Wednesday, 9 November 2011

DIY Cardboard Box Inkle Loom Tutorial

Hi everybody!

I have been so inspired by the tutorials I have found on other weaver's blogs, most especially Laverne over at BackstrapWeaving. WOW. She weaves totally gorgeous things with very little in the way of equipment. If you haven't been to visit already please check it out. I can't get enough of her online tutorials and informative videos. I recently purchased her ebook on Andean Pebble Weave, and it's pretty rad! I CAN'T wait to make my first backstrap and get started!

I really want to make my blog a bit more about sharing knowledge and process. Sometimes I think people might be inclined to try inkle weaving at home, but don't really know if they will enjoy the process, or do it often enough to warrant spending the money on a piece of equipment.

Today I have a picture tutorial on how you can build an inkle loom out of stuff that is easy to come by. You might even have it kicking around your house. This way you can give the process a try without spending too much money and see if it's something you could dive right into. I'll be posting about how to thread up your looms, different basic patterns and then a video on weaving your first band too! You should be able to click on any of these images for a closer look. I hope this will inspire some of you to give this process a whirl!

First of all, I clearly have trouble counting. I have one too many dowels here for the job. I used what I had around my house, and encourage you to do the same. So one of my dowels will be fatter than all the rest. They need to be at LEAST one if not two inches longer than the width of your box, so that they will stay in the holes that you cut for them.

The first thing I do is decide what end of the box will be the back of my loom. Then I measure ABOUT seven inches in from the back edge and mark. I find the bottom front end of my box and measure UP two inches from the bottom and mark. Then I use my marker and sort of loosely draw a curve that is steeper towards the top of the box and then shallows out as it moves towards the bottom front edge. You can see how I made several lines before I decided where I would make the cut. That's okay, in fact I recommend it. This isn't a beauty contest. At this point choose function over form. The shallowing out is important because you need quite a bit of room in that open front area of the loom for working. You will understand this better when you see how the loom is threaded later on. I keep the flaps in tact at the top of the box, except where I am cutting away the curves. I tape them down once the loom is cut out. I am not sure if folding in the remaining flaps inwards helps the loop stay sturdy, but that's what I did this time around.

Flip that cut out piece over and use it to trace the identical (mirror) curve on the other side of the box. Cut it out. Then draw a straight line across the bottom front of the box (where the lower end of the curved sides end) and cut that section off.

You should now have something that looks like this:
Trace the end of the dowel using the measurements in the photo below. Once again, you may have to make small adjustments in measuring based on the size of your box. The placement of this dowel does not need to be exact. Most important thing is to make sure you get things fit securely. This is where the structure is weakest so the try to avoid bending and tearing the box, and aim for the dowel to fit snugly.

Do this to the other side as well. I push the dowel through the first hole, all the way to the other side, and inspect it to get it straight, then I trace the hole again off the dowel and then cut it out.

Above is the directions for the two top dowels. Once again when the holes on one side of the box/loom are cut, I push the dowels through to the other side and carefully adjust them so they look straight, comparing them to each other, and to the back of the box, from above and below and the side. I then trace the dowel ends on the inside of the opposite side of the box and cut these out. (Note: I am cutting through the side of the box as well as through the flaps which I folded inwards. You can choose to discard the flap portion).

Now you place two more holes. One hole is at the bottom rear of the loom directly below the top rear peg, and at about level with the bottom front peg. The last hole is for the heddle bar.

It might help to run a string from the front bottom bar up to the top rear bar. The heddle bar should be placed BELOW this and slightly forward compared to the top front bar. maybe even a bit more than in my drawing. Once again I haven't provided exact measurements because your boxes may all be a bit different size.

Now that all your dowels are in place your box loom is complete and should look like this!

One of the things I can't stress enough besides getting a very strong box is to make sure your dowels are as straight as possible in the frame. A slight angle is workable, but try and be sure before you cut.

Just so you get an idea of the different possibilities, I made the loom below using a giant freezie box, some heavy cardboard tubes from inside saran wrap and tin foil, and one very large plastic knitting needle. :P I ran out of cardboard tube. The rear bottom peg is the one I will remove in order to wind my inkle around the loom as I weave. I figured the knitting needle would work best in that spot.

You can see a colourful band on here, which I have used to make a key chain and a few friendship bracelets. You can also see that I have a bit of an angle on my top rear peg. This was a little annoying but not a total project killer.

I turned up the flaps on this one and wound some packing tape around, to make the box tall enough for the rear pegs. The flaps on this box actually tapered at the edges a bit, which I believe helped the structure of the loom. It's deceptively sturdy! You could always try and trim a very slight angle onto the flaps of your box and then tape them up like this.

Okay! I hope you're getting excited about trying this bad boy out! I'll be back with a short tutorial on making the string heddles, and then we can thread up and get weaving!

Thanks for stopping by, good luck and remember to leave a note or drop me an email at heartsonfibreblog (at) gmail (dot) com if you have a question!