Beadwork is an exciting craft that enables enthusiasts to produce a variety of eye-catching items, from jewellery to clothing. Beading looms are used to create flat strips of beads with sizes that depend on the length and width of the looms. Although commercially produced looms are readily available, they are often expensive. Professional bead workers sometimes find them frustrating because they cannot be adjusted to suit the size of unique projects. One solution to the problems of price and a lack of flexibility is to build a personal bead loom.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2 Pocket combs
- Wood board (1 foot x 6 feet)
- 6 Wood screws
- Wood glue
Cut the 1 x 6 wood board to the length you desire. If you will be beading long pieces, such as a belt, the wood board for your loom should be long enough to fit the item. If you plan to make smaller beading projects, like headbands, then you can make your loom much smaller. The longer and wider your loom, the larger your beadwork can be.
Cut your wood board into three pieces. The two small pieces for the sides should be about 6 inches long. 3 or 4 feet may be a sufficient length for the longer piece if you plan to bead long items.
Attach your spacers. The teeth of the pocket combs will act as spacers for the warp threads on your loom. Place a pocket comb against one of the small wood pieces, making sure that the teeth stand up above the edge, and nail it in. Repeat this process for the second wood piece.
Place the long board flat on your working surface. Glue or nail the small wood pieces, upright, 1 to 2 inches away from each short edge of the long piece. If you use nails instead of glue, nail them in from the bottom of the base wood.
Create anchors on the loom for your thread. Put a wood screw into the base 1 inch away from an end piece. Repeat this process for the second end piece. These anchors will be used to tie off the warp threads so that they remain taut while you work.
Learn beading techniques for a bead loom. Read guides such as "Out on a Loom: Instructions and 15 Patterns for Loom Bead Weaving" by Margie Deeb (see Resources).
Tips and warnings
- Bead workers can use a variety of items as spacers for the warp threads in place of pocket combs. Some of these include springs, toothpicks and small nails. Nails can be placed into the top edge of the sides of the looms while toothpicks can be glued on.
- If you would like to minimise the construction, you can avoid the spacers by cutting small grooves into the edges of the loom sides. Place each strand of the warp thread in the coordinating groove of each loom edge and secure by tying the strands on the nails or under the base of the loom.
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