I am so excited to be sharing this tutorial on how to make a standing loom with adjustable legs. It’s been a long time coming, not only for the blog, but for me personally, as well.
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GOING FROM A SMALL KIT LOOM TO A LARGER DIY LOOM
When I first started weaving, I used a simple peg loom that came as part of an affordable beginner’s level kit (like this one). I was so excited to get it in the mail! It was a lap loom – my first one – and, I swear, I carried that thing around the house like it was a security blanket.
But after a while, I began dreaming up bigger projects. I wanted to make larger wall weavings, woven pillows, and weavings with a higher density warp. I needed a bit more flexibility. But I didn’t want to purchase another loom. So, I decided to make a larger DIY loom myself – with my husband’s help of course 😉
(For the step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own, see How To Make a Basic Loom).
This larger loom (30 inch W X 31.5 inch H) has been the perfect addition to my weaving arsenal (for a more comprehensive list, see 8 Tools & Supplies Every Weaver Should Own (and where to find them) ). And I’ve been thrilled with the variety of projects that I’ve been able to create with it.
LOWER BACK PAIN – THE WEAVER’S ACHILLES HEAL
HOWEVER, there is a downside to using a larger loom: weaver’s back. This refers to the oh-so-common problem that weavers have of developing lower back pain as they weave.
As some of you know, when you weave, you lean and even hunch over. Not recommended, but it happens! And when you weave for prolonged periods of time, this has a negative impact on your back.
(See this valuable article on the ergonomics of weaving: Set Your Body (And Your Loom) Free, page 6. The article is part of an e-book with some great project ideas, including techniques and design inspiration.)
On many occasions I’ve had to take weaving breaks due to lower back pain. I often wanted to weave for hours…and hours…non-stop. But my back told me otherwise.
Gradually, I came to the conclusion that I would need to find a way to support my back better than I had been doing.
So, an idea was born: add adjustable legs to my DIY loom.
BUT FIRST, LET’S TALK ALTERNATIVES
Before I discuss how to make adjustable legs for your loom, I wanted to share a couple of alternatives that I’ve used up until now.
If you are more of a crafter (rather than a DIY-er who uses power tools, for example), one alternative to making a standing loom with adjustable legs is to lean your loom against a wall. This forces you to sit up a bit as you weave.
Another alternative – and a better one in my opinion – is to place your loom on an easel. Just attach the frame as you would a canvas, and then weave away. If you have a large standing easel, then just pull up a chair or stool. If you have a table top easel (which I don’t), even better. This will ensure that you have proper back and leg support.
Note: Using either of these options is not a replacement for being careful with the effects of repetitive action as you weave. You should always take breaks and stretch your back and consider the best ergonomics for your specific weaving conditions.
Purchase Your Own: Of course, it may be far more practical simply to purchase a standing loom. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there are some great affordable options in various sizes on Amazon here, here or on Etsy in different sizes here, here, here.
THE BENEFITS OF ATTACHING ADJUSTABLE LEGS TO YOUR LOOM
Although I have used both of the options above – loom against wall and loom attached to standing easel – what I really wanted was to find a way to easily weave at my dining room table. And while using a table top easel is a great option, adding adjustable legs, I believe, has a few added benefits:
- It is less cumbersome.
- It is more stable.
- It is more affordable.
For me, adding adjustable legs to my loom has worked very well. If you, too, have been wanting to weave with ease on your frame loom, then I would highly recommend adding adjustable legs. This will give you the flexibility you need and will help minimize back pain.
Ready to make your frame loom with adjustable legs?
HOW TO MAKE A STANDING LOOM WITH ADJUSTABLE LEGS
The first step is to make your frame first. For easy, step-by-step instructions, go here: How To Make a Basic Loom. Once you have made your frame, it is time to add the adjustable legs.
You will need the following materials.
- 2 long pieces of wood (mine were the same thickness as my frame loom, 3/4 inch X 1.5 inch)
- drill bit
- 2 bolts (with 2 washers and 2 wing nuts attached)
- measuring tape
- screwdriver (not pictured)
- pencil (not pictured)
Step 1: Measure & Cut The Length of Each Piece of Wood
To determine the length of each adjustable leg, first measure the sides of your loom.
Your adjustable legs should be approximately 3/4 the length of the sides of your loom. For example, the length of each side of my DIY loom is 31.5 inches, so I decided to cut each leg down to 24 inches.
Use a compound saw to cut each leg (see picture below).
(Remember, if you don’t have a compound saw, an affordable miter box saw will do just as well. If you go this route, then make sure to have some sand paper ready to smooth out the edges. Hand saws do not create as smooth of a cut as a compound saw).
Step 2: Drill Holes
First, take a moment to determine the placement of each leg.
Tip: To ensure easy adjusting, give each leg clearance at the bottom as I did above.
Next, drill a hole at the top end of each leg. This is where your legs will attach to the sides of the loom.
Begin by marking where you will be drilling your hole.
Now drill a hole at each drill point marked on each leg.
Next, line up one of the legs against the side of the loom (as we did in the picture below). Holding the two together, drill through the hole you’ve already created at the top of the leg…
..and continue until you have drilled all the way through the frame as well.
Repeat on the other side of the loom.
Step 3: Attach Legs To Loom
Now you are ready to attach the legs to each side of the loom. Taking a screwdriver, screw in a bolt into the side of your loom frame.
Tip: To make sure that you can adjust the arms on the outer edge of your loom, screw the bolt from the inner side of the loom, moving towards the outer end. (You can see this in the photo above which shows the left side of the loom).
Tip: Make sure one of the two washers for that bolt (the flat, round metal piece) is between the head of the bolt and the wood.
Once the bolt reaches the outer end of the frame, align the hole of your adjustable leg against the bolt and continue screwing it through.
As you screw the bolt through the frame and into the leg, the gap between leg and loom will gradually lessen.
Repeat the above steps on the right side of the loom.
Once the bolt has been attached to either side, screw on the wing nuts. You should have one washer left per side. This will ensure a secure fit.
It is the wing nut on either side of the loom that you will be able to use to loosen the leg, allowing you to swing it back. Then you simply tighten to keep it in place.
MY STANDING LOOM WITH ADJUSTABLE LEGS
This is how my loom looks like.
When laid out flat, the legs easily tuck into place.
This loom provides enormous flexibility for me. I can weave on the floor, at a table – virtually anywhere. It makes weaving on a loom more practical and pleasurable. I am thrilled with the final result!
I hope you give this DIY standing loom with adjustable legs a try. It is a real game changer for anyone who loves the art of weaving.