Then you only need a few inches of width. If you're making something larger, like a sunglasses case, you'll want to weave wider. Mark your preferred width onto your cardboard.

  Mark 1/4-inch increments along both sides of the cardboard.

Next, measure and mark every 1/4 inch along the edge of your cardboard, working between the two width marks you made in the previous step.

Draw a line 1/2 inch from the edge of the cardboard. This will serve as a cutting guide.

  Cut into the cardboard at each 1/4-inch mark.

Use a pair of strong scissors to cut a series of slits in the edge of the envelope, 1/4 inch apart. Use that guideline you drew in the previous step to help you keep all these slits about the same depth. (But don't worry about being too precise, as you can see in this photo.)

Repeat these steps on the opposite edge of the cardboard.

  Wedge the yarn into the first slit, leaving about a 3-inch tail.

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Comments (49)

NagpalThreads writes: I like this way 'weaving on cardboard loom'. I will show this post to my daughter. She fond of art and craft. She will make it for art and craft class. Thanks.
Posted: 3:38 am on March 17th
Januk writes: Hi there Diane and everyone I am new too this website and guess what I love it and guess again have just found what I've been looking for on the very firs lot of Ideas and inspirations on how too make things and found out how too make a Cardboard Loom which I am really think that I will love trying and making lots of ideas once again thank you Diane for all your clear inspiration and ideas.

Posted: 2:56 pm on March 14th
SusanneBendtner writes: Looks quite easy, but it will be nice if you show us a whole project
Posted: 5:26 am on January 21st
JohnFinchley writes: Great tutorial! My mother used to do weaving like this back in 2004. She was a pro. I will search and post some images of her works.
Posted: 12:07 pm on August 13th
enufalready writes: Icampb states "If you loop all the way around the cardboard and weave on both sides . . .", which is exactly what I want to do. But how is that done? Do you loop around the tab on both sides (every other one)?

Posted: 3:51 pm on December 22nd
feminineeffects writes: hi! i just joined specifically to pass on my gratitude for you sharing such an easy and concise tutorial!

i've been scouring the web for various tutorials for all different kinds of crafts for probably a decade and i think this is the best and most accessible one i've ever come across!!

just as another commenter praised you for, i also appreciate the back view of the loom. i was confused at first thinking the yarn had to be wrapped completely around the loom, which i knew sounded off to me.

i've wanted to try looming for so long, especially with the invention of instagram and seeing all the gorgeous and endlessly creative work displayed there, but accessing/building a wooden loom isn't feasible for me at the moment. but i do have some pizza boxes waiting to be recycled that i'm going to start disassembling (i'll be using the lids only) when i'm done typing my eternal thanks for your efforts to make and offer such a straight forward and easy going tutorial!

thank you so much!

Posted: 9:49 pm on April 17th
Pol4u writes: I am sending this to three of my friends who have recently started knitting. I think this will be a big help for those of us who haven't gone to a knitting store. It looked like a great tutorial.
Posted: 6:29 pm on October 25th
CraftyIvy writes: I have a question... Can you do this with embroidery floss or other string? My hand loom recently broke and I'm trying to find a new way to weave cloth. Oh, and this tutorial is amazing: clear, precise, with tips and everything. Thanks!
Posted: 10:16 am on December 27th
weeblprebish writes: This is awesome! Great instructions. I'm using this for a project, it's really a lifesaver. :)
Posted: 12:28 pm on October 14th
lovestuff writes: this is a great idea. i like the idea of using pins instead of ctting
Posted: 10:05 am on May 11th
elsayedelymanu writes: The idea of ​​the loom is simple and beautiful, which gives any user to do like you very much
Posted: 12:20 pm on January 29th
terisal writes: Great tutorial!!! What if I want to weave something really some far apart should I make my marks? The finished item I want to be a little less than a 1/2" wide.
Posted: 8:53 am on September 19th
terisal writes: Great tutorial!!! What if I want to weave something really some far apart should I make my marks? The finished item I want to be a little less than a 1/2" wide.
Posted: 8:52 am on September 19th
terisal writes: Great tutorial!!! What if I want to weave something really some far apart should I make my marks? The finished item I want to be a little less than a 1/2" wide.
Posted: 8:52 am on September 19th
BlueHazel writes: This project has become a success with the children in my After-school program. I made the looms from leftover sections of picture frame matting and we've been using fabric strips to loom with. The results are beautiful and the children gain an amazing sense of accomplishment. I will post pix soon.
I would like to teach them how to keep it all together without tying the yarn at the ends, if anyone has suggestions (fyi- the kids are ages 4 to 12yrs, so uncomplicated is best).
Thanx from myself and the children :)

Posted: 1:18 pm on April 22nd
tmkrowan writes: I agree that the warp cords/threads should never be cut! I have my students wrap the warp cord four times at the beginning, and at the end of the warping, with the tail tucked to the back of the board. Then, when the weaving is done and carefully taken off the board, they unwrap the beginning and end warp cords. They thread their weaving needle, and tuck these cords vertically into their weaving, first down, then up, then down into the channel that is formed by the weaving/warp. It won't come out, it's like Indian beadweaving - if you bury your yarn, using this zig-zag method,it will stay secure, and the warp cords have made a selvedge edge on the top and bottom of the weaving. Neat.
Posted: 11:29 am on April 5th
FlaTriwvr writes: Thanks. I enjoyed your write-up. I learned to use cardboard from my grandmother back in the early 50's; and Grandpa showed me how to do circle rag rugs on a wagon wheel rim. I use pinking shears for easy/even notches; then snip at bottom of notch to hold warp threads in place in my weaving kits. So much fun and easy to carry, also. For a bag with a flap: warp one side and fold up 1/3 of the way (with the warp string on the outside). Start weaving from the bottom until you finish the bag part, then weave only on the back-side of your loom. This will give you a bag with a small flap. Happy weaving!
Posted: 10:31 pm on February 17th
Mork_the_Dork writes: This lady knows some amazing things, I always look on her contributions page first before going anywhere else for family gifts. She can always find a use for my scraps. She even taught me how to make a scrap bag for my scraps.
Posted: 8:04 pm on October 31st
MonDou writes: I remember this from third grade. They taught it to us as a class project. I've always loved it though. Very easy to do and relaxing. I actually have an idea for a big project like this of making a blanket by using the same technique only securing the strings to nails or thumbtacks on the wall. I have a large blank wall that could use some purpose. Good article though.
Posted: 4:45 am on July 3rd
writerinfact writes: OK, *THIS* one makes it past the "oh, how cute" or "wow, neat" stage - I just HAVE to actually try this!! Finally, a loom that doesn't take either a huge bankroll or a room of its own! Thank you, from the bottom of my yarn stash.
Posted: 7:15 pm on June 26th
seamsoeasy writes: fantastic! thank you for the ideas. Ihave been playing about with weaving with t shirts cut up to make other bits and pieces and will link with this as a how to and post back.

Posted: 3:58 am on May 28th
samsstuff writes: Great tutorial! I remember doing this, as a child, but had forgotten some of the details. As an alternative to cutting the cardboard, you can use strait pins (in a thick piece of cardboard). When you are done, just remove the pins, to remove the piece, from the cardboard. Thanks for posting this.
Posted: 10:33 am on May 6th
nottoolate writes: Excellent idée pour utiliser mes restants de laine
Amitiés de Paris
Posted: 2:10 am on May 6th
gailete writes: I have been working on a weaving project since Threads magazine featured one a few months ago. I'm using yarn, perle cotton, embroidery floss in plain and variegated colors. I'm having some great results and have to limit what I do with it because I get carried away and I end up hurting after too long a session with the weaving (due to arthritis, not the weaving itself). Using variegated yarns and threads lends a surprise element to your weaving. I even have been combining plain and variegated threads on the needle at the same time for an even different look. This is certainly not just a project for bored kids.
Posted: 12:37 pm on May 5th
knitwithjudy writes: Wow. Just what I was looking for. I teach knitting in New Paltz, NY, and am looking to branch out into more art-related projects. I think this will perfectly adapt to the more freeform designs I'm doing now. Thanks.

Posted: 12:35 pm on January 21st
CraftyMamma86 writes: Here's a video I came across that I thought would be cool to share. I'm definitely going to try this but a little neater on the edges. :D
Posted: 1:20 am on January 16th
xlntthreadz writes: Great photographs of a good beginner's project but c'mon--it isn't that much harder to do it the right way. Real weavers secure their loose ends as they go along. There are two different methods depending on whether you are beginning or ending a new color or continuing with a previous color. The only threads you should have to sew back in at the end of the project are the beginning and end of the warp. (Knots and glue are no-nos. They actually weaken the weaving.)

Since tapestry weaving (which is what this is) is almost always weft-faced (meaning you don't see the warp after you're done) Knit-Cro-Sheen, Speed-Cro-Sheen or similar very strong, tightly spun threads are a much better choice for warps than the too-soft knitting worsted or sport weights.

Also, if you pack the weft threads down as you should there is no need to cut the warp ends and try to knot them together. Knotting like this is difficult, time-consuming and counter productive. Just pack that weft down until it is impossible to do it any more and when you take your project off the loom, the weft will just sproing back up into place, with your warp threads doing neat little U-turns around the top and bottom edges.
Posted: 2:05 pm on January 10th
AngelaA writes: Love this! This is a great idea to do with my niece. She is facinated with how things are made lately. I will def. do this with her.
Thanks for the creativity boost!
Posted: 11:00 am on November 13th
brotherseraphim writes: may i add may other contributors contribute ideas and projects. i appreciate reading the different ideas and how to make projects using cardboard.
Posted: 1:39 pm on October 29th
brotherseraphim writes: what a wonderful idea. wonderful to be able to weave projects without an expensive loom. i can do a project in less than i hour- i am making a chair cover. i want to experiment in trying to tapestry. thank you sister diane
Posted: 1:35 pm on October 29th
Kokorozashi writes: Awesome tutorial! I just finished moving and have a number of huge boxes lying around -- I think I'm going to try making a large-scale cardboard loom and create some fabric to use for shopping bags.
Posted: 1:34 pm on October 9th
Anej writes: You can also do a round one w/a sturdy paper plate. If you pull it really taut as you go, you'll end up w/a dish shape. It's very cool & so easy!
Posted: 10:10 pm on September 27th
SpecialKRJ writes: I have to disagree with nikkiking. The little looms you pick up at the store with the t-shirt loop material that can only make potholders -- THAT'S a craft for bored kids. This is a neat craft that you can do inexpensively. Would buying an expensive loom to do the same thing be a craft for 'bored rich kids'? Of course not. This is a way of making your own fabrics for scarves, bags, blankets, and so so much more. Please respect the age-old craft that created the blue jeans you wear.

AWESOME tutorial. I grabbed an old box lid and made it in a few minutes, and now I'm off to steal my mom's thread and some pretty yarn to make some gorgeous... something.
Posted: 8:27 am on September 22nd
adwoa1997 writes: That was marvelous.I have really enjoyed reading this. It is easy to do. I am teaching my seven year old son how to do that.Could be used as a place mat.

Posted:8:16 pm on march 15 from Ghana
Posted: 4:19 pm on March 15th
mtdewmum25 writes: I love this cardboard weaving,is other projects besides potholders to make? Where can I find more patterns for using this weaving cardboard?
Posted: 4:35 pm on March 9th
Sister_Diane writes: SelenaEon, what sounds awesome! I hope you'll post the finished product in the Gallery so we can all see!
Posted: 9:45 am on January 24th
SelenaEon writes: Yay! I am going to try and make a larger version of this to weave with plastic bags. :)
Posted: 10:47 pm on January 23rd
nvmany writes: Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this technique. I work with marginalized, low income men and women in Zimbabwe, Africa and I am always looking for simple, cheap ways for my artisans to earn a living for themselves. I cannot think of an easier project. Here I was wondering where to buy a loom, how much it would cost etc.. etc.. and you so generously shared this tutorial with us. Thanks again & watch my blog for implementation of this project -
Posted: 7:59 am on January 17th
Beckj28 writes: I have started looking at a lot of weaving sites. So far this is the best one. Thanks for showing the back of the card lol . I was confused about that. I also like the fork idea for beating.

Posted: 10:10 pm on January 16th
eveh writes:
I need a little rectangular, carry all bag with a shoulder strap that will hold just my glasses, cell phone and change purse. That way, the next time my DH calls and says there's a garage sale down the road, I'll be ready in a hurry. LOL
So, I think I will try making that with this method. It looks like fun. Maybe torn demin strips with red yarn.
Posted: 5:45 pm on January 16th
kimWarrior writes: My 10 year old neice and i used divided embroidery string so it was thinner than yarn. she put hers in a picture frame with her pic for a mothers day present. it looked so neat. the best part was is that she made it instead of just buying a frame. thanks so much for the idea.
Posted: 4:38 pm on August 17th
Posted: 1:57 pm on August 1st
Posted: 1:46 pm on August 1st
nikkiking writes: normally i don't register to add a comment but i must say this is a great craft idea for bored for kids. i am in the Society for Creative Anachronism and we have weekly fighter practices. it's so HARD to keep the kids that come out with the parents busy and the dreaded song of "I'M BORED!!!!!" i think this is a great idea for the kids and the non fighting populace

Thank you again
Posted: 7:30 am on July 27th
reika writes: HI, I'm reika from brisbane australia. i just bought plastic loom kit this morning from craft shop, aud$19, and your email just come in, what a coincidence topic. now i'm beginning more like it this craft. Thank you so much. I'm going home to indonesia 16 july, i'll send my projects to share from there.
Posted: 3:37 pm on July 3rd
Learnernc writes: Thank you for the excellent tutorial. This would be very relaxing to do, easy to store, no clean up.
Posted: 2:55 pm on July 3rd
paperrain writes: Oh, this is so funny! When I got my email alert and saw the title of this, before clicking on it I thought: I wonder if Diane has seen this?

Great tutorial, as usual! I'm using it.
Posted: 1:12 pm on July 3rd
Candie_Cooper writes: These are so fun to do... We made them when I student taught and kids of all ages love them and weaving. I liked "Icampb"'s pouch thought. iPod cozy anyone?
Posted: 11:26 pm on June 28th
lcampb writes: Great tutorial! I did a weaving project like this in grade school and became obsessed with cardboard loom weaving for a few months - it's so fun and easy to do! If you loop all the way around the cardboard and weave on both sides it is easy to make purse/pouch shape using these techniques as well.
Posted: 4:47 pm on June 25th
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