Hand weaving beads allows you to create elaborate and beautiful jewellery. Much bead weaving is done with seed beads, but you can also use larger beads. Most bead weaving techniques fall into two general categories: on-loom and off-loom. Weaving on a bead loom is like ordinary weaving, except that you string beads onto the weft threads (the horizontal threads). Off-loom bead weaving involves stringing beads together so that each row or loop of beads is anchored to a previous row with the beading thread.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Seed beads
- Beading thread
- Beading needles
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Bead loom (optional)
- Cyanoacrylate adhesive or clear nail varnish
Construct a bead loom if you do not have one. Take a sheet of cardboard or a small cardboard box. Cut slits in the top and bottom of the cardboard or the edges of the box. These slitted edges are called combs.
Cut your warp (lengthwise) threads. They should be as long as the piece you are making, plus 4 to 6 inches. The number is the width of your project divided by the size of your beads. Tie the top ends in an overhand knot. Lay each thread in between the teeth of the combs, ensuring they are straight. If your loom has rollers, fasten the ends of the warp threads to these. If not, secure them behind the combs with a knot or wrap them around a short stick.
Measure off an arm's length of thread. Tie one end around the top of the leftmost warp thread. This is your weft thread. Thread your beading needle.
String a row of beads, one less than the number of warp threads. Push the beads down to the knot. Pass the row of beads under the warp so that each bead lies between two warp threads. Push the needle back through the row of beads, this time above the warp threads. Repeat until you have enough bead weaving. Tie off the ends and add a fastening.
Weaving on a Bead Loom
Cut a 2- or 3-foot length of beading thread. Tie a spare bead to the end, leaving a 4-inch tail. String 4 beads. Pass the thread back through the first 3 beads in the direction you strung them, making a loop.
String 3 beads and loop the thread back through the top bead of the last loop, making a connecting loop. Repeat this until the weave is long enough.
Pass the thread through the first 3 beads of your final loop so that it emerges from a side bead. String 3 beads and pass the thread back through the same side bead you started at and the first bead of the new loop. String 2 beads and pass the thread back through the adjacent side bead and the top bead of the last loop. Repeat this until you have sufficient breadth. Tie off the ends and add a fastening.
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