I learned about tablet weaving, also known as card weaving, a couple weeks ago from my girlfriend, Ena, and I am mystified by the technique. If you have not heard of tablet weaving, I have a few links at the bottom that you should check out. Using this technique, you are able to create tons of different weaves by simply turning cards and moving a thread back and forth through the warp. It really does seem like magic!
Ena came up with the idea to create a device that can turn any wooden stool (and many other objects) into a tablet weaving loom, and I designed and constructed the device. In this instructable, I will go over how to set up the device and the basics of tablet weaving.
Best instructions on tablet weaving I have found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0jnL5KrPYY&t=361s
A complicated card turning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeNsOcJNn24
Tablet weaving outdoors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3K_eAhOxb0
Step 1: Supply List
1. 5inch long, 1inch diameter dowel rod
2. Locking joint (A)
3. End cap (B)
4. Dowel holder with lock joint (C)
5. Dowel holder (D)
6. Base (E)
7. 8x M4*20 bolts
8. 8x M4 nuts
9. Cards or thin cardboard
10. Thread (e.g yarn or crochet thread)
11. 2 nails
12. 4 screws
13. Paper and colored pencils for designing a pattern
14. A wooden stool! Or something else for mounting your tablet weave.
1. M4 allen wrench
2. Hole puncher
4. Gorilla glue super glue
7. Power drill
8. 2 C-claps or quick action clamps
Step 2: Assembling the Tablet Loom Base
I designed the base of the loom using Fusion360, and then I 3D printed the parts. Attached are the .stl files for the tablet weave base. A dowel rod is slid through the base and turns to tighten the warp.
After printing the parts, insert the M4 nuts into the slits in the dowel rod holders (Part C and Part D) and the base (Part E). A total of 8 nuts are required. Then use the M4*20 bolts to fasten Part C and Part D to the base.
Step 3: Mounting the Loom Base to a Stool
With the loom base assembled, it is ready to mount it! Pick out a wooden stool or some other object. You just need to make sure that the object has a beam that can hold the other end of the warp. Draw out four points where holes will be drilled into the stool to mount the loom base. Drill the holes and screw the loom base to the stool.
Step 4: Assembling Dowel Rod for the Loom
With the loom base mounted, it is time to add the end cap (Part B) to the dowel rod. Add some super glue and press the dowel into the end cap. It should be a snug fit. The locking joint (Part A) also needs to be glued to the dowel. Slide the dowel rod into the loom base and glue the locking joint about 3cm from the edge. When gluing make sure that the locking joint is not crooked relative to the female locking joint holding the dowel (Part C).
Once the joint has dried, hammer a nail to the stool that is parallel with the dowel rod. This nail will hold one end of the warp. Use a long ruler or thread to align the nail with the center of the dowel rod. Finally, hammer a nail to the dowel rod to hold the other end of the warp.
You're now ready to set up the thread and cards for weaving!
Step 5: Setting Up the Cards for Weaving
I learned how to tablet weave from a terrific video created by Independent Craft Tutorial:
Watch this video to see how it is done!
Cut the cards into squares and punch four holes in each card using a hole puncher. Then create your pattern by drawing a 4 x N grid of blocks on a piece of paper, where N is the number of cards you are using. There is a template for drawing a pattern attached in this step. In this instructable, we set up a pattern using eight cards. Once you get used to the technique, you can use more cards to create more advanced weavings.
After designing your pattern, you need to measure out thread for the weave. Measure the distance between the dowel rod and the nail in the loom you just constructed. Separate two clamps by this distance plus another 30cm or so. For example, if the two nails in your loom are separated by 100 cm, separate the clamps by 130cm. This will ensure you have enough thread to tie the knot and, later, when you finish weaving, to secure your project using a hem stitch or knotting mechanism. Also, it helps to keep the tension as even as possible throughout this process for all threads.
Now wrap each color thread around the two clamps according to the number of blocks of that color in your diagram. For example, the pattern we used has 14 green threads and 18 grey threads. Tie the threads together into a slipknot and run them through the holes as specified in the diagram (see the video).
Step 6: Mounting the Warp to the Loom
With the cards set up, it is time to mount the weave to the loom. Place the end with a slipknot on the nail on your stool. Then tie another slipknot at the other end of the thread and place the slipknot around the nail on the dowel rod. To tighten the warp, turn the dowel rod. Once the warp is tight enough slide the locking joint (A) into the dowel holder (C).
Step 7: Start Tablet Weaving on Your Stool Loom!
You are now ready to start tablet weaving. Secure the base with a clamp or a piece of painter's tape. Wrap thread around a piece of wood to weave back and forth through the warp. This is called the "weft." We used a piece of mdf with some slits for catching the thread. Each time the weft passes through the warp, turn the cards 90 degrees. Different patterns can be generated by turning clockwise and counterclockwise. I have also seen some videos in which each card turns a different amount. The possibilities are endless!
If you don't have a 3D printer and you want to set up the tablet weaving kit in this instructable, you can order parts for the kit from our Etsy shop: One Bit Kit. Thanks for reading!