DIY Boat Shuttle Bobbins

Introduction: DIY Boat Shuttle Bobbins

I was very lucky to receive a loom for free with boat shuttles for weaving! But unfortunately, those boat shuttles did not contain any bobbins. I scoured the net and couldn't find any ideas for DIY boat shuttle bobbins. They aren't very expensive, but I am in a tight financial position this year so I decided to make some of my own out of stuff I had around the house.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Checklist

  • An existing boat shuttle (maybe I'll make an instructable on how to make one someday)
  • Straw or small tubing (I upcycled used coffee stir straws)
  • Buttons, or discs of some sort [Washers, Slices of a dowel rod, etc]
  • Adhesive - hot glue, gel form super glue, etc
  • Measuring tool (tape, ruler, etc)
  • Something to cut straws (Scissors, utility or exacto knife)
  • Hot glue gun if using hot glue
  • Drill-type tool (Drill, drill press, dremel with drill bit)
  • Something to secure the disc if drilling it

Step 2: Select Buttons/discs

Measure the opening of your boat shuttle for your bobbin. You want to select buttons or a dowel size that are smaller than the opening, so they have room to spin.

In my case because the opening was a little over 1.25" I just selected buttons that were roughly 7/8" to 1" diameter.

Step 3: Cut Straw/tubing to Length

When you make these, you want to leave enough space on either side of the button/disc so it can slide around, and also enough so you can grab an end (or two) with a drill to spin the tube for winding.

Make sure that your straw fits over the pin for your boat shuttle. Then measure the length of the widest part of your shuttle opening, plus about 1/4" for each side you want to leave for winding. (I only left one side for winding). In this case, the widest part of the opening is about 4", so I want to cut my straw at 4 1/4".

Using your cutting tool, cut your straws to length.

Step 4: Drill the Holes for the Straw/tubing

If you're using buttons like me, you'll need to drill holes in the center for the straw to fit in. 4 hole buttons make it easy to find the center - just drill in the middle!

  • Find the center of your button/disc
  • Secure the button/disc in place
  • Drill a hole that's the same size as the OD of your straw/tube or slightly larger

If you aren't comfortable doing this step consider using washers instead that you can buy at the hardware store that already have holes in the middle. you just have to put more glue in the middle when you attach them.

Step 5: Glue the Buttons

Add the two buttons to the straw. Using your adhesive of choice, secure them in place. For hotglue, I chose to first put a bead of glue on the "outside end" of the straw, then pull the button into it and hold it while it cooled. That way no glue was on the bobbin rod area between the buttons.

Things to watch for:

  1. Make sure the buttons are perpendicular to the straw so they do not wobble when spun.
  2. For the second button, leave about 1/4" sticking out so you have room to grab the straw with your drill.
  3. Be sure that the distance from the outer edge of both buttons is less than the measurement of the biggest area of your boat shuttle bobbin opening, so it fits and spins.

Step 6: Wind!

Insert the boat shuttle bobbin pin into the tube, and then secure it into a drill or other winder. Manually start winding your yarn, then wind using the drill's spinning action. Then, remove the bobbin wind more, or insert the wound one into your boat shuttle.

Step 7: Weave! Enjoy!

With your bobbins wound with thread, go ahead and get back to weaving. It is much easier to weave with many bobbins pre-wound than to constantly stop to rewind the same bobbin many times.

Sometimes these get a little tricky / the yarn gets stuck if you wind it poorly or when it gets down to the last bit (it's trying to rotate the bobbin a lot of times to get the same amount of yarn when it's on the layer nearest the straw).

It can be a bit tricky to remove the pin from the boat shuttle but you can grab the exposed straw and squeeze it to get a grip on the pin to remove it.

I would like to find a better core than the red straw because I don't think it looks very good, but it weaves very nicely.

Another improvement would be a way to taper the middle so the yarn more easily winds.

Hope you enjoyed this instructable, it's my first one!

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    4 years ago

    Very cool idea!