Sunday, March 20, 2016

A small galvanized pipe loom--with nods to Archie Brennan and Sarah Swett

It's been a LONG time since I've posted to Tapestry Share!  I'll try to update in a more timely way in the future.

As Spring begins here in north Georgia, USA, I want share a version of a pipe loom that I've recently made using 1/4" diameter galvanized pipe.  The design is based on the Archie Brennan standing pipe looms as seen in diagrams he graciously posts at his website and that are also at the American Tapestry Alliance website in the Educational Articles.  I also took inspiration from Sarah Swett's blog in which she described many pipe loom options.

This loom is small and is sitting beside my computer right now on a small folding table.

 It's 6" wide and 24" tall +/-.  Here's the loom:

Here's the basic parts list for both a frame without the extensions that I've called leash hanger, and the option of adding the extensions.  The only other things needed that I didn't put in this list are a couple of dowels--one to hold the open shed and the other to extend from side to side across the leash hangers.  Of course, warp and weft!


Small Galvanized Pipe Loom

Parts needed:

6 – ¼” diameter threaded pipe (called nipple), 6” long each

4 – ¼” diameter threaded nipple, 4” long each

2 – ¼” diameter threaded nipple, 1” long each

4 – Elbows to fit the ¼” threaded pipes

4 – Tees to fit the ¼” threaded pipes

2 – Caps for the ¼” threaded pipes

2 – Threaded rods, 12” x ¼” diameter

4 – Wingnuts to fit the threaded rod

Optional parts—to make leash hanger:

2 – ¼” Tees for the top of the loom

2 – ¼” Street Elbows to fit the ¼” Tees

2 – ¼” threaded nipple, 5” long each (leash hanger)

2 – Caps for the ¼” leash hanger
The frame of the loom is built with the 6 pieces of 6” long nipple. 

The top has two Elbows joining three of the 6” pieces into a U-shape. 
Optional—use two Tees here instead, for the 5” leash hanger extension.  Screw the Street Elbows to the top Tees, then the 5” nipple to extend forward.  Put the caps on the leash hanger.

The bottom has two Tees joining the three remaining 6” pieces into another U-shape.

The two 1” long nipples screw into the bottom Tees.

Screw two more Tees on the other end of the 1” pieces.

Put the 4” nipple at either end of the bottom Tees, placing an Elbow on one end and a cap on the other end. 

Oh... by the way, the tapestry from the last post ... that I was hemming?  Here it is finished.  It's now living in a new home, as a gift from a husband to a wife.  I think they're enjoying it.


  1. That loom is so cute! Thanks for the instructions and shopping list. I've been thinking about making a pipe loom for awhile now, and this may be the one that finally sends me to the hardware store. I was wondering what made you choose galvanized pipe over copper. Weight, cost or something else?

  2. It is a cute loom--yet very functional! I like the size. The weight is actually heavier than a comparable sized copper pipe one would be. It probably cost a bit more, too. The main reason for choosing the galvanized pipe was the threaded ends. Being able to screw on the Tees and Elbows rather easily was a plus. I can also disassemble quickly and rearrange sizes if I want to. In fact, the galvanized pipe loom you saw at the Moon Gallery is the same design, just with 1/2" pipe and longer pieces. That particular loom began its life as a short one, not much bigger than what this 1/4" pipe one is... but I added wider and longer parts to make it taller.

  3. Clever! I think the loom that Sarah Swett had sent along with the exhibit at Lone Star College a few years ago was made of PVC pipe. So many interesting possibilites.

  4. I love the idea of being able to screw those parts together! I might have to try this, thanks Tommye.
    The landscape tapestry turned out very nice. Is that the one you were demonstrating at the show during the Joan Baxter workshop?

    1. Yes, Janette... it's the one I had in the black pipe loom as demo during the TWS exhibit at UNG! Good eye!

  5. I love this loom Tommye! no soddering! Plus I really like the leashes ( sp?) . As you said it's portable. This is a definite add on to my tapestry collection ! Thank you. The tapestry is lovely too!

  6. I am inspired by your loom. Can it be made of PVC pipe, as the galvanized material must be quite heavy? Also, and very important, how do you keep the warp threads uniformly separated. I loom 8/0 seed beads of my own designs and need to keep the warps as close to 2 mm apart as possible. So far, I've made two looms, one out of a cardboard box supported by strips of wood, the other far more substantial of compressed wood and maple dowels. My designs can get pretty large. Thank you for your response. I am currently energized to build a third loom.

  7. Thanks for the comment. About PVC, it can be used but be aware it can bow at the horizontals, top and bottom, with warp tension more readily than metal pipe. The loom can be made with copper pipe as well as the galvanized. It can also be made with black plumbing pipe. The looms are based on Archie Brennan's original designs of pipe looms that can be found at his website. Lots of variations and adaptations of Archie's looms that he began to share about around 30+ years ago have now been made all over the world.

    As far as keeping the threads uniform, that is easy to do with practice. About using the seed beads, I've also made a copper pipe beading loom by using the basic frame and making little feet for the loom at the four corners with Tees instead of elbows to make the side joins. Maybe I'll post a photo of that sometime when I have time.

    Loom building can become addictive!