This Instructable shows you not only how to make a free loom out of cardboard, but how to make a simple weaving and create a beautiful piece of woven fabric for future creations. I started with a 6.5"x4.5" loom and used between 30-40 yards of yarn.
Step 1: BoM
Cardboard (will become your loom)
Cotton yarn (for warping the loom, I use Maysville Cotton Carpet Warp from WEBS)
Beads, sequins, etc. (optional)
Step 2: Glossary
Comb: Tool used for beating down the weft.
Loom: Structure your weaving is created on.
Reed: Part of the loom, looks like a comb. Is used to space the warp and beat down the weft. I don't have a reed, so I use a fork/my fingers to do this.
Sett: Number of warp threads per inch
Tabby: Also known as "plain weave". This is the over-under-over-under (or vise versa) weaving method that we all learned in elementary school art class.
Warp: The lengthwise (vertical) threads in weaving. See the picture above.
Web: Woven fabric, usually still on the loom.
Weft: Crosswise (horizontal) threads in weaving.
Step 3: Art Yarn
This Instructable uses handspun art yarn which means, aside from being incredibly pretty and having lots of different textures and colors, it is also not uniform. In the picture above there is a green yarn, which is a standard yarn I bought at a craft store and the pink and purple are actually the same handspun art yarn. Notice the different textures and thicknesses of the yarn. This can make art yarn a pain in the butt to work with, but it's worth it.
You can use any kind of yarn you want :)
Step 4: Loom Setup
Depending on what you are making, your cardboard loom size will vary. However you want it, the process for making the notches will remain the same. Add an extra 1/2" to the top and bottom of your card board, drawing a line across the top/bottom. Then measure out 1/4" increments along the lines you made and cut. The loom in this instructable is 6.5"x4.5"
Wrap your loom by tying a slipknot around one tab of your loom and then weaving the yarn down, around the notch, and back up. Repeat this until the entire loom is wrapped. Tie off with another slipknot. Leave about 3-4" on each tail.
Step 5: Weave
Attach one end of the yarn to a needle or pin to make the weaving process easier. Slide the needle/yarn over-under-over-under (or under-over-under-over. This is also called a plain weave or tabby.) the warp until you have one complete row. Slide the yarn all the way through, leaving 1-2" for the tail. Then start your second row, going opposite of the first. So if your first row was over-under-over, you will start with under-over-under and continue until the row is complete. The third row will be the same as the first. The fourth row will be the same as the second. This pattern will continue until your weave is complete.
*Make sure not to pull the yarn too tight when starting your next row. If you do, then the sides won't be even (see pictures in next step). If this happens, sometimes you can carefully spread the woven yarn.
Step 6: Beat
Every couple of rows, you'll want to push the yarn down so that the white thread isn't showing. You'll do this throughout the weaving process. This is typically done with a reed or comb, but I use a fork or my fingers.
Step 7: Finishing Part 1
When your loom is full, you finish your weaving. Cut off all but 1" of your yarn and use a needle to weave/stitch the excess back into your weaving. I'm leaving 1" on the bottom for a future project.
Step 8: Finishing Part 2
Starting at the bottom, undo the slipknot and carefully remove the warp from the cardboard. Do the same with the top.
Next, gently pull the warp so that the bottom pulls up and becomes hidden by the yarn. This will also make the top warp threads longer. Next, cut the top warp loops and then tie them together, pulling the threads up as you work.
You can now cut off any excess threads. You've got yourself a piece of woven fabric.