How to Make a Tablet Weaving Loom

Updated July 20, 2017

One of the oldest known forms of weaving, the versatile tablet weaving or card weaving technique is still practised today. You can use the method off-loom by tying the ends of the warp to two sturdy anchors, like a chair and your belt. While this is certainly the cheapest and quickest way to get started tablet weaving, it forces the whole project to be completed in one sitting. A simple wooden frame loom adds convenience and eases your weaving experience.

Lay the 3-foot boards next to each other lengthwise, like skis. These will form the bottom of the frame.

Glue a 12-inch plank on the far end and a 6-inch plank on the near end of each board, keeping the bottoms of the planks flush with the edges of the boards. The structures should mirror each other, resulting in two wide, uneven U shapes.

Screw the planks to the boards with the hand drill, placing one screw in each corner of the overlapping areas. Use four screws for each joint, or 16 screws altogether.

Stand the two structures upright. The planks should be on the outsides of the boards, with the longer planks on one end and the shorter planks on the other. If something looks wrong, remove the screws and readjust before the glue dries.

Glue two of the 9-inch dowels to either end of the boards to connect the two structures together. The dowels should be in the centre of the four screws that join the board and plank.

Screw the dowels into place, being careful not to hit the screws that hold the boards together. Use the 4-inch screws so they can reach the dowel through both the plank and the board. Your frame should now stand upright on its own, with the dowels and 3-foot boards forming a rectangle.

Glue and screw the remaining 9-inch dowels between the boards, one on each end about 6 inches from the previous dowel.

Glue and screw the 12-inch, 1/2-inch-diameter dowel between the two longer planks, about 6 inches from the tops of the planks.

Glue and screw the 1-inch-diameter dowels at the tops of each set of planks. These are the dowels your weaving will pull against the most, so screw them in tightly. Wait at least 8 hours for the glue to thoroughly dry.

Sand any raw edges or splintery areas with sandpaper.

Place the deck of cards, still in its case, on top of a scrap piece of wood.

Drill four holes through the deck with the 1/4 inch drill bit, going all the way through into the scrap wood. The holes should be at least 1 1/2 inches apart and should form a square in the centre of the cards.

Remove the cards from the case. These are your tablets.


Lay out all the cut pieces of wood and figure out how they will go together before applying any glue. See Resources to thread your cards and warp your loom.


Always read safety instructions and follow common sense when operating power tools. Wear safety glasses and gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 2-by-4 boards, 3 feet
  • 2 2-by-4 planks, 12 inches
  • 2 2-by-4 planks, 6 inches
  • 4 dowels, 1/2 inch diameter, 9 inches long
  • 1 dowel, 1/2 inch diameter, 12 inches long
  • 2 dowels, 1 inch diameter, 12 inches long
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape
  • 4 wood screws, 4 inch
  • 26 wood screws, 2-1/2 inch
  • Hand drill
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Drill bit, 1/4 inch
  • Sandpaper
  • Playing cards
  • Scrap wood
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About the Author

Based in Seattle, Leah Noble has been writing instructional articles since 2010. Previously a teacher, Noble has been writing and teaching unpublished "how to" information for many years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in art studio with a minor in English from the University of California at Davis.