How to Bead on a Loom
Loom beading is a great style to start with if you are interested in bead weaving of any type. Not only are the basic looms safe and easy enough for children to use, the loom leaves both hands free to manipulate the beads and needle and makes it very easy to stop in the middle of a project without fear of losing your place. Being able to lay down an entire row of beads-instead of just one or two at a time-is another mark in the loom's favor. This article will cover setting up the loom to completing a beading project.
Things You'll Need
- Bead loom
- Ruler or tape measure
- Beading thread
- Pattern (optional)
- Beading needle
- Super Glue
How to Set Up the Loom
Measure the length of your project and multiply by three for how long each warp thread should be. The number of strands you'll need will be however many beads wide your project will be plus one. Lay each strand side by side and knot one set together a couple of inches from the end.
Hook the knotted end of the warp threads over the bolt of the top or left end of the loom to secure it, then feed each thread to rest in its own space in the coils on both ends of the loom.
Even the strands out on the loose end and knot them together. Wrap this end of the warp threads around the bolt on the bottom or right end of the loom and turn the tension rod until all of the slack is drawn up.
How to Weave the Beads
Thread your beading needle with a length of thread and tie one end to the farthest warp thread a few inches down from the coil at the top (or left) of the loom.
String the first row of beads onto the needle (per the pattern if you are using one) and push the beads down to the knot at the base of the thread.
Draw the working (or weft) thread under the warp threads on the loom and position each bead between two threads.
Push the beads up with a finger to make it easier to slide the beading needle back through the beads, going over the warp threads they are resting between, coming out where you started. This is what traps the beads and thread in place.
Continue beading row by row, working from top/left to bottom/right. When you run out of working room between the coils, advance the tension rods at each end of the loom to the top/left to free up more warp threads that are being held on the bottom tension rod.
How to Finish Up
Once you've reached the end of your design, tie off the current beading thread and run it back through some of the beads to hide the tail before trimming the excess.
Release both ends from the tension bars and gently untie them. To secure the beginning and end of the beaded strip, double knot the warp threads two-by-two at each end.
At this point you can continue to knot or braid the warp threads into a single strand to fit through a jewelry finding. Trim the threads just above the knots, dot with super glue and leave bare as if for a bookmark.
- Keep in mind that most seed beads are more rectangular than square and may skew a pattern taken from a square-grid chart.