Scrapwood Loom




About: If it breaks, fix it. If it works, take it apart. If it can be bought, make it. If it doesn't exist, create it.

"You made a loom???"
"What are you going to make?"
"What can you make?"
These were responses I was getting from everyone.
To be honest, I didn't even know. This was a project full of epic trial and error.

How it all started:
After an intriguing conversation with a friend that was into all sorts of textiles, threads, dyes, felts etc
I really wanted to try weaving something with a loom.
It seemed a bit more efficient and less tedious than knitting. (Granted I learnt how to knit from youtube videos)
A loom didn't look impossible to make/figure out... So why not.
Here's my first shot at a basic Slot & Eye Heddle Loom.

Skill level:
Basic - Intermediate wood working skills

Tools Required:
Table/Band Saw (can use hand saw as well)
Drill & Bits
Wood glue
hand saw

Materials Required
2x4 scraps
1/4-3/8" thick mdf/ply/flooring (3.5" x 12")
3/4" dowell
2 old hangers
Screws & Nails (various)
Yarn, string or thread.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Loom Parts & Terminology

Here's the breakdown of the loom and its parts.
Again, I have no prior knowledge of looms & weaving, so feel free to add/correct/etc.
Also, my material choice is limited to the scrap bin.
There may be better ways of making certain parts... so modify to suit your needs/materials.

All the components are assemble onto the frame.

Cloth beam:
As you weave (the shuttle through the warp yarns) the warp yarns become cloth.
The newly made material is then wrapped around this beam/roller.

Warp Beam:
Holds the Warp yarn.
As the weaving progresses, the warp yarns roll out towards the cloth beam and become fabric.

Slot & Eye Reed:
The warp yarn run through the Reed.  
The reed is what criss crosses the yarn.
The warp yarn going through the eye is fixed, and the warp thread going through the slot moves up and down.
With each pass of the shuttle the reed is moved. 
The alternating warp yarn traps the weft yarn creating fabric.

Warp Set up bar:
Determines the length of your warp yarn.

Allow you to advance the warp yarn and keep the tension between the warp & cloth beams

Reed hook:
Allows you to set the reed up by pulling the warp yarn strands through the slots & eyes.

The shuttles hold the weft yarn.  
The weft passes through the warp yarns with each change of the reed and gets trapped.
This creates the fabric.

Step 2: Choose Your Scrap Pieces.

Pic 1:
Go to the scrap bin.
Don't worry, you'll be back for more!.

Pic 2:
Offcut 2x4 (Approx 24" in overall length)
Offcut floor panel
3/4" OD wood dowel scraps

Pic 3 & 4:
Quick sketches and general dimensions to get an idea of how everything comes together & works.
I'll be winging it from there, as the scraps will determine the dimensions.

Step 3: Cut the 2 X 4 Frame.

Pic 1:
Mark your cuts.

Pic 2 & 3:
Drill out 3/4" holes to fit the warp & cloth beams through.

Pic 4 & 5:
Cut along marked lines.

Pic 6:
Frame sides & bottom.

Pic 7:
Cut the frame bottom piece in half.

Pic 8:
Cut the fram sides in half

Step 4: Glue & Fasten Frame

Pic 1:
Pre drill screw holes
Apply wood glue and fasten with wood screws.

Pic 2:
Insert 3/4" wooden dowels into the frame to further align.
Set aside to dry.

Step 5: Make the Eye & Slot Reed.

Pic 1:
Reed with first table saw passes.

Pic 2:
Raising the saw blade to acquire a larger slot.

Pic 3:
With the table saw going I raise the panel and lower slowly onto the saw blade.
The rear fence maintains the horizontal position of the wood
The center mark let's me know where the saw position is.

Pic 4:
Center mark corresponds to the markings for the slots.

Pic 5:
File the slots to make them smooth (yarn/thread has to pass through)

Pic 6, 7, & 8
Drill holes in between each slot to create the eyes.

Pics 9 - 14 (OMIT - explained later)

Pic 9:
Make reed pivot
(Trap 3/4" wooden dowel in a scrap piece of 2x4)

Pic 10 & 11:
Cut a grove into the dowel.

Pic 12:
Reed with pivot on frame.

Pic 13:
Side Stop

Pic 14:
Reed handle

Pic 15:
Apply a thin coat of wood glue to the insides of the slot & eye holess.
This will eliminate any rough edges and will allow the warp yarn to run smoothly through them.

Step 6: Make the Rachets

Make 2 rachets

Pic 1:
Find a scrap piece of wood.
Drill a 3/4" hole to fit around the dowel.

Pic 2:
Drill a 1/16" hole into the rachet handle and
drive a nail through it. this will lock the ratchet in place.

Step 7: Checkpoint.

This is what you should have made up to now.
(Scroll over components to view pieces)

Step 8: Warp Set Up Bar

The warp set up bar determines the length of the warp yarn.
(pretty much determines the length of your piece)

Pic 1:
Find a suitable piece of wood.
(offcut 2x4.  it was 41" in length)
Center the frame on one end of the piece.

Pic 2:
Mark off where the frame sits (on both sides)

Pic 3:
Drill 3/4" hole
Place a 3/4" dowel into the drilled hole.
Mark the dowel and cut to length.

Pic 4:
Remove the rest of the material with a table saw.
Place the dowel back into the drilled hole.

Repeat steps 1 - 4 on the other side.

Your frame should now lock into the warp setup bar.

Pic 5
Drill holes for different warp lengths.

Step 9: Reed Hook.

My table sawed slots and drilled holes were quite small.
So it meant that my reed hook would have to be smaller to fit through.

Pic 1:
Hold a nail with a pair of pliers.
Hammer the nail head flat.
Use a hack saw/file to cut a groove into the flattened surface

Pic 2: 
Check if the reed hook fits into the eye hole. (Check all of them)

Pic 3:
Enlarge eye holes with drill if necessary.

Pic 4:
File down the sides of the reed hook if necessary
Clamp dowel into a vise.
Hammer the reed hook into the dowell end.

Pic 5:
Reed hook completed.

Pic 6:
Reed hook final test.
Ensure there is enough length for the hook to grab the yarn on the other side.

Step 10: Warp & Cloth Beams

There's probably an easier way to do this.
Hole saw, PVC piping, etc
I only have a table saw & hand drill.
so here goes!

Pic 1:
Cut four 2.5" x 2.5" x 3/4 thick

Pic 2:
Rip cross hairs 1/8" deep into the face of the 4 pieces.

Pic 3:
Drill 3/4" hole to fit into the dowel.

Pic 4:
File grooves into the corners of the pieces

Pic 5:
Drill holes into 1 side of each piece.

Pic 6:
Grab 2 steel hangers from the closet.

Pic 7:
Drill holes 5/8" in from the corner
Bend hanger to fit into the hole and lock into the filed corner.

Pic 8:
Repeat for both sides and slide the assembly onto the Warp & Cloth beams

Step 11: Make Some Shuttles.

Pic 1:
Cut eraser sized & shaped wood pieces.

Pic 2:
Drill holes at the ends and cut to the end of the holes.

Pic 3 & 4:
I didn't have a circular file, so I  clamped a nail wrapped with sandpaper  and used that!

Pic 5:
Shuttles of different sizes.

If you want a some quick shuttles, just cut them out of card stock.
same thing.

Step 12: Checkpoint.

You're ready to set up the loom with your warp yarn and start weaving.

Pic 1:
Breakdown of Loom components.

Pic 2:
Yarn (rope in my case!)

Step 13: Setting Up the Loom: Warp Yarn

Looks tedious, but it's not that bad.

Pic 1
A | Tie end of yarn/rope onto the wire of the cloth beam.
B |  Using the reed hook, pull the string through the slot,
       then loop the string around the warp setup bar on the other side of the Reed
C |  Repeat this process, you will have a continuous piece of string going through the Reed.
       (Between the cloth beam and the warp setup bar)

Pic 2:
Close up of the Reed hook pulling the yarn through.

Pic 3, 4,& 5:
Finished feeding the warp yarn through the slots. 
Different detail shots

Pic 6:
A |  With a scrap piece of yarn, tie up the warp thread at the setup bar end.
B |  Pull off of the Warp setup bar
C |  Cut the loop with a pair of scissors.

Pic 7 & 8:
A | Wind the Warp yarn onto the warp beam.
     Hold the end you just cut so the warp yarn is in tension.
B | When you're at the end. Untie the scrap piece of yarn in pic 6.
     You will end up with a bunch of loose strings going through the slots.
C | If you're working with poly/nylon, now is a good time to singe the ends of the yarn with a lighter.\
D | There will be 2 strings in every slot now.
      Using the reed hook, grab a strand from each slot and pull it through the eye.

Pic 9:
A |  When you're done threading the warp yarn through the eye holes.
       Group the warp yarn (in my case groups of 4)
B |  Tie a knot at the end of each group.
C |  Run scrap yarn through the warp beam and the knotted groups.

Pic 10 & 11:
Finished shots of the setup.

Step 14: Mistake!

I thought the Slot & Eye Reed could pivot along the axis created on the frame.

But it really had to go below in my case.
(Make the frame WIDER THAN THE REED! I was restricted to short dowel offcuts)

So I had to cut the ends off of the reed to accomodate.

Step 15: Start Weaving!

Pic 1:
Keep one end of the loom on your lap.
Load up your shuttles with yarn.

Pic 2: 
Starting to weave 4 individual shuttles (sttrands of Weft yarn.)

Pic 3:
As you continue weaving you'll notice the REED getting close to the Warp beam.

Pic 4:
Using the ratchets, retract the Cloth beam and advance the Warp Beam for more working area.

Pic 5: 
Change of colour & connecting the 4 strands.

Pic 6:
Detail shot  of how the shuttle (Weft Yarn) weaves through the Warp Yarn.

Pic 7:
Light shining through the Warp Yarn (Yellow).
You can see the Weft Yarn (Green) showing through.
Notice the Weft yarn can be compacted a lot more to create a tighter weave.

Step 16: Finished Product.

Quick shotes of the final product: High vis suspenders! ha.
I have already completed a second weave since.
Will be posting that soon!
Stay tuned.

Hurricane Lasers Contest

Finalist in the
Hurricane Lasers Contest

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Instrument Contest

    Instrument Contest
  • Make it Glow Contest

    Make it Glow Contest
  • STEM Contest

    STEM Contest

41 Discussions


9 days ago

my mother in law has been begging me to make her one of these since I got a CNC. your instructions are amaZING and will make my efforts so much easier


2 years ago

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


4 years ago

Great instructable! How do you keep tension on the roller? My warp thread loops keep slipping.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I can think of one way just look at a come along ratchet there is a spring lock that stops the cable from unwinding while the weiht is constant


3 years ago

cool I have been wanting to make my own for sometime as I just can not afford to buy one, I love this thank you so much for the walk through on how to make one :-) I am deffianitly going to make this the first chance I get :-) thank you so much :-)


3 years ago

As the daughter of a professional weaver, I am floored by how amazing this is! Utterly impressed, and sorely tempted to make one of my own instead of waiting on Mom's convenience to let me borrow her table loom!


3 years ago

Your labeling of the first picture of the loom and parts was worth the whole 'ible! Brave of you to weave, let alone MAKE the loom! Good on you.


3 years ago

This is great... I am a knitter but weaving has always been an interest. The weaving looms sell at such a high price and being on a fixed income, that just was not going to happen. Now, I see this and before I reached the final steps my mind was already doing inventory of my scrap woods. I don't have some of the tools that you use, but I think I can improvise as I always have to do, LOL. Thanks for the great instructable!!


4 years ago on Introduction

you....are a LIFE SAVER! i make my own clothes, but have become disillusioned with modern cloth, so i want to make my own using wool yarn. i fell in love with how easy it seems to be to not only warp the rigid heddle loom, but actually weave with it. only problem is the cost! then i found this and was just gobsmacked! my thing is i'd have to modify it so i get the 45 cm wide bolts i want, but that shouldn't be a problem.


Ingenious! I really like that you use scraps and make due with what you have on hand, the craftsmanship and attention to detail shows, ... Nice Job! Thank you for your efforts, I enjoyed the detailed pics and instructions. I recently discovered a interesting type of weaving/braiding called sprang, some of the oldest textiles ever known are created with this type of weave/braid, I found it very interesting, maybe you will as well? Here is 1 link on youtube and there are many others, I hope you enjoy, Cheers


5 years ago on Introduction

An art student friend has asked that I build this loom. I'm just wondering about the cloth and warp beams. Hanger wire appears to be just two lengths on each beam. Any advantage to two versus four wires? How much tension is placed on these wires?



5 years ago on Introduction

Awesome! V 2.0 should be hand crank automation goodness. :)


6 years ago on Introduction

I wasn't getting exactly what all was going on with the design and how the loom worked (for as interested as I am with the process I have never seen this loom in action). This link was really helpful! Great design and if I make one I will most likely use this to make one. Though I really liked the Youtubes Video of the Warp set up bar, and their use of Cardboard to keep tension up.

Title: Simple warping for a Rigid Heddle loom
(hope that works for you I had to copy the URL from my phone.

The Valiant

6 years ago on Introduction

THis looks great! My wife has been asking me to try and build one of these for a few months (since we attended a textile/craft fair at a local country museum) - maybe I'll give it a try :)


7 years ago on Introduction

I had so much fun building a loom based on these plans. Thank you for posting! I put some pictures up of my efforts:

You are AMAZING!! Especially if you've never made a loom before!

You could be selling these for at least $65 per loom plus shipping.


I've been busting my husband's backside to just build me a loom from one of the over 15 sets of plans that I've bought, downloaded etc...and nothing.

I'm gonna come live near you. :)

I actually have been so desparate to have my own rigid heddle loom that I finally broke down and bid on one in ebay. I'm glad to say that I got a small one cheap. Maybe now that my "grumpy-honey" has a model to work from, he'll build me a bigger one, but I'm not holding my breath...i don't wanna die that

Again, Fantastic job!!!

2 replies

When I have a bit more time, I'm going to build a wider one!
I just did a cross country road trip so I'll be wrenching away under my car for the next couple of days.
But stay tuned!