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CraftSanity On TV: Making Weaving Looms Out of Old Books

Hi folks. I’m operating in an ArtPrize induced fog, so it’s not surprising that today’s live TV craft segment turned out to be one for the blooper reel. (See the clip below.) The “Take Five” segment features a bit of laughter and a demo on how to make a weaving loom out of an old book. Once I got myself untangled everything went pretty smooth.

I call this clever recycled book loom the “Jager” loom because I got this project idea from Margaret Jager, a member of the Woodland Weavers and Spinners guild and co-chair of the impressive 16th Biennial Fiber Arts Exhibition featuring work by many local fiber artists who are  members of The Michigan League of Handweavers.

(My Sunday column will feature more details about the show, so check here this weekend for more details. The exhibit runs through Sept. 14 at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, so be sure to check it out if you’re local. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Labor Day; then 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday after Labor Day.)

Margaret was inspired to make her book loom by the Weavette, Weave-It and other small looms that have gone in and out of mass production since the 1940s. Even though I have a collection of these portable looms, I had to make one out of a book because I share Margaret’s passion for this short of crafty MacGyver stuff.

When she told me she made a loom out of a dated copy of “Knit Sweaters The Easy Way,” I was intrigued. Then she showed me the beautiful shawl she made by combining square pieces woven on the book loom and I was very impressed.

Seriously. The shawl is lovely and especially great when you realize that she made it on a loom she fashioned by pounding nails into a book.

My only question was this: Why a knitting book? Why wreck a vintage craft book when there are other options? (You have to tape the book shut to make the loom.)

“I know everything in the book, so I didn’t need it any more,” she said.

Fair enough.

So dig out an old book, my friends, and read on for instructions to make your own “Jager” loom.

Supplies:

* Hard cover book that you don’t plan to read again.

* Loom template pdf (Download PDF)

* 3/4″  brads

* Small hammer (I used a tack hammer.)

* Clear packaging tape

Instructions:

1) Print out the template I whipped up using this free nifty graph paper template. Center the template on the book cover. Use clear packaging tape to secure it, taping the book closed as you go.

2) Pound brads into the book, following the dot pattern on the template. Don’t be surprised if the brads don’t line up perfectly. Wonkiness adds character to the loom and it will still work even if it looks like a little kid made it. Pounding in the nails is the most tedious step, but hang in there because the finished product is well worth it.

Once you get all your nails pounded in, you’re ready to weave. You can find weaving instructions and project ideas here. And as always, please let me know if you have any questions about this tutorial. I’m working in a compromised state of fatigue today, so my apologies if I botched something.

Happy weaving!

P.S. Don’t worry, Margaret’s shawl was not harmed during the filming of today’s TV segment. : )

Comments

Comment from Kathy Elsie
Time: August 27, 2010, 1:09 pm

Jennifer, thank you for bringing so many affordable and easy crafts to the masses. Whether you create the idea or not, you find a way to show us! You rock!

Comment from EL
Time: August 27, 2010, 1:11 pm

I can’t understand why you destroy books to make craft projects — or for any reason. This is not recycling. There must be plenty of pieces of wood, styrofoam, cardboard lying around to use as looms. Pass along the books to someone else who might want to read what’s inside them. Destroying finished objects is not the way to go.

Comment from jennifer
Time: August 27, 2010, 2:26 pm

Hi EL. Thanks for your comment. The books I used in this tutorial were
removed from the collection at my local library and destined for the recycle bin, so I feel okay about repurposing them.

I have made many looms out of scrap wood and agree that found pieces make great looms. In fact, my line of CraftSanity looms are cut from wood boards passed over by furniture makers. Since my looms require small pieces of wood, we’re able to cut around undesirable flaws and make beautiful looms. I just want you to know that I’m doing my part to be resourceful and kind to the environment.

Plus, I’d rather see someone weaving on a book instead of burning one. This situation could be much worse. : )

Comment from jennifer
Time: August 27, 2010, 2:33 pm

Thanks, Kathy, for you’re affirming remarks. However, in this instance, I have to pass the kudos on to Margaret who rocked this weaving project and was kind enough to track me down at a recent fiber festival here in West Michigan to loan me both her book loom and lovely shawl. I’m a lucky lady to get to spend time chatting with such creative people.

Kathy, thanks for reading, commenting and giving me a reason to keep at it.

Pingback from Make a book loom · Needlework News @ CraftGossip
Time: August 27, 2010, 2:37 pm

[...] Jennifer of CraftSanity shows us how to make a loom out of an old book. To find out more about the inspiration for this project, see a beautiful example of a shawl made from squares woven on a book loom, and get the tutorial for making a loom of your own, see Jennifer’s blog post. [...]

Comment from Kathy Elsie
Time: August 27, 2010, 5:46 pm

Jennifer: it doesn’t matter who had the idea, but that you are able to inspire others to be creative too. You find easy ways to get craft materials (recycling) and show how to make equipment, ie: the book loom! You postively rock!

Comment from Katherine
Time: August 28, 2010, 11:15 pm

Is there such a loom, that you can make say a scarf on, or a long piece of work, instead of squares? Just wondering? Thanks

Comment from jennifer
Time: August 29, 2010, 12:54 am

Hi Katherine. Yes, it would be possible to make a loom to weave a larger piece on. I won’t have time to map that one out for a while, but you find some instructions for making these kind of looms here:
http://www.rogersstark.com/wool/weave/weave.htm#Create

I hope this helps. Be sure to let me know if you end up making a bigger loom. I’d love to see it! When I get time to make my scarf loom, I’ll be sure to post it.

Comment from Marion Marzolf
Time: August 30, 2010, 12:14 pm

Great idea, Margaret. I’ve got a bunch of little squares waiting for a home.
Maybe your book or board loom ideas will lead new folks into
trying a traditional floor loom, where the whole process of
weaving coordinates arms,legs, and feet and goes much
faster… and you can still weave segments, but of course not with finished edges. sigh! there is always a catch….marion

Comment from Alana
Time: August 30, 2010, 1:28 pm

I love books, but I don’t agree with the people saying that you shouldn’t turn books into other things. If you have a travel book that is older than about 5 years old, it is useless. There are plenty of dated books that are not worth reading anymore. And a book is better than a chunk of wood because with that many nails in a row, wood has a tendency to split. A book wouldn’t. I think it’s brilliant.

Pingback from How-To: Book Loom | Crafts Kids :: Free Crafts Network
Time: August 30, 2010, 6:03 pm

[...] Ackerman-Haywood of CraftSanity shows how you can turn an old book into a weaving loom by pounding nails in to the cover. She even shares a project from a woman named Margaret Jager who [...]

Comment from Carolyn
Time: August 30, 2010, 10:22 pm

I have some of the old “potholder” looms that usually are used with cotton loops. Can I use them for this kind of weaving too?

Comment from Lisa
Time: August 31, 2010, 3:11 pm

I’m so excited about this book loom! Jennifer, are you going to post instructions to weave the various types of squares Ms. Jager’s shawl seems to be constructed of? Plain weave I can figure out on my own, or even twill. But that tick-tack-toe looking square? How did she do that?

Pingback from How-To: Book Loom | External Brain
Time: September 2, 2010, 5:47 am

[...] Ackerman-Haywood of CraftSanity shows how you can turn an old book into a weaving loom by pounding nails in to the cover. She even shares a project from a woman named Margaret Jager who [...]

Comment from Jenny
Time: September 4, 2010, 11:06 am

What a fun project! I am curious to know why the nails are grouped in threes instead of evenly spaced.

Comment from jennifer
Time: September 4, 2010, 3:27 pm

The loom is modeled after the old “Weave-It” looms that use a continuous weave structure that calls for this seemingly odd nail spacing. You can read details of the weaving process at this link:http://www.eloomanation.com/weaving/patterned_weaves.php

Comment from Miss Fruitfly
Time: September 17, 2010, 6:14 pm

I’m making this today. I love it!

Comment from alexandria
Time: September 29, 2010, 8:09 am

Thanks so much for this! I’ve been wanting a weave-it loom forever & never seem to find them in the garage sales. I never thought of making one this way! Even I could construct this! I cant wait to get started :o)

Comment from Debbie J
Time: November 30, 2010, 11:27 am

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have been wanting to learn to weave, and this looks like the perfect way to learn! Now all I have to do is go and get my supplies for the loom.

Comment from Karen
Time: May 15, 2011, 11:22 am

Neat! Thank you!

Comment from P.J. Herdman
Time: August 28, 2011, 7:39 pm

I tried the eloomanation websight and as of August 24, 2011 it is now closed. Is there anywhere else to get information on how to weave using the bookloom? I am also looking for different patterns than plain weave. Thank you, pj

Comment from Mo
Time: September 18, 2011, 3:40 pm

Me encantó, gracias por la información desde sus inicios (en tapas de libros)

Pingback from Weaving (Not the Hugo Kind) | Linus Hates Me
Time: October 19, 2011, 10:02 pm

[...] around weren’t “get started with what you have.”  This article, though, on how to make a book loom is incredible. As I also have books, and Mr. Linus Hates Me has nails and a hammer, this might be [...]

Comment from pam
Time: October 22, 2012, 8:17 pm

Great idea. The graph template does not have any size on it. Would you please tell me the dimensions of the loom, and the size of the graph squares? When I download the pdf I only get a small section, and have to reduce it drastically to get it all. I don’t know how far apart the pins are, or the total size.

Thank you, pam

Comment from Carol
Time: January 7, 2014, 11:36 pm

I could not find the patterns to use the “Making loom out of book and nails” project video I watched, can you send me that site?
Thank You

Comment from Istannor
Time: February 1, 2014, 11:59 pm

I think this is the best idea since sliced bread!
I have wanted to try pin loom weaving, but I would rather experiment with workable but low/no cost equipment.
Outdated textbooks are excellent material for this project. I took the covers off one and sandwiched a magazine between them – this gave me the hard cover without making the pin loom too heavy. I’m sitting here looking at it right now, about to do the hammering. I’ll prick holes in a file folder cover with an awl to make the template that will be taped onto the book cover.

Comment from cezi
Time: March 3, 2014, 10:59 am

You help me so much! excelent page! :)

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