One of the most well-known and loved forms of arts and crafts is bead looming. This activity has been around for decades and has broad appeal. Whether you are a beginner working on an easy project or a professional embarking on an artistic endeavor, bead looming is sure to bring you pleasure and joy. From simple jewelry pieces to intricate home décor items, the possibilities of using bead weaving to create vibrant and bold designs are endless. Here we will go over the basics of bead weaving and learn how to bead a loom.
What Is a Beading Loom?
A bead loom is an instrument utilized in bead looming, a technique that chiefly uses seed beads, weaving them together on a plain fabric to create a three-dimensional object like a ball or clasp. The loom you use and how you set it up can make all the difference in the world when it comes to bead weaving. Learning how to bead a loom correctly can catapult your craft to a whole new level. You can make any vision come to life with your beading loom, from traditional patterns, florals, and geometric designs to trendy bohemian and nautical prints.
Learning How to Bead a Loom:
Before you begin your bead looming journey, it is vital to get accustomed to two terms bead weavers typically use; warp and weft. Warp and weft are the essential components of bead weaving, defining the two directions of thread on the loom. The warp threads lie vertically or parallel to the loom and move up and down, while the weft threads lie horizontally or perpendicular and move left and right.
Another thing you’d want to do is collect all the tools and materials needed for looming in one place. Having all the essentials ready to go is the key to a successful crafting experience. You’ll require:
- Beading loom
- Your choice of seed beads
- Beading needle
- Thread (cotton, nylon, wildfire, etc.)
- Scissors or nipper tool
Warping the Loom:
Step 1: In a bead loom, you’ll notice a frame present above and below springs perfectly incremented string the warping threads back and forth. You’ll want to make sure that the material of your warping thread is firm and not stretchy like cotton or nylon, as this helps build a stronger foundation for your piece. There are also wooden dowels that roll on either end underneath the springs to help secure your threads.
Step 2: Each dowel has a nail present on the top around which you’ll be wrapping each of your warping threads. Tighten the wingnut to hold the dowel in place, and start by tying an overhand knot on one end of your thread to create a loop. Secure loop around the nail of the dowel, moving the tail out of the way to start warping.
Step 3:Now, you will move the thread upward from the nail head and pass it through one of the grooves in the spring on that end. You will then move the thread across the entire span of the loom. Maintaining the tension and keeping the thread straight, you will pass it through one of the grooves on the spring present on the other end.
Step 4: Next, you’ll loop the thread around the nail head on the dowel present below. Once again, you’ll pull your thread upward towards the same spring and pass it through the second groove. You’ll then drag the thread across the length of the loom, holding it taught towards the spring on the other end (where you had started beading).
Step 5:Using the same method, you’ll pass the thread through the groove next to the first groove (the one you initially threaded through). You’ll move the thread down, loop it around the nail head, and drag it up and through the third grove in the row. Once again, extend the line across the span of the loom towards the spring on the other end.
Step 6:You’ll continue this process, moving the string back and forth between the two springs. The number of threads you warp must be one more than the number of beads you want for the width of your design. For instance, if you want 5 beads, you’ll warp 6 threads
Step 7: Once the threads are warped, you will run the thread around the nail a couple of times and create half a hitch to hold it in place. Cut off the excess with a scissor and you’re done with the first step of bead looming.
Wefting the Loom:
Step 1:The second step of bead looming is to start adding rows of beads to your warped threads, thread your beading needle with a long piece of thread. Your wefting thread should be long enough, so it doesn’t have to be changed too often. Tie one end of the wefting thread onto the first warping thread.
Step 2:Thread your first row of beads onto the needle. Only add the number of beads you want in your design’s width. For now, don’t pass the beads onto the thread; keep them on the needle.
Step 3:Place the needle onto the warped thread gently and arrange the beads so that each bead sits between two warped threads. Once the beads are in position, you’ll pull the needle through the beads, pulling the entire thread length and leaving it hanging from the first bead.
Step 4:Now, you’ll turn the needle around, moving it underneath the warped threads, and pass it once again through the holes in the beads one by one. Pull the needle through to add the first row of beads to your loom.
Step 5: Repeat steps 2 through 4 to add more rows. You’ll want to change the beading color and arrangement as you add each row according to your design requirements.
Removing Your Work:
Step 1: Removing your work is an extremely important part of beading because a single mistake can make you lose all your hard work. Start by passing the wefting thread back up and down through the first few rows of beads to secure them tightly in place. After threading 4-5 rows, cut the excess cord off.
Step 2:Pick one dowel and start unwinding the thread around its nail head to release the threads slightly. Now cut the warped thread on the far right, freeing the excess, which should be around 5-6 inches long. Once you do this, you will tighten the dowel again.
Step 3: Begin to weave this cut-off warped thread through the first two beads of the first row and then two beads of the last. Then weave through the two beads of the second row and keep moving forwards until you run out of thread; cut off the excess and tie a knot to secure.
Step 4: Next, you’ll cut off the second warp thread in the loom in the same way as the first. Once again, you’ll start weaving it through your work, but this time you’ll pass it through the second and third beads instead. Repeat this step with each warped thread in the loom until you reach the last two threads.
Step 5: On reaching the second-last warped thread, you’ll switch weaving direction. Instead, you’ll weave through the second and third beads of each row on the far side of the loom. Continue as before and cut off the excess.
Step 6: You’ll cut the loom from the dowel when you’re on your last warped thread. While holding it in your hand, weave the last thread through the first and second beads of each row on the far side of the loom. Continue as before and cut off the excess thread.
Step 7: Repeat steps 2 through 6 on the other dowel of the loom. Your masterpiece is ready once you’ve weaved in the last warped thread from the other end!
While learning how to bead a loom initially seems complex and time-consuming, with time, you’ll get the hang of it and develop speed. This form of art is gratifying and an easy, affordable and straightforward way to create unique décor items.