Our Little Book Company / Wise Craft: Hand-Loomed Place Mats


Our Little Book Company‘s latest publication Wise Craft is full of beautiful, dynamic crafts, perfect for any time of year.  Check out Blair Stocker’s how-to for simple, rustic hand-loomed place mats!  Wise Craft is available at your local bookstore and at many online retailers including:  Barnes & NoblePowell’sAmazon and Elliot Bay Book Company.

There is something really satisfying about taking simple strips of fabric from a pair of frayed and tattered denim jeans and creating a useful, beautiful, unique piece of cloth like these place mats, each measuring about 18 x 14 inches. Any fabric that can be hand washed and cut into strips can be used.  A set of these makes a special and unique gift or yourself.  Gather your materials, queue up your favorite movie or audio book, and start weaving.



A scrap piece of wood to create your loom, at least 20 x 16 inches (or you can repurpose an empty picture frame)

Old jeans or thick scrap fabric, (three pairs of kid’s jeans will give you plenty of strips for a set of four place mats)

About 140 standard-size nails with small heads

1 ball of jute, kitchen twine, or a similarly strong string

Fork (optional)

Crochet hook



Yardstick or long ruler Pencil Hammer All-purpose scissors

Wide tape, for covering the rough edges of the loom (optional)



1. Create the loom.

On your wooden board or frame, measure out a 191/2 x 151/2-inch rectangle and mark with pencil. A standard place mat size is 18 x 14 inches; these are a little larger, but you decide what works best for you. Make marks in increments of 1/2 inch on all four sides of the rectangle. Hammer a nail onto each of these marks. (I found the edges of my board a little rough, and taped the sides with wide tape.) Position the board for weaving so that it is wider from side to side.

2.  Set up your loom.

Using the jute, tie a knot around the first nail on the bottom left corner. Now bring the string up to the top left horizontal nail, loop around, go back down and loop around the next bottom nail, then back up to the next nail on the top row, and so on, until you have looped the string around each nail across the top and bottom of the rectangle. Knot off the string on the bottom right nail and trim away the excess. (This step does not have to be done super tightly; leave yourself room to weave.)

3.  Prepare your fabric strips.

Cut away any bulky areas of the jeans (pockets, hems, etc). You will use primarily the fabric from the legs of the jeans. Cut the leg panels into roughly 1/2-inch strips. This does not have to be precise; in fact, varying the width can look more interesting.

Start the movie, if you haven’t already.


Wise Craft written by Blair Stocker

About the photographer: EJ Armstrong is the chief art and cookie addict at the Black Building. She has thirty years of experience in the visual world, making her the lead nagger, design junky and advice columnist. You can find her on Instagram @avisualist or see more of her photography here.


Posted By: EJ
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