© 2017 The Authors. Network theory is finding applications in the life and social sciences for ecology, epidemiology, finance and social– ecological systems. While there aremethods to generate specific types of networks, the broad literature is focused on generating unweighted networks. In this paper, we present a framework for generating weighted networks that satisfy user-defined criteria. Each criterion hierarchically defines a feature of the network and, in doing so, complements existing algorithms in the literature. We use a general example of ecological species dispersal to illustrate the method and provide open-source code for academic purposes.