A potholder loom is a great tool to introduce you to the art of weaving. This versatile tool is so friendly for beginners, and making potholders using a loom is a fun craft project you can work on even with young kids.
The best thing about making potholders using a loom is that you can use recycled materials from old T-shirts or scrap fabric from other craft projects. The technique is super easy, and you can incorporate as many colors as you’d like to create playful patterns that will spice up your kitchen.
This project is super friendly for children as young as six years old, and it’s a fun and productive way to spend an afternoon while making colorful pot holders that will be useful in your home for years to come.
But how do you finish a potholder loom? The best way to finish off a potholder loom is to use a weaving or crochet hook to bind off each loop on the loom pegs, starting at one corner and moving around. You will have to fasten off at the end to secure the potholder.
The process is quite simple, even if you have never crocheted before, but we will walk you through it step by step. In this article, we’ll also explain how to use a potholder loom from start to finish, including how to make your own T-shirt rag “yarn”.
So keep reading to understand how to finish off this fun craft – and more!
How Do You Finish a Potholder Loom?
Finishing a potholder loom is quite simple, but it can seem daunting to a beginner.
After you have finished your potholder (or anything else you desire), use a weaving or even a crochet hook to bind off. We have a bunch of loops on our potholder loom and this binding off process is how we’ll secure them.
Starting from the peg on the bottom right, insert your hook into the lowest loop and slip it off the peg (keeping it on your hook). Now insert the hook in the loop on the next peg above (the second lowest peg on the right). Pull it through the first loop.
You have now bound off one loop – and you should have one loop left on the hook.
From here you will repeat the binding process in the same way, making your way up and and around the loom. Once you have reached the very last loop, pull it through that first loop bound off (back at the bottom right again). This will keep the whole thing more secure.
Now you can knot it off – or cut your yarn if you are using extra for this process and pull it through the loop until it creates a sort of knot.
You can use a darning needle or your crochet hook to “weave in” the end of the string, hiding it among the threads.
Bonus Option – Make a Loop
If you have a shower curtain ring handy, you can modify your binding off process a little to keep a little loop for hanging your potholder!
Complete the process as detailed above, but insert your curtain ring in the last loop you have, so that the loop can’t get any smaller.
If you don’t have a curtain ring, you can also use a bit of permanent fabric glue to seal the knot where you fasten off the last loop so that the potholder will stay intact when washing.
You can also crochet a loop at the end, if you know how to make a chain.
To do this, hold off on cutting and fastening off. When you’ve pulled through your last (and first) loop, simply make a short chain (anywhere from 5 to 10 stitches depending on how thick your yarn or T-shirt loops are). Then attach the chain to the base of the bound off loop with a single crochet. Fasten off as normal.
How to Use a Potholder Loom – Start to Finish
Before we get on to the fun stuff, let’s make sure you have the stuff you need – especially if you’re reading ahead and hoping to learn how to finish off your loom before you’ve even started!
What You Need
Here are all the materials you’ll need on hand to get started:
- A potholder loom: You should note that a 9×9” loom will give you a 7×7” potholder. You can use a different sized loom, but make sure to use the appropriately sized loops as well. These looms usually have 18 to 20 pegs on each side.
- About 40 cotton loops that are approximately 7″ in length: If you are making a potholder that will need to handle heat well, make sure that the materials you are using are 100% cotton, since synthetic materials can melt when in contact with high heat.
We will discuss how to make these loops in another section below if you’re interested in making your own.
- A crochet needle size 6 mm, or the size that will work with your loop: The crochet needle will be used to bind off your work. If you are using thick rag “yarn” made from old T-shirts, you may want a slightly larger size.
- A weaving hook (optional but highly recommended): If you don’t have a weaving hook, you can use a crochet hook or even your fingers. However, a weaving hook will be more convenient since its defined rounded hook will make it easier to pull the loops and less likely to snag on your work while weaving.
- Optional: curtain rings to hang up the potholders.
A Note About Patterns
With weaving, it’s so easy to create different patterns while you work to create colorful potholders. To create patterns, you only need to incorporate different colored loops and are allowed to be as creative as you’d like while weaving.
The patterns are created when you place different colored loops horizontally and vertically. With a trained eye, you can easily identify how to create different patterns on any potholder created with a loom.
Alternatively, there are so many free colorful patterns that you can find online to help you get started.
For this beginner pattern, I will make a checkered pattern using one color for the vertical loops and another color for the horizontal loops. This pattern will allow you to easily identify the strands while weaving and make it easier to identify any mistakes.
Making a Potholder on a Potholder Loom – Step by Step
Once you have your materials, including your loops (store-bought or hand-made), we’re ready to begin.
Step 1: Prepare (“Warp”) the Loom
With color 1, place the loops vertically on the loom.
Each loop will be stretched out across the loom and held in place with two corresponding pegs on opposite sides of the loom.
Make sure that the loops are not twisted or crossed. (This is the equivalent of warping a regular loom.)
Step 2: Weave Row 1
With color 2, begin weaving the loops horizontally.
Starting from the right side, insert a weaving hook horizontally across the vertical loops, going under loop 1, over loop 2, repeating under and over each loop across until you reach the end of your row.
From the left side, place a loop (color 2) on the lowest peg. Place the other end of the same loop on the weaving hook you just inserted and pull it through to the right side, make sure the loop is not twisted, then place it tightly on the lowest peg on the right side – directly across the row.
Push the row you just inserted down to the bottom of the loom.
Step 3: Weave Row 2 (Alternate Pattern)
Starting from the right side, insert the weaving hook horizontally across the vertical loops, going over loop 1, under loop 2 and repeating over and under until the end of the row.
Note that the over/under pattern should alternate for every row to form the weave. So if you just looped over and under on this row, you will have to reverse and loop under and over in the next.
From the left side, place a loop (color 2) on the second-lowest peg, place the other end of the same loop on the weaving hook you just inserted, and pull it through to the right side, make sure the loop is not twisted, then place it tightly on the second-lowest peg on the right side.
Push the row you just inserted down next to the last row, make sure that there is no gap between the two rows so that the pattern is nice and tight.
Step 4: Repeat
Repeat steps 2 and 3, alternating the under/over pattern between each row until you reach the last peg on the left and right sides.
Step 5: Bind Off
Bind off the potholder using the crochet hook. Start from the bottom peg of the right side, insert the crochet hook on the lowest loop and take it out of the peg.
Insert the crochet hook on the loop next to it (the second-lowest peg on the right side) and pull it through the first loop. You have now bound off one loop.
Repeat binding off until you reach the very last loop. Pull the last loop through the first loop you bound off and fasten off tightly. OR, you can skip to the next step to make a handy loop you can use to hang your potholder.
Step 6 (Optional): Make a Loop
If you have a curtain ring, insert it through the last loop you have. This step will prevent the loop from becoming undone and it will be useful to hang up the potholders in your kitchen.
If you don’t have a curtain ring, you can use a bit of fabric glue to seal the knot where you fasten off the last loop. This way, the potholder will not unravel in the wash.
Making Loops for Potholder Looms From Cotton T-Shirts
If you don’t want to purchase cotton loops from a store, you can also recycle old T-shirts to make loops for your potholder. This is a great option because it saves money and it’s good for the environment.
All you need are a few old T-shirts.
Make sure that your T-shirts are 100% cotton, that they have some stretch to them, and that they won’t melt when working with heat (cotton is generally good for this, which is why we recommend 100% cotton shirts).
Here’s how to make your own potholder loom loops:
- Cut 40 rectangle strips sized; approximately 6 inches long and 1 inch wide. The loop needs to be able to stretch out enough to fit the loom you are using, so if you are using a different sized loom, make sure to cut the size to longer or shorter to match.
- Trim to round off the edges of the rectangles.
- Cut a slit in the middle of each strip. Do this by folding the strip in half and cut down the center, leaving about half an inch uncut at the end.
When you stretch out this strip, you should have a cotton loop ready to weave!
As an extra note, when cutting your T-shirt, make sure to cut the strips horizontally across the shirt instead of vertically. Cutting it this way will ensure that your loop can properly stretch while weaving.
You can use a similar process when making rag rug “yarn”.
What Else Can You Make With a Potholder Loom?
There are so many creative patterns for bigger garments that you can make with a potholder loom. As you acquire more weaving skills, you can experiment with different techniques and materials to make other projects and create unique patterns with a potholder loom.
You can work with wool, linen, or fibers to create DIY garments like tea towels, rugs, blankets, and shawls.
When making bigger garments, you can create a few squares with a 9” by 9” potholder loom, and sew the squares together to create a rug or blanket.
Alternatively, you can skip the binding off when finishing each square, and when it’s time to attach them together, you can use a crochet hook to crochet the squares together while binding off the loose loops.
With wool or recycled linen, you won’t have to use loops. You can use one continuous strand (or use two or three strands for thicker results) and place the yarn across the loom, anchoring the yarn around each peg. Make sure that you don’t pull too tight in this step to give some room for weaving in the horizontal rows.
When you finish the vertical rows, you can use the same strand of yarn and weave in the horizontal rows following the same steps as above, or use a different color yarn to create your pattern.
How Kid-Friendly is a Potholder Loom?
This project is recommended for kids six and up, because it is very simple, straightforward, and super fun, but a little dexterity is helpful, especially when first starting out.
When working with kids, make sure that they use safety scissors and are careful with a weaving hook to avoid any accidents!
Kids may need help when inserting the last few rows because the weave may become a lot tighter and harder to pull the loops through.
You’ll also likely need to help them with binding off the project using the crochet hook because this step requires more maneuvering around the loom.
How Do You Wash Your New Potholders?
If you use materials that are 100% cotton, your new potholders should be machine-washable and the colors likely will not bleed. Even better, they will be able to withstand heat and last you for years and years to come.