Nothing bumps up the beauty of a room like a little texture. These stunning handwoven ideas have something extra-lovely going for them, too: You can pull them off without a loom, or a lot of time. Master our methods, and work your way—over, under, and over again—to new levels of DIY style.
Play with color. Experiment with texture. Let your personal style be your guide. This is how you master the art of weaving.
This technique is easy to master, and doesn't involve a lot—if any—sewing. In fact, you've likely done this type of weaving before. Think back to grade school: Remember weaving strips of construction paper into colorful crafts? The over-and-under method is the same, but it is done with fabric strips instead. Just rip leather binding or cotton twill tape into strips, and then weave them into a grid.
Change up the colors and patterns—herringbone, checkerboard, or an inventive combination of the two—and you have a handwoven project that's all your own. These ideas work in every room of your home: A bed centered with a bright woven headboard invites you to crawl in; choose a main color that complements the bedding you already have, and work in stripes in an accent color. A pair of stools offer a welcome seat at the entryway. Place mats for the dining table and hampers for the laundry room can both be customized. And a tote bag can be woven to any size, perfect for everything you need to carry with you on the go.
Coming up with your own color combinations and patterns is the best part. Browse the trimmings section of a fabric store, where the hues and textures are sure to inspire. Pick up one fabric, or two or three. Then, as far as shopping goes you're done. Sure, you need a few crafts supplies, but you don't need crafting expertise. You'll just be weaving straight lines—and a season's worth of comfort.
Wake up your bedroom with a head-turning headboard. To make this one, fill in a plain frame (store-bought or built from artists' stretcher bars) with a basic yet bold tabby weave. Select two colors of sturdy cotton straps for the warp (the set of materials, or rows, that remain fixed in place) and one for the weft (the set you maneuver over and under). Loop the warp straps over the headboard frame vertically at even intervals—the farther apart, the more you'll see of the horizontal weft straps—and stitch the ends together in back. Lace the weft straps through, wrap the loose ends around the sides of the frame, and secure in back with glue. The result is a design lover's dream come true.
Shaker stools look sharp and modern when you change up the colors and patterns. This checker board bench and herringbone foot rest—or kid's seat—come together from easy‑to‑use ShakerWorkshop kits ($98 each, shakerworkshops.com). Choose the cotton tape in contrasting neutrals like these, or go subtler with tonal colors, and get webbing.
The 3-D tumbling-block effect on these beauties goes off the grid: It calls for three materials instead of two, but that doesn't mean it's more difficult. Pin equal-length strips of a washable fabric, like woven-cotton twill tape, side-by-side vertically onto foam core. Using a simple-to-make DIY cardboard needle, weave the second set through them at a downward diagonal angle, starting from the right-hand side and going under two strips and over one. Then, working from the left-hand side, weave the third set under three strips and over two. When your rectangle is complete, tuck the loose ends under and stitch it down onto felt or canvas, then sew on more twill tape to finish the edges.
To tailor your whole laundry experience, customize store-bought baskets. Choose a wire one with wide openings, then intertwine strips of a sturdy, color fast material—like Shaker tape, woven-cotton straps, or felt—and secure the ends with a stitch. You can work your material in two directions, or simply one. Either way, you've just brightened your loads.
Our totes give new meaning to the phrasebook bag, thanks to a clever construction trick. Grab a hardcover volume the size of the bag you want to make, and wrap strips of your warp material around it vertically, tucking the ends inside the covers on top; leave two long, for handles. (We used heavy-duty cotton and leather, but any sturdy fabric works.) Weave weft strips horizontally around the book, then tack the ends together with stitches or a grommet. Slip the book out, stitch down the warp strips, and sew or glue the ends of the handles together. The novelty will never wear off.