Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tutorial: Making card weaving tablets out of restaurant coasters

I picked up a new-to-me standing inkle loom today! I was the lucky bidder in a benefit action. I've been wanting one of these for awhile now, so I can make more than a yard or two of trim at a time. This one should make around 6 yards at a go, which means I will get more weaving time per warping session. This sounds much more efficient to me.

I'll show you the loom in a later post. I'm having camera glitches right now.

However, I did manage to get these shots earlier this evening. I've found that I prefer tablet weaving to inkle weaving. It is a sturdier fabric, and I get a more even selvage edge. I know part of that is practice, but for a first try on the new loom I wanted to go with my strengths. So I went to grab my cards for tablet weaving...and they weren't in the drawer. They weren't in the other drawer either. Or the bench. Or...Hrmpf. So I decided to improvise. I had a stack of coasters from a Chili's restaurant that were the same size and weight as the professional pack of weaving cards that I had. It was high time to turn them into working weaving tools. Here's what I did:

restaurant coasters (These are 3 1/2" square.) (Sweet talk your waiter for a stack.)
3x5 card
hole punch

First, I traced the corner of the coaster onto a 3x5 card. Anything sturdy enough to keep its shape will do. Paper is a bit flimsy.

The coaster had a rounded corner, so I extended the lines out to give me a good sharp right angle.

Then I cut a bit of the 3x5 card off, and held it up to the corner of the coaster. I eyeballed about how far down and in I wanted my holes to be, and marked that on the card. If you want to be more precise, I think it was about 1/2".

Back to my coaster tracing. Mark that distance down each side, starting from that right angle point.

Using the 3x5 card bottom corner as a straight edge and t-square, extend those lines down at right angles so they cross.

That is your cross hairs. Punch a hole on the cross hairs.

Cut out the 3x5 card along the tracing lines, so it mirrors the shape of the coaster. Match that up to a corner of the coaster.

Using the 3x5 card as your template, punch a hole in the coaster.

Do it again, punching holes in all 4 corners. Now you have one card weaving tablet.

However, you're going to need more than one. I like to have at least 50 on hand. Keep on punching. Yes, your hand might get tired after awhile. (I have heard that it is possible to stack up your pile of cards on a jig, and do this part with a drill press.)

Ok, once you have as many cards as you want, line them all up the same way. Pick a corner to be 'A'. Use a Sharpie (or similar), and mark A B C D clockwise around the corners.

Line up the cards. Using a marker, color one of the edges.

Scooch your chair back, and take a moment to admire the dogs who are sleeping at your feet. (Ok, I admit. That isn't a required step. But I did say that this is what I did, right?)

I like to color each side differently. This helps give me a clue where I am in a pattern repeat when I get going on the weaving.

If you were careful enough with placing your holes, they should all line up perfectly.

Ok, I've got my cards. Now, to figure out yarn and patterns! But that is a job for another day.

(Oh, the pack of cards I couldn't find? I posted about it on FaceBook, and a friend reminded me that she had borrowed them. Oh yeah. I remember that now.)


  1. wow thats a lot of hole punching! im not surprised you want to work on the yarns another day. but it's a great guide! im new to this so im intrigued to know what you'll do when weaving the yarns :) i look forward to your next post!

  2. Moonangelnay, I just did another entry, so you could see the loom warped and the cards in action. :)

    Thanks, bspinner!

  3. i was new into this hobby that invoLves yarns and hooks caLLed crochet :) but as soon as ive Learned i got the skiLL to do crochet i wanted to Learn new things , knitting and weaving and i get to see this tabLet weaving in an instagram account and i was totaLLy having a hard time because i can't seem to find a seLLer of tabLets for weaving here in my country (PhiLippines) and i don't wanna go in divisoria to find goods because if i didn't find a seLLer it wouLd be a waste of time so here iam reading your tutoriaL on how to make this tabLets :) iam so gLad there's peopLe out there that teaches and it is easy to understand .. thank you a Lot ! and oh , your dogs are LoveLies ! :)
    ive aLso got 3 dogs and they're my Life though they aren't speciaL breed .. i Love them .. again thank you for this ! ��

  4. Great tutorial! Just started tablet weaving and love it...along with all my other crafts.

  5. There are so many neat things to learn! I can't stick with just one either. :)