miniature tapestry loom

I want to try weaving tapestries with embroidery floss and don't want to invest in a suitable loom in case I really don't enjoy it. I've been trying to figure out what I can use to get the proper spacing for the warp. I don't think I can put nails in that close together. Any suggestions? Thank you.


Posted on Mon, 06/07/2010 - 23:40

If you are winding the warp in a figure of 8, you can put in a turn or two around the frame between your warp wraps.

You could also use a small file, like they use for model-making, to put notches in the frame to hold the warps. This can also be done with a small saw and sand-paper, to make sure there are no splinters.

You can put nails quite close: they need to be staggered, and you should drill the holes first to make sure the wood does not split. I have a couple of mini looms I have made where the pins are less than 1/8" apart. It does take patience, but is possible. A lot is going to depend on the yarns you are going to use for warp and weft. With embroidery floss, you will probably want a fairly close set warp.

Have you got a copy of Barbara Mathiessens book "Small Loom and Freeform Weaving"?  Its worth borrowing from your local library!  She gives several alternatives in there for making looms from things you will find around the house, including using combs as warp spacers, and gaffer tape on cardboard. There are some easy and attractive projects in there as well to give you a taste of what can be done with the simplest of tools.

Hope this info is of some use!

cheers, Caroline

Posted on Tue, 06/08/2010 - 00:11

What are you planning to use for warp? The floss wont hold up to alot of tension & will get knarly. I have two small hand-held looms I make small tapestry with & they work up fast. Both are made out of wood. One a friend gave me, woodworker out of business. The other was the Grand Rapids Convergence loom offereed to commemorate it. I think the woodmaker was listed in this year's list... I'll have to look. I don't think you'll get the sett you need from this. Staggered nails would work best.

Thanks for the book heads up Caroline. I'll see if I can find that.

Posted on Tue, 06/08/2010 - 11:36

 The Archie Brennan designed loom, the basic loom shown at this link (the left lower diagram showing small copper loom) is one that' s quick, easy to make, fairly inexpensive and can be adapted to smaller copper pipe and sizes for smaller pieces, if desired.  This is the type of loom I'd recommend.  About spacing the warp... one can set the spacing any way you want to without having notches, nails, grooves or any other device by placing that number of ends in each inch (marking the top and bottom with sharpie in 1" and 1/2" increments is very helpful).

Here's the link to Archie Brennan's website where his loom designs are shown... the basic loom is the one that I'm talking about:



Posted on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 23:22

Thank you for the book recommendation. My library doesn't have it, but I think I've seen it at Barnes and Noble. I'll check it out.


Also thank you for the tips on building a small loom.

Posted on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 23:24

I looked at the Archie Brennan loom and think that's something I can make myself. I'm not handy with hammers and nails.

Posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 11:40

 I've just gotten a copy of Kathe Todd-Hooker's new book, So Warped--it's all about warping for tapestry weaving and she shows a great variety of tapestry looms, from frame looms to commercial ones.  Her business is Fine Fiber Press... you can google to find it, if interested.



Posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 19:51

I showed my husband the Archie Brennan designed loom and he went out immediately and bought everything he needed to make one. I have Kathy Todd Hookers other tapestry books but don't have the newest one.

Posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 21:13

I went to the Gilmakre USA website and couldn't find seine twine. I'm not actually sure what I'm looking for. Can you give me some direction.

Posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 02:18

 Sure... Cotton Rug Warp at this link on the site:

This is from the site:


12/6 natural rug warp... 1800 yds (seine twine)

12/6 COLORS, 1560 yds

12/9 natural rug warp, 1230 yds

12/12 natural rug warp, 920 yd

12/15 natural rug warp, 740 yd

12/18 natural rug warp, 615 yd

20/6 natural, 2860 yd


You can also talk to Joanne Hall there and tell her what you're wanting will be for tapestry.  She is very, very helpful.

Good luck with it all!



Posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 02:14

I have been tapestry weaving for somewhere around 12 years...I have a large loom but wanted something more portable.  So I bought the copper and made Archie's loom.  I was EXTREMELY disappointed.  It is heavy, buckled easily and very hard to hold onto while warping.  Never used a more difficult piece, and it wasn't cheap what with the price of copper today.  I made myself one that is just like my large one and it is working great.  I have pictures of hammer or nails required, just wholes in the wood for the threaded rods to go through.  It even has a tension control property.  I posted very elaborate pics of it  with and without a piece on it on my blog just last week and I am posting the Link here.  You may feel free to contact me if you like and I will gladly walk you though it.  I hope this helps.


Posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 02:29

Your loom posted on your blog is quite interesting and I'm glad to hear you find it works well for you.   It is indeed a nice design.  Thanks for noting the link to your blog posts about it.

Marsha, I certainly don't want to disagree with your experience with the Archie Brennan loom design but I do want to say that I used versions of the Brennan design for looms very successfully for a number of years.  I've never experienced buckling with the copper pipe looms of the size I've made, both small ones and a bit larger.  In fact, for smaller versions I use 1/2"  pipe rather than the 3/4"  pipe of Archie's design.  I've also made a quite a bit larger one from plumbing pipe, according to Archie's design for that particular type of loom noted at his website, as well.  And I've used all successfully both for my own work and for student use for many years now.



Posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 13:21


I have to agree with Tommye on the Archie Brennan loom. I have four of various sizes and I love them all.  However, I think it is important to note that once you get past a certain size the weight of the pipe does need to be sturdier to insure that it doesn't bend.  I too have a steel plumbing pipe loom (6' X 7') that would never have worked in copper.  I have found that the cheaper the copper pipe the better it is for a loom.  Copper is soft so if you buy the expensive pipe you will find that the higher copper content makes the pipe more prone to buckling under pressure.

The thing is that there are so many types of looms out there that no one need work with a loom that they don't like.  In Tapestry we are lucky to be able to work with very simple tools.  Just a frame and fiber.  We don't even need to buy bobbins since butterflies work just fine.  I do have quite a few John Moss bobbins, though.  I can't seem to stop buying them, he and Joy are  such nice people and they make such beautiful bobbins.  So if you don't like the pipe looms then you have many choices. 

I will be attending Lynn Curran's workshop at the ABT8 convention and she makes her looms out of wood.  Same concept just different material.  I am bringing my pipe loom since it is so easy to pack.


Posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 17:18

I got the cotton rug warp this week but from but it looks thick for embroidery floss. I talked with a man there and he sent me what he thought would work. I think it is a 12/18 but there' no label or packing slip.

Posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 22:38

I definitely have the weaving bug again.  I really can't seem to find a place to post my pictures on this site, and I don't want to seem like I am promoting "Sales" of any kind, although I do sell my art. 

Anyway I just completed a tapestry woven handbag white on white with soumak details that turned out deliciously!  I would LOVE for you guys to take a look.  Sooooo instead of posting the link to my retail sites I am again posting the BLOG link.  If I am not supposed to do this someone please let me know. 

I am at [email protected], and my blog link is

Is there a place on this site to leave pictures???  If so again could someone please contact me with instructions?

Posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 22:48

Also just for clarification, I only built Archie Brennan's smallest pipe loom.  I did not build the one with legs that free stands.  I am sure that the ones HE BUILDS are wonderful.  I just found the little "put it together yourself" one too cumbersome compared to the one I have that is likened to the Mirrix.  Mine has tension options and lets that are very stable and it doesn't twist or buckle.  These, along with other features make it better suited to my needs.  It's just my personal preferences and I think it would be less expensive to build the one I use and easier for a beginner.  Please realize this is just my opinion and I certainly didn't want to offend.  Just to share my experiences along the way.

Posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 13:28

Feel free to post your blog url.  Have you added it to your profile page?  That's another good place for people to see it and click om it.

Thanks for Joining the Weavolution? 

Posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 16:27

Claudia I use a spring for a screen door for the warp nails at all.  Very easy.  Take a look at my blog and you will see lots of pics of the loom with and without a weaving on it.

Posted on Fri, 10/01/2010 - 16:28

What is your warp sett? Embroidery floss works best at 18-20 epi. You also need a tighte tension the smaller you go. Tommye suggestion on the AB oom is a good one.


Posted on Fri, 10/01/2010 - 16:34

at 20 epi-dual duty craft thread buttonhole twist  warp. The best makes. Linen , silk and cotton sewing thread wear and aren't strong enough at higher warp setts. Quilt thread is glaszed and the glazing continually peels and leaves white Flakes. Crosheen and opera DMC aren't spun tight enough and are actuay quite arge-not good for wap at smaller wap setts.

Posted on Fri, 10/01/2010 - 16:36

nail  looms do not have adjustable tension and make small format tapestry difficult and saggy to weave.