Textiles otherwise

Egyptian loom design

Mike Fortune-Wood

  1. Cut a piece of chipboard about 2.5 ft by 1.5 ft. Drill a 1.5 inch hole in each corner.
  2. Cut about 3 ft of 1.5 inch dowel into four equal-ish pieces and push through holes.
  3. Cut four 1.5 ft lengths of 1 by 0.5-ish wood.
  4. Lash one to the dowels at each end of the chipboard.
  5. Take the third piece of 1 by 0.5 and drill as many holes in it as close together as you can, large enough for string to go through. This is called the heddle rod.
  6. Loosely and evenly loop string (or wire) through the holes (like a spring). Count the holes.
  7. The number of holes is the number of warps the textile will have.
  8. Tie a piece of strong wool, to be your warp (not manmade as it stretches), to one end of the lashed rod at one end of the chipboard.
  9. Pass it to the other end, through the first of the loops of string around the bottom of the rod at the other end and back (this time not through the string.
  10. Repeat step 9 until there are no more loops of string and tie off.

To make a shuttle I used a pencil. Wrap several yards of the weft around the pencil and tie off one end to the end of a rod at one end of the chipboard.

Holding the heddle up pass the shuttle through the warp. Release the heddle and return. Lift the heddle.

Take your remaining piece of wood and pass it through the warp and push down on the textile to even up the line of the weft.

Repeat for a couple of days (or until everyone is bored silly) and you should have some Textile.

I adapted the above from Make it work - Ancient Egypt by Andrew Haslam and Alexandra Parsons (which has lots of other craft ideas). Published by Two-Can/Watts, 4.99 pounds sterling; ISBN 1-85434-279-7.


If you want to find out more about Ancient Egypt, a good place to start is A Personal Egyptology page by George Hart. There are details of the book that inspired this project and other books for children and adults, as well as many Egyptology links.


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