How to Make a Card Weaving Loom

Written by gabrielle morgan
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Card weaving, also known as tablet weaving, dates back to the 6th century B.C. and was in use well into the 16th century. Card weaving is used for creating decorative trim, woven belts and scarves. Many variations of card weaving exist, including those that use three-hole or six-hole cards; however, the four-hole card is the most simple and common method. Making your own card weaving loom requires little more than a piece of wood and a couple of nails.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Piece of wood, 2 inch by 4 inch by 4 foot
  • 2 large nails, 6-inch long with 1/2-inch head
  • Hammer
  • 10 card-weaving cards, four hole
  • 3-cord cotton crochet yarn, embroidery floss or heavy linen thread

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Instructions

    Preparing the Loom

  1. 1

    Place the wooden two-by-four on a solid, level surface, such as a non-carpeted floor or outdoor deck.

  2. 2

    Hammer one nail on each end of the board, approximately 5 inches in from the end lengthwise, centring the nail across the width of the board. Hammer the nail in approximately 1 3/4 inches into the wood; check to ensure the nail does not protrude from the bottom.

  3. 3

    Prepare the card-weaving cards. Label the front of the cards with the numbers one through 10 at the top. The corners should already be labelled A, B, C and D.

    Threading the Cards and Loom

  1. 1

    Cut strings of thread from three different colours, designating each colour as either light, medium or dark. Cut each thread to 45 inches in length. Cut 22 light threads, eight medium and 10 dark threads for a total of 40 strands.

  2. 2

    Thread cards 1 through 5 through the front side of the card, sliding the card to the centre of each thread. Thread card 1 with one medium colour thread into each of the holes. Thread card 2 with one dark thread through "A" and a light thread through "B," "C" and "D." Thread card 3 with a dark thread through "B" and light threads through "A," "C" and "D." Thread card 4 with a dark thread through "C" and light threads through "A," "B" and "D." Thread card 5 with a dark thread through "A" and "D" and light threads through "B" and "C." Set the cards aside carefully, keeping them in order.

  3. 3

    Thread cards 6 though 10 through the back of the card, sliding the card to the centre of each thread. Thread card 6 with a dark thread through holes "A" and "D" and light threads through "B" and "C." Thread card 7 with a dark thread through "C" and light threads through "A," "B" and "D." Thread card 8 with a dark thread through "B" and light threads through "A," "C" and "D." Thread card 9 with dark thread through "A" and light threads through "B," "C" and "D." Thread card 10 with medium thread through each of the four holes.

  4. 4

    Gather the threads together at the end, and match the ends of each thread so they are even. Wrap one bundled end of threads around one of the nails and tie a knot to secure in place. Pull the thread to the other end of the board and tie the other end of grouped threads around the second nail, knotting it to keep it in place. Keep the cards in order, in the centre of the threads, to keep them from slipping off the end before you secure the threads to the nail.

Tips and warnings

  • Make your own cards by cutting out 10 squares, 4 inches by 4 inches, from light cardboard. Round the corners slightly so they are smooth. Use a large hole punch to cut a hole in each corner of the 10 cards. Label the corners on the front of each card: top left, "A"; top right, "B"; bottom right, "C"; bottom left, "D."
  • Keep the cards in order and prevent the threads from slipping through the holes while securing the threads to the nail by wrapping one end of threads around the cards; secure the other end to the nail and carefully unwrap the cards and secure the other end.
  • Another simple method to make an adjustable loom is to place two C-clamps on opposite ends of a table and tie the threads onto the screw at the top of the clamp.
  • To use the card weaving loom with two colours, known as doubleface weaving, thread the cards with one colour through two holes and the second colour through the other two holes. The way you thread the cards will affect the pattern.

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