Weaving a Mayan Hammock

You may also like...

65 Responses

  1. Connor Williams says:

    How would you change the color of the string during the triple weave?

    • Derek says:

      Mayan Hammock pattern weave example

      Changing the colors is quite simple, really. Just weave as much or as little as you want to create the desired pattern. Tie off the string around the loom post (I use a bowline know) so you have a loop that matches the rest of the loops around the posts. Here are a few ways I’ve been doing it:

      1. Use multiple shuttles/netting needles. In the photo (above) you can see contrasting colors interwoven with the main color. For example, the red section punctuated with four rows of cyan/blue. To do this, the loom is wrapped with red yarn (primary color) and you alternate between two shuttles, one with red and the other with cyan (secondary/highlight color). After four weaves of one color, you set that shuttle down (the yarn is still attached), and begin weaving with the other shuttle. Continue alternating. If you run out of a color before the pattern is complete, fill the shuttle with yarn and tie the yarn from the shuttle to the end of the weaving yarn you just finished. I use a double fisherman’s knot to connect the yarns. Make sure your knots occur at the ends of the hammock, not in the body itself.

      2. Fill warp and weft strands to set amounts. After finishing a few rows, I found that I could fill a shuttle with enough yarn for about 1 in (2.5 cm) of completed weaving. It worked out to about 10 warp strands around the loom. When I wanted to change the pattern, I would wrap 10 strands around the loom and then weave with the shuttle. My shuttle would just about run out after weaving down those 10 warp strands. At this point I could switch colors both on the loom (warp strands) and the shuttle (weft strands) as I wanted/needed.

      3. Keep the spool of warp yarn attached to the loom as you would a sewing machine. I’ve done a few sections where the warp strands around the loom continued for a while, even though I was alternating the weaving/weft strands. Instead of wrapping dozens of strands of yarn around the loom, I would only do about 10 and then stick the remaining spool of yarn on the top of my loop (secured with a rubber band). In this way, I could wrap the loom again without tying any more knots for the warp strands.

      Let me know if this makes sense and if you have further questions.

      • Connor Williams says:

        My last question is did you use a thousand yards or thousand feet?

        • Derek says:

          1,000 yds (915 m) will get you a hammock bed about 50 in (1.27 m) wide and 6.5 ft (2 m) long. Add a little more for the nettles which will double the overall length of the hammock.

          • Connor Williams says:

            Then i guess that leads to my next question of, where did you get rope for this?

          • Derek says:

            For the hammock I’m making now, I purchased the yarn from hobby lobby. They had an assortment of colors of #18 nylon from the brand “Artiste”. Each spool was 197 yds (180 m). I got 6 of them.

            I also purchased a spool of white #18 nylon string from Home Depot, 1,000 yards (I think) of mason line. It was pretty cheap.

            I’m still trying to find a good source for the cotton yarn. When I find a good source for a good price I’ll post it.

          • Derek says:

            Correction: my earlier estimates only counted the wrapped yarn, not the weft or woven yarn. You’ll need about double the amount of string, or roughly 2,000 yards (1,830 m) for a hammock bed about 50 inches (1.25 m).

      • Lori says:

        Do you have a source for the #18 cotton cord in different colors? I’d like to make one for my daughter but can’t find the cord.


        • Derek says:

          Lori, I wish I was better at understanding yarn and string. I exchanged samples with a yarn maker out of Kansas for weeks and it is still confusing to me :} I was searching online today looking for some samples that might work, but I can’t be 100% sure. This string looks pretty good.

          A friend sent me several cones of yarn from Mexico that is labeled to be “good for hammocks and weaving” so I’m giving it a try on my loom. It is a “No. 6 100% Nylon”. It is smaller than the #18 I used on my last hammock. I’d like to do something thicker, and in cotton, but I still haven’t found a good source.

          • I actually have samples coming from a cotton yarn Mfg. Their minimum order is like 900 lbs. LOLO but they offered to hook me up with a customer of theirs who would ship smaller quantities. I’ll keep you updated when they arrive.

  2. mike says:

    How is the finishing edge or crochet done?

    • Derek says:

      The edging is the same on both sides. You’ll need to lay out a few wraps of warp string to match the beginning edge and then begin the knotting process. Skip every two weaves and tie an overhand knot and layer those knots as you did in the beginning.

      • Kate says:

        Could You Post A Video Of You Finishing The Edge? I’m More Of The Monkey See Monkey Do

        • Derek says:

          Yes, although it is a repeat of the beginning edge, which is already on the video. It is the same pattern: skip two and tie a half hitch.

  3. Adam says:

    Hi! I followed your instructions and built a mayan loom and attempted a baby sized hammock. However, when I finished and took the hammock off the loom, the weave stretched out and made a mess. I don’t think I am finishing the rows up correctly when I reach a pole.

    You state, “As you work along the warp, keep the weft string tight to ensure the lattice isn’t loose when you’re done. When you reach the end, go around the pole and hitch the weft and warp strings you were just working on and then continue the pattern.”

    What do you mean by “hitch the weft and warp strings you were just working on…”?

    Currently, when I reach a pole, I just wrap the weft around it and continue weaving. Over time, the undulating weft pattern near the poles start creeping inwards towards the center of the hammock. So I am pretty sure I am not doing it correctly. Are you tying off each row to the pole? My hammock does not scrunch back up all by itself when it is off the loom and in my hands.

    Thanks so much for your instructions and your help!

    • Derek says:

      Adam, I also replied to you personally, but for the benefit of the community, I’m realizing there are a few idiosyncrasies that I need to address, possibly in a new video.

      When you finish a row of weaving and bring the shuttle around the pole, you first hook this line (hitch it) with the same working line from the shuttle. After this first hitch, you then begin the triple weave.

      The way you fill the loom is important. The line you are weaving (the top line that you go “over and around” with the shuttle) should be opposite you on the loom. The working line from the shuttle should be nearest you on the loom. When you wrap the loom and begin weaving, you should follow this pattern. The warp string should be on the opposite side of the loom.

  4. Cameron says:

    Soooooo, if one inch has about 10 warp strings, then a 50″ wide hammock has about 500 warp strings in total? Wow!

    • Derek says:

      Much depends on the thickness of the yarn you use. In my own testing, I had some rows with 12 to an inch. If I haven’t already stated, let it be known that I’m not a weaving expert :) Every time I spoke with the Yarn Barn in Kansas about yarn, I got confused about how they measure yarn thickness. It was maddening. I finally admitted that I have no desire to be an expert on weaving, but it was a lot of fun to make the weave and the hammock. So, as long as nobody asks me specific questions about the best yarn (I’ll leave that to the experts) I’m happy to entertain questions on how to weave the mayan hammock. That part I have down pat.

  5. Andy says:

    Hola Derek, Thank you for this informative tutorial. I’m confident about the entire process short of the clew, is a separate jig used for this process?
    Gracias, Andy

    • Derek says:

      You could use a jig. The “pros” just wrap it around their legs, with the bight or center of the nettles between their legs as they get it folded up. I used a make-shift jig so I could get the nettles all the same length (two poles: one to hold the hammock in a line and the other used to wrap around). Once the nettles are all wrapped through and sized correctly, the whipping is easy. I first make the bight and whip the nettles together. Next, I “frap” the whipping or wrapping so it is properly seized. The frap goes around the whipping, through the eye and down to the nettles and back a few times. Finally, I do a simple cockscombing around the eye. There are several methods you can use, including a basic half hitch.

  6. Jason says:

    Great video! I can’t wait to try it.

    I feel like I’m missing something though – your warp (the white strings?) seems to be twisted and thinner than your weft (do I have that right?), which seems to be thicker and braided. Should these be different thicknesses, or could one just go with the same line for everything?


  7. boonrada says:

    I really interested in how to make a mayan hammock.I really want to learn how to weaving it.is it inpossible to teach me?I would like to learn step by step but I don’t know how.I’m in Thailand. tunnaka2011@hotmail.com
    thank for your kindness

  8. Matt Gornall says:

    Hello Derek,
    I’m very thankful for your video as I have been trying to find the legit way of making a Mayan Hammock for quite some time now. I do have a few questions before I begin. What kind of knot do you tie the warp to the loom with? Can your warp be more than one strand and if so how do I add on more warp? And how do I add the clew to the hammock body? I hope to hear from you soon! Thank You!

  9. Matt Gornall says:

    Also how do add the nettles?

  10. Matt Gornall says:

    The actual size of #18 mason line is very thin compared to the nylon string used in the pictures and the videos posted on this page. Is it a thicker nylon being used? Or a different brand or braid?

    • Derek says:

      Some of the demo photos used in this post were made with thicker string, but the final hammocks I made were with #18 line, as that matched the original Mayan hammock I purchased.

  11. IsHARI says:

    I’m not sure, but I think the cotton equivalent of of nylon #18 isn’t cotton #18 but cotton #5. Just sayin’. Also, great guide, I just finished building a simple loom and carving a shuttle. Hope I don’t mess anything up…

  12. Does it matter from which side you start warping the loom?
    Do you just wind the warp thread in a circular pattern or is there a figure 8 pattern used?
    Do you start the warp at the bottom and then go towards the top of the loom with it?

    • Derek says:

      It doesn’t matter which side you start, but start from the bottom and wind up in a circular pattern.

      • So in whatever direction you load the loom right to left or left to right tying the edge knots AND weaving continue in the same direction. Me edges look like hell I am missing something.

        Do you always finish an “under two over and around one” repeat? clarification on the edges if you could! Thanks.

  13. Frank Jouret says:

    I just wanted to tell a little secret to the Mayan hammock that very few of us know about. This hammock is made according to an old mayan tradition in ancient times when labor was not valuable. Nowadays, the people who make those hammocks are still respecting that old tradition and make hammocks at home for their pleasure and not for a money living. The real mayan hammock is not worth making it for money. The small hammocks made of thick rope sold to the tourists on the beaches of the mayan Riviera are about the only ones who provide money for the producers. But they are too small. Some smart businessman (who weren’t aware of this tradition) took this hammock to India and China in order to copy it and find a better price. That was a big mistake, and they have lost a long time for this quest, and were rewarded by mayan time, worth nothing !!!!
    I have made myself a Mayan hammock with 4 strings stiches and I guess I will never do one again. I failed for making the arms and bringed it to some mayan experts do it again for me. Here you can see some pictures http://www.tropical-hamac.com/blog/cours-de-tissage-du-hamac-mexicain/ and read some french !!
    Que les vayan muy bien.

  14. raz says:

    how many warp strings should there be?

    • Derek says:

      For a full hammock? That depends on the size of string you are using (how many weaves equal an inch is variable) and how wide you want the hammock. I cannot answer exactly, but I will say that once you start weaving you can make an easy calculation based on how many weaves equal an inch.

  15. Andrew says:

    The video for the clew seems to be down, unfortunately…is there another source, a similar video, or a set of instructions you’d suggest in its place?

    • Derek says:

      Hmm. Unfortunate. That wasn’t my video, and it didn’t show a lot, but it was helpful. I’ll have to make a short video myself. Stay tuned.

      The process is pretty straightforward: set up a jig with two, 60 cm-long dowels separated about 1 m (or about half the length of your hammock). Take about 7 loops from the end of the hammock and loop them over one dowel and gather them up with your clew string and tie off a series of half hitches or a bowline. Wrap the clew line around the second dowel and back down to repeat the process. Using this jig helps to keep the clew length the same across the entire hammock while tensioning the ends.

      Once all the loops on the hammock are collected and run through the clew string and tied off, you can gather up the bight loop on the end of the clew and whip it and then wrap it with any number of cockscombing techniques.

  16. Tony says:

    Hi Derek!

    First of all, thanks for such awesome instructions on the Mayan hammock. I’m about 25% through my first hammock and things are going pretty well, however I have a question: When finishing a line of weave and you are ready to wrap around the post, what’s the best knot/stitch to tie before heading back for the next line of weave? The reason I ask is that I sometimes encounter an uneven edge at the ends of my hammock bed. Oh, and I just thought of another minor question: is it possible to make your weave too tight?

    • Derek says:

      I usually alternate colors and leave the shuttle loaded. I reload the shuttle at the end and tie a double fisherman knot to connect more string and then load the shuttle up again. I hope that helps. The weave shouldn’t be too tight. That could make the hammock too tight.

  17. Justin Irwin says:


    I am totally blown away by the art! I am a complete novice to the art, although, I have been swinging a lifetime. Please help me get started. Not having any real weaving experience it seems a bit challenging, but not unattainable to learn. Does your book provide a detailed step by step? – for dummies. If we could discuss some of the initial steps you took to learn the craft, I would be greatful. Have you made an instructional video that details the building of the loom as well as the weaving techniques? Please help me learn this amazing art. I’d love to teach my three daughters as I learn the craft. Thank you!!

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Justin. Have you seen the video attached to this post? It goes through most of the weaving process. I didn’t make a video of building the loom, but hopefully the photos are enough. It’s pretty basic. If I were to do it again, I would round the vertical posts or even use rounded hand rail stock to make it easier to put everything together.

      My current book does not show how to make hammocks, but I’m working on a second edition, due later this summer, that will have detailed instructions on this and many other hammocks. Send me an email if you have any specific questions that aren’t covered in the post.

      • Justin Irwin says:

        Ok great. I did watch the video. I think I’ll start with building the loom from the diagrams on the site. Once the loom is constructed and I have that as a visual guide, I can then begin to understand the process better. The amount of warp lines are based on the amount of different colors I intend to use? Are two warp lines used per color? Also, when sourcing materials for the weave – do you have any that you could recommend? Thank you for your quick response.

  18. Hi Derek. Thank you so much for providing this information! I am wondering if you can tell me exactly how far apart the vertical beams are on the loom. My back patio actually has some very substantial beams that are 104.5″ apart (the beams themselves are about 3.5″ thick) that I’m wondering if I can use instead of the loom. Do you think they’ll work?


    P.S. I’m so happy you’re working on a book about making hammocks! I keep (half) joking with my husband that he needs to take me to Nicaragua to find someone to teach me their weave :) Are you including Brazilian and Nicaraguan styles?

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Danielle,

      Most Mayan-style hammocks are roughly 2 meters long in the body. The clews, or end strings, are each a half length of the body, so the full length of the hammock is roughly 4 meters long. Your beams are spaced about perfectly for the hammock loom. I will say that one thing I wish I had was rounder, smoother beams on the loom. After I complete the hammock I’m weaving, I hope to sand down or replace the means with a round post, maybe use a handrail.

      Yes, my new book will contain instructions on making several hammocks styles, along with updated information from the first edition and more. It’s a big work in progress. I will include information on a Brazilian style hammock, but there isn’t much too them, unless you want to get technical about weaving them—you’d need a pretty serious loom because Brazilian hammocks are more cloth or fabric based. They add decorative trim or macrame on the edges, but I’m not going to explain how to crochet in my book :) Nicaraguan hammocks are identical to Brazilian except that they most often have spreader bars on the ends.

      If you really want to learn to weave, it’s the Mayan triple weave that’s most interesting to learn, and for that you should go to the capital of Yucatán, Mérida. This is where the weaving center is located.

    • Danielle, do you have a way to take your hammock off of your beams after you’re done weaving it? If you don’t, you would have to cut the hammock off or something. If there’s some way for it to slip off the beams after it’s woven, then that would work wonderfully. :)

      I’m personally using a frame I put together out of PVC pipes. It’s easy to take apart when I’m done, and easy to store, and a good alternative if building a wooden frame isn’t practical.

      Good luck with your hammock!

      -Mariah :)

    • Peter says:

      You have to be able to take the loom apart in order to slide the hammock from off the uprights. You will have to take your roof off the porch to get the hammock off.

  19. Corey Johnson says:

    Baker’s Twine = cotton twine, 100 yards per spool, ~$4-$10 per spool

  20. Leta says:

    What is the thickness of the cord you used?

    • Derek says:

      This is actually something I struggle with. I don’t know well enough the way to measure them. I used 18 gauge mason line and that seemed as good as what’s used.

  21. Erin says:

    Hi Derek,

    I am really excited to try. I feel like there are a couple steps missing at the beginning and end that I might need more clarification on. Would you mind if I reached out to you? I am making the hammock for sentimental reasons for my parents as a surprise because we always grew up with them from my grandpas house in mexico. Ours looked like this put were made with rolled cotton fabric. Do you have any idea what that might have been?

  22. Grace B. says:

    Hi Derek,

    I am so excited to try this! Do you know if this hammock wood be large/strong enough to hold two people?

    Also, do you have any tips on how to create a loom out of PVC pipe?

    Thank you so much!

    • Derek says:

      Yes, the hammock can hold 2+ people, depending on the strength of the string you use. A PVC loom would be easy enough with the right elbow and T-joints.

  23. myrna malave says:

    Derek hi my name Myrna
    I am trying to get everything I need
    I want to make sure that its only the #18 nylon braided I use or there is another size that need to be use …. Thank you

    • Derek says:

      That size will work. Still, you can choose what works best for you. The most comfy weaves use a thick cotton thread. Harder to find but feels good.

  24. Aaron says:

    Hey! I’m currently constructing a Mayan hammock based on your instructions. I went with a 7′ loom (I’m 6’3″). I’m nearing the end of the weaving phase. Your video for the clew isn’t available, would you mind re-posting it? Thanks!

  1. June 4, 2015

    […] A great website that has a video and explains the method in more detail can be found at The Ultimate Hang – Weaving A Mayan Hammock. […]

  2. June 20, 2015

    […] Weaving a mayan hammock – the ultimate hang […]

  3. August 4, 2015

    […] Brazilian hammock. The tight weave is what really differentiates a Brazilian from a Mayan hammock (Mayan hammocks use a loose, triple weave, more like a fish net). Unique patterns are woven near the ends that create unique impressions in […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: