How To: Build an Inkle Loom

Craft & Design Yarncraft
How To: Build an Inkle Loom

By Kristin Roach

Weaving is one of my favorite crafts because it’s meditative and challenging, practical and artistic. It combines plain-woven cloth’s simple elegance with the astounding complexity of a kilim split-stitch tapestry.

I love the way woven straps look, but the idea of warping my floor loom just to make something as narrow as a strap for my bike messenger bag seemed like overkill. Then I came across a wonderful and traditional solution – the inkle loom! This loom is relatively easy to build, costs under $30 to purchase all of the supplies (even less if you have the right screws around), and takes only an hour to warp and start weaving.

The slot-and-peg tensioning rod allows you to move the continuous warp through the loom and weave the entire length. That’s eight feet of warp that you can weave all in one go without stopping. You can make it a simple plain weave or tapestry style.


Select hardwoods like red cedar or oak:
1″ X 2″ X 12″ (3/4″ X 1 1/2″ X 24″ actual size)
1″ X 3″ X 24″ (3/4″ X 2 1/2″ X 24″ actual size)
1″ X 4″ X 48″ (3/4″ X 3 1/2″ X 48″ actual size)
1″ X 6″ X 24″ (3/4″ X 6 1/2″ X 24″ actual size)
2 lengths of 3/4″ dowel rod, 36″ long
Wood glue
4 wood screws, 5/8″ (#8)
12 wood screws, 1 1/2″ (#8)
Scrap block of wood, to help press pegs into holes
1/4″ hanger bolt
1/4″ disc washer
1/4″ wing nut
Polyurethane sealant


A powered rotary hand saw, table saw, or miter saw would be ideal for making quick work of cutting your hardwood. It can be done with the hand saw, but because we are using hardwood, it will take persistence and patience. Just don’t feel like you have to buy a new saw to build your inkle loom.



Step 1: Cut down all your wood to the following sizes:
(1) 1″ X 4″ X 30″ (Piece A)
(2) 1″ X 3″ X 12″ (Pieces B)
(1) 1″ X 2″ X 5″ (Piece C)
(1) 1″ X 6″ X 16″ (Piece D)
(7) 3/4″ dowel rod, 5 1/4″ lengths (Pieces E)

Step 2: Make your laps: corner lap and plain lap cuts.
This will rock your woodworking world. It’s so simple to do once you know how. It looks really nice and adds extra stability to your loom. Grab your compound angle, pencil, measuring tape, and pieces A and B, and measure where your lap cuts will go. Use the illustration to see the exact placement of each lap.
a. Use the compound angle to mark straight lines. Measure the placement as well as the depth. You’ll use the lines to guide your cuts.

Note: For the plain lap in piece A, drill a hole with the 3/8″ flat bit at the corner of the lap so you can turn the saw when you get to the 90 degree turn.
b. Use your coping saw to cut out the lap. Cut the short depth first – it makes it easier to keep the cut even.
c. Sand everything so it’s nice and smooth.

Step 3: Cut the tension rod’s slot.
a. Mark out a rectangle 3/8″ X 5″ in pencil 2″ from the end of piece A – the opposite side of the laps – centered vertically.
b. Use the 3/8″ drill bit to drill a pilot hole at both ends of the rectangle. This will give the end of the slot a nice rounded corner.
c. Remove the blade from your coping saw and slide it through the 3/8″ hole. Fit the blade back into the saw and cut along the lines of the rectangle.
d. Sand to remove any burrs and slightly round the edges of the cut.

Step 4: Attach pieces B to A.
a. Apply a generous amount of wood glue to one of the lapped cuts in piece A and clamp one of B in place.
b. Use the 1/8″ bit to drill two pilot screw holes.
c. Use the 5/8″ wood screws to secure in place.
Repeat for the second piece B.

Step 5: Measure and cut recessed peg holes.
a. Measure out the center points for each recessed peg hole as shown.
b. Clamp your loom to your workbench. Using your 3/4″ flat wood bit, cut peg holes 1/4″ deep.
c. Use the 1/8″ bit to drill out the center point all the way to the other side – this is your guide so you know where to place your screws from the backside.

Step 6: Attach pegs.
a. Put a generous amount of glue in a hole, using a scrap block of wood to fit the peg all the way into the hole.
b. From the backside of the loom, use the 1 1/2″ wood screws to screw through pieces B and A and into pieces E (the pegs). Because of the pilot holes we predrilled, this should be a snap.

Step 7: Attach the base.
a. Clamp the loom down on its side. Put a bead of wood glue along the edge of piece D and line it up to the right edge of the loom.
b. Drill 5 pilot holes, equally spaced, and use the 1 1/2″ screws to secure it.

Step 8: Make the tension rod.
a. Mark the center point in the raw cut end of piece C. Hold it in a bench clamp or clamp it to your workbench and use the 3/16″ drill bit to pre-drill the hole.
b. Use the pliers to grab one end of the hanger bolt and screw it into the pre-drilled hole you just created.
c. Screw into place by fitting the hanger bolt into the slot with the washer and wing nut on the other side.

And that’s it. You are now a proud owner of your very own inkle loom! Now all you need to do is warp it and weave some amazing things.

Here’s a list of inkle loom resources I find useful:

One of my favorite YouTube tutorials is How to Warp and Weave on the Schact Inkle Loom by Jane Patrick.

Inkle Weaving by Helene Bress is a great book to get you going.

Earth Guild’s Free Inkle Weaving Instructions

Beginning Inkle Weaving by Heather Heroldt has a nice list of other resources – scroll to the bottom of the page for her guide.

Sara Lamb’s post, Inkle 101, on her blog Woven Thoughts. It’s a really nice run-through of warping and weaving a basic strap.

About the Author:
Kristin M. Roach, creator of the popular website Craft Leftovers, is the author of Mend It BetterMend It Better (due out February 2012). As founder of the non-profit Ames, she enjoys organizing community art programs and inspiring others to live creatively. Her designs have been featured in a variety of publications, including Interweave Knits, KnitScene, Craft, Make and the book Button It Up by Susan Beal. She lives in Iowa with her husband and a mini-farm worth of animals.

27 thoughts on “How To: Build an Inkle Loom

  1. Kathrine Ferguson Jenkins says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I can’t say it enough. Never could afford to buy a loom and so want to make camera straps and now I can. I even have most of the materials already.

  2. Steven Pifer says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for the how-to. I just finished building one for my wife out of red oak from your plan. It was easy to follow and informative. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t find the measurements for the placement of the peg holes so I just winged it from the picture. To be fair, I was looking at it on my phone at the workbench, so they may be there. This was the best plan my wife was able to find online by far. Thank you again.

    1. Stephanie says:

      I’m getting ready to make this for my daughter and just noticed the same thing you mentioned. Do you, by chance, have or remember where you placed the dowels? If you have them, I would be ever so grateful! Thanks in advance and Happy Holidays!

      1. Steven Pifet says:

        The dowels on pieces B; all measurements are taken from the top of the piece: 2″, 6 1/2″, 9 1/2″. The dowel on piece A is 16″ from the tension rod end and 1 1/2″ from the top. Like I said, I winged it, so feel free to only use that as a starting point.

        1. Stephanie says:

          Very helpful, thank you!

  3. Tom says:

    Help!! Why is the base only about half the length of the unit. Seems to me that the loom would then rock back and forth. I’m inclined to make the base the full length BUT – is there a reason for only half length?

    1. Dean says:

      Seems to me from the other plans I’ve seen online is that this base was a quickie throw-on just to give SOME stability. Other plans have a notch cut out of the bottom to make the base flush.
      Also seems to me if you need more stability, you can mirror another piece? But you may want to make the tnesioner only tension on one side… just my guess. Looking to build one myself soon for my lady.

  4. Lisa says:

    Asked a friend to make this loom for me recently. He did a great job with it. Followed the plans with no alterations. Very pleased with the finished product. My daughter and I have both used it… Very functional, holds up well to tension, and no problems at all. Worth the modest cost of materials.

  5. Moira Berry says:

    Wonderful opportunity to teach youngsters to keep healthily busy!

  6. heather hawley says:

    You know I did the math and found that rather than 2 36 inch dowel rods you can get away with 1 48 inch dowel rod or a pack or 2 of 12 inch dowel rods and just cut them in half.

  7. NYghtStar says:

    Where does it say how long the dowels should be?

    1. Hiwyre says:

      That it does say. On page 3 it calls for 5 1/4″ lengths.

  8. Hiwyre says:

    Could you tell us where the holes for the dowels should be placed…i.e., how many inches from wherever. It talks about cutting and glueing but not placement. Thanks.

  9. Mel Glows says:

    Thank You for the pattern! My Dad made one for me and I love it.

    1. Kevin Purse says:

      Brill, cheers for this. I’ll be making one up shortly ;)

    2. bwcustomslings says:

      can you tell me how far the pegs are apart please it does not show that on the drawings anywhere.

  10. Rob says:

    i’d also like to know where the holes should be placed

  11. Bobbi Cox says:

    Just finished one for my wife. Oops, I built it backwards. Great for lefties.

    1. bwcustomslings says:

      How far are the pegs apart it does not show that on the drawing please?

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  13. bwcustomslings says:

    The drawings does not show how far the pegs are apart need that please.

  14. John Griswold says:

    Peg placement is not critical. They can go nearly anywhere and you’ll still have a loom. On the uprights, it looks like the pegs are centered at 3″, 5″, and 10″ from the bottom of the frame, and on the frame (piece A) it looks like the peg is just below center about 15″ from the end.

  15. Paula says:

    so—has the placement of the dowels been answered?

  16. Janet says:

    Would be great instructions with a an actual diagram of where the pegs go…. smh

  17. Ben R says:

    Nice project, but can we maybe try rejecting photos that are overexposed past any functional purpose?

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