How to Make a Boho Woven Wall Hanging Without a Loom
No need to spend big bucks on a beautiful wall hanging, learn how to easily and inexpensively make one using cardboard and yarn.
This project is simple enough for children to tackle, yet interesting enough to entice even the most experienced crafter. You will learn how to make a very simple, yet effective loom from cardboard and three basic weaving techniques that can be mixed to create myriad stunning effects.
- tapestry needle
- painter’s tape
- yarn in various colors and textures
- thin wooden dowel (at least 12” long)
- drift wood or stick for hanging (at least 12” long)
Step 1: Make the Loom
Cut a sturdy piece of cardboard into a rectangle that measures approximately 12" x 18". Wrap a piece of painter's tape over each of the short ends to reinforce where you will cut the notches. Starting one inch in from the long edge of the cardboard, cut small notches into the taped area about every 1/4". If the notches aren't uniformly sized, don't worry about it, they do not have to be perfect. But do aim for cutting an even number, stopping one inch from the other edge. Repeat on the opposite side of the cardboard, try to cut the same number of notches on each side.
Step 2: Wrap the Loom
Choose a fairly thin yarn to wrap the loom, my preference is for a neutral colored worsted weight yarn. Start by taping the end of the yarn to the back of the loom. Pull the yarn through the first notch on the top edge of the front of the loom, down and into the first notch on the bottom edge, back around the back to the second notch on the top edge, and continue until all the notches are full. You want the yarn to be quite tight. If the strands don’t feel as though they have a bit of bounce or tension, gently work them tighter by guiding the extra yarn through the notches from one side to the other. Cut the yarn from the ball and tape the second loose end to the back of the loom.
Step 3: Basic or Tabby Weave
You always want to start a weaving project with a few rows of a basic or tabby weave. To make this process easier you can start by inserting a dowel in between the threads on the loom, called the warp threads. The dowel will help separate the warp threads, making it easier to thread a piece of yarn over and under alternating threads. To create a tabby weave, thread a manageable length of yarn (about 36-48”) onto a tapestry needle. Note, a needle makes guiding the thread a bit easier but it is optional, with thicker yarn, I just pull the end through with my fingers. Pull the yarn, known as the weft, through the warp threads, travel under the first and over the second, alternating until you reach the end, pull the yarn almost all the way through, leaving a tail that can be woven in at the end. Push up the dowel and draw the weft yarn back in the other direction, this time you will go over where the previous yarn went under and under where the previous yarn went over. Gently pull this second line through, leaving a little slack, gently push down on the second row to meet the first. You don’t want to pull the weft yarn too tight because it will cause the weaving to bunch in at the sides. If you notice the sides of your work pulling in, try to loosen your weave slightly before you push it down. Pull down your dowel and move back across the loom the same way you did for the first run. Again, pulling gently through and pushing the row to meet the one below it. Continue until you have at least four lines of tabby. Cut the yarn, and again, leave a tail for weaving in later.
Step 4: Rya Knots
To create the fringe that will hang at the bottom of the weaving, tie a row of rya knots to the warp threads. First, cut a large number of strands measuring approximately 28" long. The easiest way to do this is to wrap yarn from your hand to your elbow many times. Pull the bundle from your arm and cut through one side. To create nice thick fringe use at least two strands held together at once. Lay the center of your strands over the top of your first two warp threads. Tuck the left end of your strands under and through the left thread and tuck the right end of your strands under and through the right thread. The tails of your strands will be coming out of the space between the first two warp threads. Gently pull the bottom of the strands to tighten the knot. Repeat the process with the third and fourth warp threads. Continue adding knots all the way across the bottom of your work.
Step 5: Continue Weaving
Using the same technique described in Step 3, continue adding tabby weave to your wall hanging. Use different colors and textures of yarn to add variety. You can complete your entire weaving with the tabby weave or you can add another layer of texture with the soumack weave, explained in the next step.
Step 6: Soumack Weave
This weave gives the look of a braid and is especially lovely with roving or extra bulky yarn. If you don’t have any thick yarn, consider holding several strands as one for a similar look. Start on the left side of your project, pull your weft thread under the first two warp threads, then pull it over and behind the second two warp threads. Continue to pass the weft thread around pairs of warp threads, over to the right and under to the left until you reach the last pair of weft threads. Wrap the weft thread around the last two warp threads twice and start soumak weave in the opposite direction. Thread your weft yarn over and then under the second pair of warp threads passing the tail to your right. Continue to pass the weft thread around pairs of warp threads, over to the left and under to the right until you reach the last pair of weft threads. Wrap around the last pair of warp threads and cut your yarn, leaving a tail to weave in later.
Step 7: Finish Weaving
After the soumack rows, continue with the tabby weave. You might wish to interrupt the tabby with another set of soumack, the second set shown above was worked in the opposite direction. Your final rows of weaving should always be in the basic tabby weave. Stop when you near the top of your loom.
Step 8: Remove From Loom
On the back of the loom, cut the threads towards the bottom half of the loom and very gently pop the warp threads from the slits.
Step 9: Tie Off
Start with the bottom warp threads, carefully tie the first and second threads together with a square knot, taking care to get the knot tight to the base of the weaving. Continue across the entire bottom edge of work until all of the warp threads are securely knotted. Repeat across the top.
Step 10: Weave in Ends
You will tuck all of your loose threads into the back of your work. You can use a crochet hook or tapestry needle to make this process easier. Once the loose thread has been run through a few rows in the back of the work you can trim any excess.
Step 11: Install Hanger
To attach your weaving to your stick you will need to create a series of overhand knots. Take your first two warp threads and tie them in an overhand knot, leaving a loop for the wood to be threaded through. Continue to create these loops across the top. Thread the stick through and adjust the size of your loops so that the piece will hang evenly. Tie a second overhand knot under the first to act as a stop, repeat across all loops. Lastly, tie one length of yarn to each end of the stick to create a hanger.
Step 12: Trim Fringe
When you hang the weaving you may wish to trim the rya knot fringe. You can cut it several ways; simply trim it straight, at an angle or to a point. It is easiest to trim the fringe while it is hanging.
Step 13: Display
Hang your weaving to add instant handmade boho glamour to any space.