As I mentioned yesterday, I came up with an alternative to using a styrofoam tray as a loom frame. Using cereal-box cardboard has a few drawbacks, but I think the pros (readily available; easy to cut; clean and environmentally-friendly) outweigh the cons (a tendency to buckle). Here's how to make the loom, and ultimately, the paper-weft heart you see here. It would make a sweet and special Valentine for a parent, grandparent, or teacher.
First, use a square to draw a rectangle on a cereal (or similar) box. Cut it out with pinking shears. Draw a rectangle in the center of the cardboard shape — I used the width of a ruler as a guide — and cut it out with a craft knife.
Make a slightly smaller rectangular frame by tracing the first one and then cutting inside of the traced lines. Glue the smaller frame to the larger one, to add strength. Tape the end of a ball of string (I used size 10 crochet yarn, which is cheap and strong) to one corner of the back of the frame.
Wind the string around the frame as slackly as you can; if you pull the string too tight, the frame will bow. This string is now the warp of the loom.
Here's where I attempted to weave a heart with some wooly yarn I have. It came out just o.k., and was a frustrating experience. Not really worth the fiddly, unfun work it took to make it. Still, I took a photo for you. This might have been easier, and come out better, if the loom was bigger and the warp was tighter.
I un-wove the heart and tried another tack: paper. I keep happening upon crazy sales at the craft store for patterned scrapbooking paper, so I had a few pieces that were heart-worthy.
Cut paper into quarter-inch wide strips. Weave them in, one by one, trimming the edges with scissors after each one is in place.
OR: Cut all of your strips before you start weaving, and then weave them in. Either way works!
Once your heart strips are in place, flip over the loom and use a skinny brush to dab Mod Podge onto the string-crossed strips. The Mod Podge will adhere the strings to the paper so they don't shift and fall out of the loom.
Happy starting-to-think-about-Valentine's Day!
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.