Localizing Tally Threads

by Tally Artisans in Shandaweel Village

   Cairo, Egypt

Project By

Tally Artisans in Shandaweel Village


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Can you provide an innovative method to manufacture tally threads locally by treating the copper coils that are abundant in Egypt, so that the threads reach the same quality and characteristics  of the imported threads in terms of color, dimensions and malleability?

A call for chemists, mechanical engineers, materials scientists and metal industry specialists to find an innovative method to manufacture tally threads locally by treating copper coils .The winning solution will contribute in the creation of significant economic opportunities through the manufacture of threads locally and thus provide them at an economical price and overcome the monopolism of the importing process, in addition to the supporting efforts to preserve this ancient craft from extinction.

The winning solution will receive a 26,000 EGP as a reward from the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology for the implementation of a prototype and testing of thetally threads. Please read the following for more details!



Tally  is an a authentic Egyptian craft used to decorate abayas, scarves, furnishings and other products. A group of women on Shandaweel Island in Sohag governorate and other areas in Assiut,  produce their crafts beautifully with high precision and craftsmanship [1].

Tally is a technique of embroidery with thin metal strips on cotton, silk or net cloths,  the tally 's name is derived from the village where the Tally craft has started , also the product is called by the metal  coils used in embroidement [2].

Tally coil are only 3 mm in width, usually silver and slightly golden in color. Most of them are made of nickel or silver plated copper wires .There
are also cheap metal coils and plastic ones that are used in the tally embroidment.

The Problem:

One of the most important obstacle that the tally craft encounters ,that may lead to its extinction,is the high cost of coils used in the embroiderment , which are imported from some European countries such as Germany, France and India. Despite  the spread of copper ores in Egypt, it is not exploited economically at the required level [3]. While the technology of manufacturing copper threads does not depend on complex technologies. Thus the opportunity will be provided  through manufacturing of the coils, exploiting Egypt's copper resources and preserving this craft from extinction. On the other hand , this will help in  its prosperity and create an added economic value. As the price of 1 Kg of copper wires used in accessories can reach 1200EGP, it is  expected that the manufacturing of tally locally can reduce the cost of production of the piece of the textile industry by at least 20%, which will increase the profit of the workers and the desire of consumers to buy.

The Challenge:

The challenge is to provide an innovative and effective method of manufacturing threading threads locally by treating copper wires, taking into account the following points to provide the solution:

  • The type of copper alloy used in the production of Tally coil.
  •  Steps of the treatment method in details.
  •  The plating methods to reach the golden and silver lusters, and to prevent the threads from rust with repeated washing and treatments..
  • The dimensions of the wire used before and after treatment, since the required width of  the thread must not exceeding 2-3 mm.
  • The possibility of applying the method to large quantities for  commercial production.
  • The cost of producing 1 kg and 10 kg of threads using the proposed method.


Challenge Background:

Yomken.com  team has taken the initiative to test  the possibility of manufacturing the tally

threads  locally with the same characteristics and quality as the imported ones in order to replace

them and  revive the craft again.

The following steps have been suggested :

1. Red copper wire diameter of 5 mm is used .

2. Pull the wire to the maximum, using the traditional rolling machine, to reach  0.06 mm thickness and 1.5 mm width.

3. The process of Heating  " flame" with the aim of twisting the treated wire to the maximum degree and then wash the copper wire well to return it to the original color”.

4. The electroplating of the coils is done whether by nickel or gold in order to reach a beautiful luster and protect the metal from rusting.

After reaching the current sample of gold plated copper wires and comparing them with the imported threads, it was found that there is a slight difference in the dimensions of the wire, its elasticity  and its color as the imported wire is more soft than the treated one as seen in the video above.

Reward and Conditions:

In order to reach the required quality,the best three solutions will  get 3000 egyptian pounds for undergoing the required tests.

After receiving a sample of the Tally threads,the winning solution will be chosen after experimenting these samples by the workers themselves.

The final winner will receive a financial reward of 26000 Egyptian pounds  from the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, to implement the solution, according to the following conditions:


First phase: 

The solution should contain a detailed plan for the implementation of the innovation including the implementation stages and time plan - the required components - financial details for the use of the bonus - external expertise required if any).

Second phase:

Provide 3000 pounds to each of  the top three solutions in order to test the solution to reach the required quality.

Third phase: 

Anouncing the winner and the reward 26000EGP will be given in installments, in accordance to milestones set by the innovator(s) according to their plan of action to produce 10Kg of tally.

As per our platform Terms and Conditions, in case the intellectual property rights are not registered, the innovator should include the minimum details required to judge the technical validity and feasibility of the solution without full technical specifications.





 [1] http://www.yomken.com/challenge/47-Save_the_Tally_Craft

 [2] http://kenanaonline.com/users/tallyassuit/posts/103401


Project By

Tally Artisans in Shandaweel Village


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