How Hammocks Are Made - The Making of Mexican Hammocks / Mayan Hammocks

Mexican hammocks and Mayan hammocks are are hand woven on looms using 100% cotton cord with nylon end strings for added strength. This makes it a strong, yet comfortable hammock that will mould to your body when you sit or lie in it. It takes time to weave a hammock by hand and can use up to a mile of string.

The Mayan hammocks are woven on are vertical looms. The loom consists of two vertical, cylindrical posts with two horizontal crossbars. The loom is about 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall. Typically the looms are made of strong tree branches about the thickness of a broom handle. These are usually made by hand. They are light yet strong, and can easily be moved inside or out. It's not uncommon the see the women weaving the hammocks outside or in the heat of the day, inside where it's cooler.

First the loom is wrapped; during this process much of the twine used in the hammock is wrapped around and around the looms vertical posts. The rest of the thread is wrapped around the weaving shuttles. Next, the weaving process begins. The first thing that is created is the crochet reinforcement seen on the edges of the woven bed. This reinforcement helps the hammock bed to keep its shape.

A good large hammock will have up to 20 rows of this reinforcement. Sometimes nylon is used, even for cotton hammocks. (Watch the video here.) The end loops will eventually be woven together at the end of the hammock making process to form the endstrings or loops. It is these loops that are bound how a hammock gets its hanging support, strength and load. The end loops and binding are usually made of nylon to provide the strength and support for hanging and load bearing. The endstring supports will be made by hand too.

Next Steps In Making Hammocks

The next step is to interweave the yarn on the shuttles with what is wrapped around the hammock loom. Now it is time for the skill of the weaver to shine. Infinite patterns can be created by switching colors and weaving them into the hammock in a repetitive process. Sometimes, no particular pattern is followed, resulting in very wild looking Mayan hammocks.

mayan hammock weaving

During the weaving process it is very important to keep a constant, uniform tension on the warp. If the tension is too tight then one part of the hammock it will have a lump, or be too soft, and the hammock will have a dip. Improper tension is a sure sign of an inexperienced weaver. Many people believe that this is the most difficult part of learning to weave hammocks. The work involved in creating a brilliantly designed hammock is considerably more because when the color switches there is a pause in the weaving to tie the knots together. The more knots the more time involved to weave the Mayan hammock. This is why there is frequently a tendency for mass producers to create less complex designs. Fortunately there are still some quality producers in Mexico like the women of the Yucatan making fine Mayan hammocks in the old ways and designs.

The woven beds are taken off the looms and carefully saved until a quantity of Mayan hammocks end strings are ready to be strung. After the Mayan hammock bed has been woven and quantity amassed, then it is time to attach the end strings or hammock wrist as they are sometimes called. They are taken to the specialist to be all done at once. The end strings or loops require an expertise to make them strong. hammock enstrings binding

The end strings are basically wrapped tightly, thus providing strength both in the hanging strings and in the binding of the loop. Again, proper tension is critical. It is very important that all the end strings are exactly the same length. If improperly done the hammock will have humps or dips. The end strings are wrapped in a continuous manner and after the outermost parts will be bundled and wrapped tightly together to form the hammock loop or hammock wrist.

The hammocks are then collected and brought to Merida for a final check before being shipped out all around the world.

About Mayan Hammocks

When considering a hammock there are two materials to consider: nylon and cotton. Nylon would be a good choice, as it holds up to weather and wind better than cotton. However, nylon is not as comfortable a material. The synthetic fibers don’t stretch or conform as well as cotton. Cotton, being a natural material, is much more comfortable and cradles well to the body. The best Mexican hammocks take advantage of these 2 fibers. All our Mexican hammocks are made of 100% cotton, with the end strings or loops made of nylon to provide the strength and support. The Mayan women of today use them in the villages to rock their baby to sleep as they make the hammocks.

Our hammocks are made in the Yucatan region of Mexican. We work with several hundred familes in the local communities and provide their handmade artisan products directly to you. Bookmark and Share