Sticks + Strings Loom
Are you interested in weaving but don't have access to a loom?
This instructable will teach you how to create your own DIY loom made out of sticks and strings. All you need to get started is a couple of sticks, yarn, scissors, and cardboard. The Sticks and Strings Loom is a simple, fun, and inexpensive way for beginners to warp, weft, and weave!
Please refer to ChrysN's weaving glossary for help with weaving terminologies.
Materials You Will Need
+ Sticks: 2 sticks that are sturdy, straight (as possible), and not too rough; ~ 6–8 inches long. Other similar materiasl will work as well.
+ Strings: Strings, yarns, or threads that have strong and smooth qualities. I recommend using two colors for the warp, dark and light. You may use more colors for the weft (the string that is woven into the warp), if desired.
+ Cardboard / Cardstock: ~ 5x7 inches.
+ Scissors: For cutting strings and cardboard.
+ Shuttle: To weave weft string across the loom.
No worries if you do not have a shuttle, a cardboard shuttle works great as well.
+ Measuring Tape / Stick: Not necessary but can be a useful tool.
Preparing the Warp
To prepare the warp, take your two colored strings (dark and light) and cut an equal number of strings to your desired length. I would recommend at least 40 inches or longer, to account for any loom waste (the strings at the beginning and end of the warp which will not be woven).
As far as determining the width of your first project, start small — you don't want to spend too much time setting up the warp. The more strings you use, the more time it will take. For this instructable, I used a total of twenty-four strings — twelve dark and twelve light colored.
Once all strings have been cut, knot one end of the warp and tie the knotted end to something sturdy, like a chair, door knob, or a tree if you want to weave outside!
Preparing the Stick Heddle
The heddle is a tool used to separate the alternating warp strings to form a shed — the space between the alternating strings, where the weft strings can pass through. Heddles can take various forms depending upon the type of loom you use. The Sticks and Strings Loom requires two types of heddles — the Stick Heddle and the String Heddle.
To prepare your Stick Heddle, separate the first string. Wrap this string around the heddle stick by placing it behind the stick, and wrapping it over and under the stick. Going left-to-right, take the second string, making sure to alternate the colors between dark and light, place the second string infront of the stick, wind it under and over towards you. Continue wrapping the warp with the alternating strings until there are no more strings left.
Once all strings have been wrapped onto the heddle stick, pull the loose warp ends to even out the tension and tie a temporary knot. To secure the heddle stick and prevent strings from sliding off, tie a yoke of string (red string in image) around one end of the stick, over the warp, and to the other end of the stick.
Untie the temporary knot and take your second stick and tie the warp ends to it by taking an even number of sections and tying them to the stick. I created four sections, with six strings total (three dark and three light strings). Check and make sure that the warp is taut and the strings have an even amount of tension when pulling the end stick.
Preparing the String Heddles
To prepare your String Heddles, pick up the alternate warp string by hand, carefully keeping the stings in its proper order. Once you have all the alternate warp strings in hand, which should be all one color — either light or dark, slip your cardboard piece as a place holder. Next you will need to cut the heddle strings, one for each alternate warp string. The length of these strings should be about ~ 10 inches long. Take each heddle string, and place it under the warp string to create a U-shape. Do this for all of the strings. Once all the alternate warp strings have heddle strings attached, bundle the heddle strings ends, tie a secure knot, and remove the cardboard place holder.
Creating Tension to Your Warp
There are a couple of ways of using the Sticks and Strings Loom. I recommend trying both methods to see which one you like better. I prefer to have the backstrap when weaving for more control over the tension. To add a backstrap to your loom, simply tie a string long enough to go around your waist to the end stick. When weaving with a backstrap, you can weave while standing or sitting. If you prefer otherwise, you may also tie the warp end to a sturdy object, such as a chair.
Now that the warp is set up, here's a quick guide to the two types of sheds created by the Stick and String Heddle.
Weaving forms when you alternate inserting the weft string between the shed created by the Stick Heddle and the String Heddle. Pulling the String Heddle down creates a shed for the weft string to be woven between the dark string above and the light string below. While lifting the strings located on top of the Stick Heddle with your hands will create a shed, allowing for the weft string to be woven between the light string above and the dark string below.
Warped + Ready to Weave!
Before you begin weaving, make sure that the tension of the warp is taut and even at all times.
When opening and weaving between sheds, be cautious and make sure that all the strings for either the light or dark strings are lifted.
Take your shuttle or cardboard cutout and wrap it with your desired string of choice.
To begin weaving, pull the String Heddle down and insert the loose end of the weft string into the open shed. It's ok if the end string dangles a bit, which can be cut off later. Place the weft string horizontally and insert the cardboard before closing the shed (letting go of the String Heddle). Then take your cardboard piece and lightly push the weft string towards you to pack the string in. Next, take your hands and open the Stick Heddle shed and insert the shuttle through. Before closing the shed, insert your cardboard piece, then close the shed, and pack in the strings. Keep repeating these steps until you have woven your desired length.
To finish your project, simply cut the unwoven ends of the warp. I would leave at least five inches of unwoven warp, depending on how long you want your fringe ends to be. Once you cut the ends, carefully knot the end strings in groupings to finish it off.
Adding String / Changing Colors
At some point of your project, you will run out of weft string on your shuttle. To finish off the last bit of string left on your shuttle, just keep weaving until the string comes to an end. To add more, simply rewrap your shuttle and insert the new end string to where you left off and continue weaving.
Changing string colors is the exact same process as adding more string, above.