Weaving on a Cardboard Loom Using Recycled Materials

Introduction: Weaving on a Cardboard Loom Using Recycled Materials

Weaving is a useful skill that can be used to create fabrics and other works of art. Many of the items that we wear on a daily basis are created through the technique of weaving, made through variations on two basic types of weave: plain and twill. Weaving can be simple to learn and with practice, complex, beautiful, and interesting pieces can be created. This tutorial will show how to easily create a cardboard loom and the most basic plain weave in which to build weaving skills. Reusing materials from clothing meant to be discarded helps to reduce our environmental footprint by reducing textile waste and creating interesting pieces of art.


  • Thick cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • String/yarn
  • Recycled fabric

Step 1: Creating a Cardboard Loom

Find a thick cardboard box to cut your loom from

Cut a square/ rectangle piece of cardboard from your box

For my project, I used an old baby wipe box and cut a 9 x 10 inch square for my loom.

The size and shape of your loom will determine the size and shape of your finished weave

Using a ruler, measure and mark one side of the box into ½ inch sections. Do the same on the opposite edge of the square or rectangle.

With scissors, cut on each marking about ½ inch into the cardboard, creating tabs. Cut all notches marked on both sides of the cardboard.

This completes the creation of your loom!

Step 2: Thread Your Warp Strings

The warp of a weave is the stronger part of a weave, so you will want to use a more durable fiber that does not pull apart easily. For my project, I used some left-over yarn. These are the strings on which you will weave your design, and the thickness of these strings will determine whether or not you see them in your completed weave pattern.

Tie a knot at the end of your string and slide into the first notch on the loom and then pull the string across the cardboard to the corresponding notch on the other edge and pull the string through.

Next, pull the string over horizontally on the backside of the card board to the next notch on the same edge and pull through to the front.

Pull the string across the front of the cardboard again to the corresponding notch on the other side and pull through to the back of the cardboard. By this step, you will have two strings threaded on the loom.

Repeat the step of pulling the string horizontally across the back of the cardboard on the same edge and through to the front of the loom again. Once again, pull the string across the front of the cardboard to the corresponding notch on the other edge. Continue these steps until you have reached the last notch.

Pulling the string through the last notch to the backside of the cardboard, tie a knot to secure your warp strings to the loom.

This completes threading the warp of your weave.

Step 3: Prepare Your Weft Fibers

Cut your used material into strips of desired thickness. I used a pair of ripped pajama pants and a stained onesie that I had sitting around.

Cut your fabric into strips to weave.

For learning purposes and ease of weaving, I cut my strips between ½-1 inch thick.

Don’t worry if some of the strips are short, they can be tied together while weaving.

Step 4: Begin Weaving Your Weft

Tie your first weft strip in a knot around the first warp thread at the top of the loom.

Next, go under the next warp thread and then over the following, repeat until you have woven over and under all warp threads.

Go the opposite direction weaving your weft threads over and under the warp, alternating what you did in the previous row. If the weft thread was over on the last row, it should be under on this row.

Pack the weft thread tight by pushing the threads together toward the top of the loom. When the weft thread becomes short, tie to another weft piece and continue.

For this piece, I tied two of the shorter white weft strips together and then alternated to the longer gray pieces. Continue weaving over and under and back and forth until you have covered all of the space of the warp strings.

When you have woven the whole space of the warp strings, tie your weft string into a knot on to the last warp string to secure.

Remove your weave from the loom
On the back of the cardboard, lift the horizontal warp strings up and over the tabs, removing the weave entirely from the loom.

Tug the edges of the weave to evenly space out all of the fibers and shape into an even square or rectangle.

Cut any long pieces from knots.

Your weave is complete, enjoy!

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