How to Make Raffia Flowers

Written by darci pauser
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How to Make Raffia Flowers
Palm leaf fibres are used to make genuine raffia ribbon. (palmes en contre jour image by cris13 from Fotolia.com)

Raffia flowers came into popularity in the 1960s for use in crafts, hats, and bags, and the brightly coloured ribbon served the aesthetic of the time. Although the looms to make the flowers produced during that time may now be difficult to obtain, a loom can be made easily in a home workshop. Raffia is made from the large leaves of a Madagascar tree, but synthetic raffia is currently more widely available and less costly.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Minimum 4-inch square scrap wood
  • Drill
  • Hole saw
  • Hammer
  • 24 nails
  • Wire cutters
  • Metal file
  • Raffia ribbon in two colours
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors
  • Large craft needle
  • Scissors

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Instructions

    Make a Loom Pegboard

  1. 1

    Using the drill and hole saw, cut a circle out of the wood with a diameter of at least 4 inches.

  2. 2

    Hammer 12 nails equidistant on the surface of the circle, just next to the edge.

  3. 3

    Hammer the other 12 nails just below the first twelve, creating a second circle of nails halfway between the circle's edge and centre.

  4. 4

    Cut the heads off the nails with a heavy-duty wire cutter, and file the ends smooth.

    Make a Flower

  1. 1

    Measure 32-inches of one raffia colour and tape anywhere on the side of the loom. Do not cut. This length of ribbon will act as a "tail" that can be used later on to finish the flower.

  2. 2

    Wrap the ribbon in a figure-eight around opposite outer pegs. Continue in a clockwise motion.

  3. 3

    Wrap around the loom around the outer pegs in this fashion two or three times. End with a second tail of 8 inches, cut with scissors, and secure with tape to the side of the loom.

  4. 4

    With the second ribbon colour, secure an 8-inch tail with tape and wrap in a figure-eight on the inner pegs only. Wrap each inner peg two or three times. Leave a second 8-inch tail, cut with scissors, and secure with tape.

  5. 5

    Thread a craft needle with the 32-inch tail of the first colour. Weave the needle over and under or backstitch both sets of raffia petals.

  6. 6

    Secure tails with tight knots, and cut off excess ribbon.

  7. 7

    Gently remove flower from loom and separate layers to fluff.

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