Beginner Weaving Lessons

Back to the Basics || Warping a frame loom

Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving Loom

As most of you know by now, I started this blog because I love weaving so much and I wanted to help others learn to weave too. Although I too am learning new things, I especially love when I can help someone out with a question or issue they are having. One such question I received recently was from a reader who received a notched loom as a present. She had received a beautiful loom from Wildcraft Studios, which she discovered is not meant to be warped the way you typically warp a notched loom, but more similarly to how a frame loom is warped.  I helped talk her through how to go about this and I wanted to share in case others were having the same issue.  I do cover how to warp a frame loom (& a notched loom) in a previous post, but I decided that I need to go into some more detail, to cover all the questions she had.

I’m going to be using weaving terms to explain this, so if you’re new to weaving, don’t be intimidated by these terms. You can find a definition of the general terms here. Also if you’re new to this, the terms seem very foreign, but they are just a description and aren’t very complicated once you get the hang of it.

Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving LoomWarping the frame

step 1| I always start my warping with a slip knot, which I shared how to do that in a video here. On both the frame loom (see a DIY for this here) and looms similar to the Wildcraft Studios loom, you tie the slip knot aligned to either your washi tape gap, like I have, or the notched gap (I also had a smart reader who just marked their warp areas with a marker, so if that is what you’re working with align to your marks).

Shop Cotton Warp Thread

step 2| Pull your warp thread across your loom to the corresponding warp mark (washi tape gap, notch, mark, etc) and bring your warp thread over the top face of the frame then down around the back.

step 3| Pull your warp thread across your loom again. Again bringing the warp thread over the top face of the frame at your warp mark and then down around the back. So basically you are always crossing over the front face of the loom and around to the back making a figure 8 across the frame with your warp threads.  See below for a side picture of the warp threads forming a figure 8 on the frame.Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving Loom

step 4| Continue with this pattern until you have warped the loom to the amount you want and then tie off your warp in a slip knot when done.

Weaving on a frame and using a shed stick

A shed stick is not necessary, but it does speed things up. When I use a shed stick, I just use a metal ruler I have to create the shed (or gap in my warp). I have found that I only like to use the shed stick if I am weaving numerous rows of plain weave, but if I’m creating shapes or changing colors, I find the shed stick is more bothersome to me. However, try it out and find out what you’re most comfortable with.  If you want to read more details on a shed stick, I posted about that here.

Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving LoomMy main tip to using a shed stick on a frame loom is take advantage of the fact that you have a shed already created at the top of your frame where the warp loops from the front to around the back of the loom. Pass your shed stick through this gap and pull it down to the bottom. See how it moves the warp crossing from the middle of the frame down to where you will weave? Now if you twist your shed stick from horizontal to vertical, you force open the shed.

Weaving steps

I almost always weave upside down, which means I weave the top of my weave first, you do not have to do it this way also, but this is how I will explain it.

Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving Loomstep 1| I have set up my shed stick as described above. Now I’m going to pass my weft thread through the shed at the bottom of my frame loom. This is the equivalent to me making a plain weave, and it’s as simple as passing the thread through a gap since the warp threads are already separated.

step 2| On my return pass, I’m going to put my shed stick vertical and now I have a shed created with the opposite warp threads. Again I will pass my weft thread through the gap and quickly create a row of plain weave.

step 3| I now lay my shed stick horizontal and push it higher up my warp threads so it is not in my way. With this pass I will need to use my tapestry needle and work it over and under the warps opposite of the last pass. As you may have figured out, I can only use my shed stick for one direction, however it still saves me time for 50% of my weaving passes. It is possible to weave the shed stick through the opposite warps before each pass and then create a shed, but for me I find this takes longer then just leaving the shed stick woven through once and hand weaving in the opposite direction. But as always do whatever you’re most comfortable with.

step 4| Push the woven rows down (making them more aligned then I did in my picture example) and continue in this pattern of twist the shed stick vertical, pass weft thread through. Then lay the shed stick flat and weave the weft through the opposite warp threads, etc. Do this until you have woven all the rows you wanted.

Detailed How To Warp a Frame Loom | The Weaving LoomAbove is a side view of a weave I created on my frame loom. As you can see, there is the shed at the top of the weave where the warp threads come off the frame, but the weave is flat and the warp threads at the bottom of the weave are also flat. This is because as you weave, you are pulling the warp threads together so that they align and lay flat. That was also a question the reader had, she wasn’t sure if you just use the top warp threads to weave. And that is a great question, because it isn’t obvious that you should use all the threads and that they will nicely pull together as you go. This is compared to notched and peg looms, where the warp threads are laying flat right when you warp them.

I hope this clears up any questions others of you might have had that are similar. And now you can get to the best part, creating!!

I’m curious, what type of loom do you normally weave on? Are you using a loom that needs to be warped like this frame example? Or do you use a loom with notches or pegs?

Happy Weaving!


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  • elijah
    November 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Hi Kate
    My name is Elijah i’m 13 and i want to get a weaving loom. But I can’t find one. Any tips on where to get one?

  • elijah
    November 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    this helps a lot thank you

  • Mary
    January 14, 2016 at 5:35 am

    What about tension of the warp? I warped my loom pretty tight, and I’m wondering if I should redo it a bit looser before I actually start weaving. I made a frame loom with grooves on the top and bottom ends so my warps all lay on the top if the frame, rather than making figure eights. When I put my shed stick in the warp is so taut that it stays wherever I put it when the frame is vertical, and it’s relatively difficult to open the warps with it.

    Thanks for any clarification.


    • Kate
      January 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Hi Mary, You bring up a good point. I like to think of the warp threads on a loom similar to guitar strings, where you want them tight, but able to move. If you just warped your loom, you want it to have a tight and even tension across the strings. Visually looking at it you won’t see any dips in the threads. But you should also be able to press on the threads with your hand and get some movement and bounce. If you can’t open the warps with your shed stick then your tension is probably too tight, like you said. When I warp my loom I guide the threads around with my hand, but I’m not actively pulling, if that makes sense. I then will do that visual check and bounce check before I tie off my warp thread (while I hold the end in my hand still). If it seems too tight or too loose, then I will run my hand along the warp threads in their notches, either slightly pulling the threads tighter or working in a bit of slack to loosen the threads. Once I’m happy with the tension, I’ll tie it off. I hope this helps!

  • Kaylee
    February 2, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Hey Kate! I’m a bit confused by you weaving below and then above the X of the warp – is this necessary? does this lock something in? The tutorial I used said that you put a stick in (where you’ve used a ruler) and then you basically push that X up to the top and (as far as I know) ignore it. Should I be doing what you do?

    • Kate
      February 2, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Kaylee, hopefully I can explain this correctly (it’s hard to put into words and much easier to show in person). What you read about putting a stick in and pushing the X to the top is basically the same thing I’m doing by weaving below and above the X of the warp. Both are flattening the warp threads out. Neither way is more correct or more incorrect, so you don’t need to change the style in which you’re weaving. In this example, I’m showing how I’m using the X to my benefit to create a shed that I can quickly and easily pass my weft through (in one direction), but that is only helpful if you’re weaving a plain weave the whole way across your warp threads. If you’re making shapes and such then I don’t think it’s as helpful (at least not in my experience). I hope this helps explain it. Let me know if you have more questions 🙂

  • bea
    October 9, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I’m just starting weaving and was wondering if it is necessary to have an even or off number of warp threads…?

    • Kate
      October 9, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      I guess it depends on if you’re trying to weave a pattern that would repeat or if you’re going to make something like a triangle that you want in the exact center of your weave. Otherwise I’d say it doesn’t matter if the warp threads are odd or even 🙂

  • bea
    October 9, 2016 at 7:32 am

    **** or oDD ****

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    October 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    […] Warping a Frame Loom […]

  • Helen
    November 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Kate, thank you for your easy to follow instructions. I keep returning to weaving ( only ever made two projects 😀), and need to run through the basics before starting.
    Yours is the most useful, both in pictures and written instructions. Bless you, you have made my day.

    • Kate
      November 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Thank you so much, that makes my day 🙂

  • Mikaela
    December 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Hello Kate, thank you for this blog! I recently upgraded from a handmade loom with 1/4 inch spaces between the nails to a notched loom with 1/2 inch spaces between each notch. Is there any way to warp this new loom to have 1/4 inch between each warp? I find that that the 1/2 inch is just too loose for my liking.

  • Kristen
    February 5, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I got a picture frame at the thrift store yesterday to try this out, but I’m wondering what it looks like when you cut it off the loom? Do you have any tips for making it look professional and finished? I have a tiny loom where I keep the loops at the top to hang off a stick but obviously in this case those have to be cut.