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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Three new sweet little tape looms...

These three little looms I made from small wooden picture frames. I used sticks 1/16" thick x 1/4 wide x 5-1/4" long soap mixing sticks from Michaels, but you could use pop sticks or other thin pieces of wood.. And they don't take long to make.

Pick a small lightweight frame. With advanced pick up patterns, you will want a loom with at least 20 holes and 20 slots (40 threads). The two larger ones here are for 5" x 7" photos (42 threads). The smaller one is for 4" x 6" photos (34 threads).  Remove the backing, the glass and pins from the frame.

You will need 21 stir sticks for the 5" x 7" frame and 17 stir sticks for the  4" x 6" frame.  Sticks come in a light beige bare color. If you wish to stain them, do this first, before you drill holes or cut to size. If you glue the bare sticks in first and then try to stain them, the stain will not absorb into the wood with glue on it, so do this first. Swish them around a minute and take them right out onto a newspaper, soak up excess stain with paper towel and leave overnight to dry.

Place two sticks into your frame and mark the length. I lined up all 21 sticks against the edge of a table, marked two sticks were placed at each end. I then pressed a ruler across the two marked sticks and everyone in between and marked the lot at once. I also cut them this way by scoring them with a sharp utility knife, turned each one over and scored with the knife along the back side. The ends will simply snap off.

Mark the center of each stick and drill a 1/16" hole. They do not have to be perfectly lined up, but don't get to close to the edges either. Use a needle file or a smaller drill bit by hand to smooth the edges of your hole so the threads don't catch on them.

Run a line of wood glue along each length on the back of the frame and slide each stick into place, leaving about 1/16" space in between each stick. Run glue along the tops of your new heddle and glue two or more sticks into place to cap the heddle sticks.  Check to make sure they spaces are ok, and carefully set a heavy book on top till all glue dries.  If you have a deep groove in your frame, simply add a stick or two, unglued, on top of the heddle caps. Backs are shown below.

Drill two larger holes near the top so you can run a cord through the loom. They look lovely hung on a wall, warped or not, or to keep out of the way in between times you are weaving.

My book is still on Amazon or my web site if you would like to give tape loom weaving a try. Tape Loom Weaving... Simplified.

Weaving in Rogers booth at the Madison County Fair, Nebraska in July 2013.  Sitting outside, weaving in the sunshine, cornfields nearby as far as you can see and further, a relaxing way to spend a beautiful day.


Marsha Paulsen Peters said...

Thank you for the great ideas! How do these picture-frame heddle looms stand up after lots of use? Do the corners ever require further reinforcements?

Regina Delarm said...

I think it depends on how well you glue them. I use wood glue and quite a bit of it. If the frame has a inner coating, try to sand or remove it before you attach the heddle sticks. I have been using an especially wide one for a couple of years, and it has not broken. Originally they were all individually carved in one solid piece and many heddles have broken over the years. Repairs were made and continued to be used.

One point is that they are so inexpensive to make with the frame, and do not take long to make. If you drill holes carefully in the center, glue well and dont abuse them, they will last.

Also, pick a frame that is well made especially in the corners. I buy mine at thrift stores because of the wider variety and interesting patterns. Older frames were made stronger than the new cheap ones. I carefully inspect them for those bad stapled or wobbly corners... avoid them! And be careful to space the heddle sticks so they dont shift as they dry. Wood glue is forgiving and they can be cut out with an exacto knife if you find one has broken or shifted in drying.

Have fun!

Regina Delarm said...

Michaels has the best sticks... Skinny Sticks are strong, clean and thicker but not wider than stir sticks.

Marsha Paulsen Peters said...

Thanks, Regina, for the tip about Skinny Sticks. I've yet to try making my own frame loom but, when I do, I'll use these stronger sticks from Michaels. -- mapp