How I Built My Loom

This is how I built my loom. I hesitate to call this a tutorial because I don’t really have pictures for every single step and because I kind of faked my way through the process. But hey, I’ve got a loom now and it works. So if you’re interested read on. (P.S. These instructions look complicated but they’re not. I built my loom in about 3 hours with nothing but ideas from the web. You can do this!)

I’m going to put links to a set of Navajo loom plans right here. **Go here instead**They also appear as part of Step 9 in the tutorial. It might be a good idea to go look them over before you start this. Be warned, my loom is not exactly the same as what you’ll see (it’s simpler) but the principles are the same.

What You Will Need

  • Four, 9′ 2X4s (You will not find 2X4s that are actually 9′ long, they will be 8’11” or so)
  • One dowel rod, 1″diameter by 4′ long
  • Two dowel rods, 1″ diameter by 3-1/2′ long
  • Saw
  • Drill with a drill bit that is the same length as but slightly smaller in diameter than your screws
  • Screwdriver or screwdriver bit for your drill
  • Wood screws 2-1/2″ long
  • Scissors or knife
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Cotton clothesline (I think this usually comes in a 100′ package)
  • Burly helper (this is optional and in fact may be more of a hinderance than help, use your best judgment)

Step 1:  Gather your materials and tools.

Step 2:  Select the two straightest 2X4s. Measure and mark each of the two boards at 6′. Cut the two boards. You should end up with two (2) boards that are 6′ long, and two (2) boards that are a little less than 3′ long.

Step 3:  Select the two uncut 2X4s. Measure and mark each of the boards at 4′. Cut the two boards. Now measure and mark the uncut part of the boards at 4′ again. Cut the boards. You should end up with four (4) boards that are 4′ long and two boards that are just under 1′ long.  Your cut materials should look something like this (pay no attention to the dowel rods in this picture, they are actually old closet rods that were in the garage)     


Step 4: Lay the two 6′ long pieces parallel to each other about 4′ apart ( do you see where this is going?). Now lay one 4′ long piece at the top of the two long pieces so that you are beginning to form a square. Lay a second 4′ long piece at the bottom of the two long pieces and adjust all the pieces until your square looks like this     


 NOTE: The short pieces DO NOT GO BETWEEN the long pieces, they should cover the ends of the long pieces.

Step 5: Screw all the pieces together. (Here’s where the burly helper would come in handy, but you can do it by yourself also). At each corner, drill two pilot holes through the short piece into the long piece. Use these holes to fasten the pieces together with the wood screws.

Step 6:  Select one (1) of the remaining 4′ long pieces. Place this piece across your square so it rests on the long pieces and is parallel to the top crosspiece. Place it so that there is a 1″ gap between it and the top crosspiece. Drill two pilot holes through each end of the short board into the sides of the long boards. (Steps 6 & 7 & 8 don’t have real pictures so you’ll have imagine from the completed loom)


Use these holes to fasten the pieces together with the wood screws.

Step 7:  Select the remaining 4′ long piece and place at the bottom of the square just like you did the other at the top EXCEPT this time leave about a 4 inch gap between it and the bottom crosspiece.


Again drill pilot holes, two at each end and attach with wood screws.

Step 8:  At this point you should still have four (4) pieces of unused wood. Two pieces that are a little under 3′ long and two pieces that are a little under 1′ long. The two 3′ pieces will be the feet. The two 1′ pieces will be heddle holders later on but are not needed during construction. Select the two 3′ pieces and mark the center (length) on each. Set aside for a moment.

The easiest way to attach the feet is to first turn the loom onto one of its long sides (again the burly helper would be nice here). After the loom is on a long side, select one of the 3′ pieces and align its center mark with the center of the side of the loom at the bottom. Lining up the centers is not critical but you should make sure that the bottom edge of the foot is flush with the bottom edge of the loom. Drill three (3) pilot holes in a triangle pattern through the foot into the side of the loom. Attach with wood screws. Repeat for other foot.

Now, if I’ve not totally hosed up these directions, your loom should look something like this (minus the rope and the dowel rods)


Step 9:  Attaching the tension rod and warp rods (dowel rods). This is a booger to explain so I’m going to give you a link to a PDF file with pictures and stuff. If you can’t open the file or have a question let me know and I will try to help.

Navajo Loom Plans (The first page is hand drawn… badly. Don’t let that put you off. These are the best plans I’ve seen.)

Navajo Loom Plans 2 (These are the same plans as above only in “engineer-ese”. Scroll to the last page to see how to tie the knots for the tension rope.)

For loom plans see the link at the top of the post.

Step 10: Admire your new loom! Or conversely, leave a comment saying that these were the worst instructions you ever read and I should never attempt to teach someone to blow their nose much less build something. Either way, let me know what you think and how you did.


Test Post

This is just a test post to see how to upload pics and stuff and so my mom can see my progress on my rug.

Navajo Loom 01152008Navajo Loom 01152008Navajo Loom 01152008

There ya go mom. Now give me praise, that’s your job! I will post the rest of the pics later tonight after I have finished my Classic Lit homework. I’m not sure if I have Spanish homework or not. The instructor only speaks Spanish in class and, well, I don’t. Not real sure how that class is going to work out. 🙂

For those of you who are not my mother (I’m sure you’re somebody’s mother) I’m planning on posting a quasi-tutorial on how I built my loom. So, if you’re interested, check back.

Heraclitus here I come. Ack.