Small loom weaving

Build small triangular looms, like those used by African children. Few materials necessary, the results are great. - by Louise Meyer

Cotton bolls can be bought at flower shops or through the U.S. Cotton Council located in Washington DC. Cotton bolls with husks and seeds in tack offer students an excellent hands on activity.

African children build their own looms.
Try it! you can build one too.

Supplies needed
  • three 6" by 1/4" dowels
  • one chopstick or 1/8" round metal rod
  • 2 ice cream sticks or tongue depressors
  • cotton thread (mercerized preferably) or thin, strong packaging string
  • a wooden base (optional)

Make a triangular African children's loom by using the three dowels. Push the dowels into the ground (or wooden base) forming a triangle, two at a distance of 8" for the back of the loom and one centered between these two 12" away. Attach a thinner cross-stick, or metal rod, horizontally close to the tops of the first two vertical dowels. You can do this with string or by making two holes through the dowels.

Wrap thread around the front dowel and bring it up and over the cross stick and back around the front dowel until 15 to 20 threads are laid out at even distances from one another forming a warp.

Make a shuttle using a flat stick or a tongue depressor to hold the cross thread, the weft, which will go over and under the individual warp threads at right angles.

Use a second flat stick or tongue depressor to separate odd warp threads from even warp threads to prepare an opening (a shed) through which the shuttle holding the weft thread can pass. Pack the new weft thread into the warp with your fingers or a comb. Now separate the opposite set of threads in the warp (odd from even) to create a second opening (shed) to make a new pas- sage for the second weft thread, pack down tightly towards the first weft thread. Continue, by repeating step one, then two.

That's it! You can make some very nice little strips, even with inlaid motifs, using such a simple loom.