DIY Woven Wall Hanging Tapestry
I have been SO excited to share this DIY with you! After actively following Apartment Therapy and seeing all of these cute wall hangings in the featured apartment tours, I knew I HAD to have one. The weaving itself took a lot longer than expected - several hours over the course of several weekends - but it was totally worth it! As much as I wanted to finish, I started to feel like the process was fairly meditative. I could weave while watching TV, listening to podcasts, or even sitting outside in the sun.
This project isn't a short one - my tapestry took probably 12+ hours, spread over several weekends. If you do a smaller one, or use bigger yarn, it will definitely be less than this, but just keep in mind that this project is more the speed of knitting. That being said, let's dive right in!
Cost of materials: $25 for all the wool yarn (but I have TONS left over) and old frame
Time: 2-10 hours, depending on size of tapestry and yarn thickness
Things you will need:
- Yarn - different colors, sizes, and types
- Cotton twine or string
- (Optional) wool roving
- Bobby pin or tapestry needle
- Open back frame, or a loom if you want to invest in one
- Thin wooden dowel at least the width of your frame
- Wooden or metal stick, dowel, or rod (I used a stick I found on a backpacking trip in Point Reyes!)
Note on yarn choice: Like knitting and crocheting, the thicker the yarn, the faster your weaving will go!
I know, this is a very long tutorial, but I promise it's really easy once you get the hang of it!
The basic steps of this DIY project are to 1) assemble the loom, 2) start weaving, and 3) finishing the ends.
I'll show you how to do 4 different things for your weaving: the basic stitch, the braid stitch, tassels, and wool roving.
Before we start, let's get some vocabulary straight. The warp is the stationary vertical (lengthwise) strings on your loom or frame, that you will weave your yarn under and over. The weft is the yarn you will weave horizontally. Got it? Great!
1. Assemble the loom
a. First, add looms to your frame. Tie the end of your cotton twine or string into a double knot on one corner of your frame. Then, take your string under the opposite end of the frame, loop it around to the front, and then back to the side you started.
Keep wrapping your string under and over each side of your frame, creating figure eights as you go. The strings should be about 1/4" to 1/2" apart. Keep going until you've created enough warps to make up your desired width - likely somewhere between 10 and 30 warps. You will want to have an even number of warps.
b. Next, add your wooden dowel to increase tension. Slide the wooden dowel through the strings, in between the top and bottom strings created by your figure eights. Push the dowel towards where the string crosses, to the top of the frame. You'll notice the tension of the strings increase immediately! The dowel helps separate the strings so that it is easier to weave later on.
2a. The Basic Stitch
The basic stitch really is basic - all you do is take your yarn under and over the warps.
a. Cut about 20 ft of yarn, and string your yarn through your tapestry needle or bobby pin. I didn't have a tapestry needle, and a bobby pin worked just fine for me! If you know you're going to do a shorter section, you could probably cut less yarn if you want. You also don't have to worry about running out of yarn either, as you can always pick up where you left off.
b. Take your yarn under every other warp, going under 1st warp, over the 2nd, under the 3rd, over the 4th, and so forth. Pull the yarn all the way through, leaving about 3-5 inches of tail (which you'll finish at the end). While pulling, pull slightly down to create an arc.
c. With your yarn all the way through, take your fork and press your yarn down, starting from the center of your arc and then on the left and right sides. This makes sure the weft is flat and has even tension throughout your tapestry. You should do this after every weft you weave.
d. Repeat steps b and c, this time moving in the other direction and switching which warps you're going under. So, this time you'll go over the 1st warp, under the 2nd, and so forth. You'll notice that it's easier in one direction, because in one direction, the wooden dowel has separated the strings in the way you want to weave.
This is your basic stitch, and you can do a lot with just this one stitch!
- You can create shapes by not weaving through the entire frame, but making shorter and shorter wefts
- You can also switch yarns by just cutting your yarn with 3-5 inches of tail, and picking up where you left with a different yarn, starting with 3-5 inches tail
2b. The Braid Stitch
This stitch will create a fishtail-like braid.
a. With yarn threaded onto your bobby pin, wrap your yarn around each warp from the right side. Start by wrapping the yarn on your first warp, pulling through until you have left a 3-5 inch tail. Continue to wrap the yarn around the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th warps, pulling after each time.
b. At the end of your weft (either at the end of your frame or at the end of the section you're weaving), mirror what you just did by wrapping around each warp from the left side.
Pretty, right? Pro tip: It looks much more like a braid with thicker and lighter-colored yarns
2c. Wool Roving
Wool roving is like raw wool - not yet spun into more condensed string or yarn. I loved using wool roving, because it covered so much area in so little time!
a. You can add the wool roving using the basic stitch (above, 2a). You can leave it flat, such that the warps show through.
b. Alternatively, you can create loop bubbles by pulling on the "over" sections of your basic stitch weft. Don't pull tight as you're moving the roving under and over warps. Instead, hold the over warps with your free hand as you move the roving under the next warp to keep the looser tension, and use your bobby pin to create loop bubbles as you go. You can also pull apart bubbles when you're done, creating 2 loop bubbles out of 1.
To "cut" your roving, just take a hard pull on both sides and it should separate naturally - remember to always leave 3-5 inches of slack for a tail!
Tassels are SO fun! I love tassels at the bottom of weavings, and used throughout the tapestry to add texture!
a. First, cut 3-5 equal length strands of yarn.
b. Grouping the strands of yarn, loop the strands under a pair of adjacent warps (one top and one bottom warp)
c. Putting your finger under the yarn in the middle of the two warps, pulling upwards to create a loop.
d. Take the two ends and pull through the loop. Pull tight, and slide the tassel down, using your fork to ensure even tension.
After hours of weaving, you're on your final stretch! Remove the wooden dowel and flip your frame over to see the back, which looks a little bit more disheveled than your front. :D
a.. Tie any adjacent loose strands into a double knot, such as those that exist when you switched colors within a single horizontal weft.
b. Tuck in all loose ends by pulling them through multiple wefts. Stringing your tail ends through your bobby pin or needle, push your bobby pin/needle under multiple wefts to secure the ends.
c. Tuck loose ends of wool roving into the warps, using your hands
d. Working on one side at at time, cut the warps off of the frame, tie into a knot, and tuck into wefts. Take your scissors and carefully cut the warp loops off the frame. Tie each pair of strings into a double knot, and then tuck these ends into a series of wefts.
e. Take yarn and create a continuous series of loops to hang the weaving on your wooden stick. String a piece of yarn (about 3-4 times the width of your tapestry) through your bobby pin/needle. Thread the yarn through the first top warp, and tie a double knot around your wooden stick. Then, continue to thread through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and other warps, each time looping around the wooden stick and pulling evenly. Continue until you reach the end, tie into a knot, and cut off any excess.
f. (Optional) Add a string to your wooden stick to hang. Cut a piece of yarn or cotton twine about 15-24 inches long. Tie a slip knot on each end of string, and put each end of your tapestry's wooden stick through one loop. (I chose to hang my tapestry by resting it on two (hidden) nails instead of doing this.)
g, Finally, trim your tassels if needed, so that they form a straight line, whether it's perfectly horizontal or diagonal.
You're FINALLY done! Keep in mind that I've only gone over a few basics - I'm definitely going to continue to experiment and try new things, and you should too!
I think this tapestry might be in competition with my belt shelf for favorite DIY this year!