In this Instructable I will be teaching you how to make a really simple bead weaving loom out of household scraps and wood pieces. And, I will guide you through the process of making a super unique beaded bracelet. I made two of them which vary in style. My favorite one for me is the one without the suede backing. The options are endless as far as designs are concerned. Let's get started!
Step 1: Materials for Loom & Bracelet
Materials for Loom
- Piece of scrap wood, approximately 12 inches long
- Two small pieces of wood to attach to the top of the main board (as you can see, I used scraps)
- Two bolts - approximately the width of your board
- Six eye-rings or eye-bolts & a couple of screws to attach small pieces of wood to board
Materials for Beaded Bracelet
- A variety of beads - I used small seed beads
- Thread - I recommend bead weaving thread - I used Beadalon WildFire 0.006in or 0.15mm
- If you don't have bead weaving thread, you can use embroidery thread
- Since embroidery thread is too thick, you will need to pull it apart and only use a couple strands
- Beading Needles - I bought a pack of size 10-13 and they worked very well
- Scissors & round-nose pliers or other jewelry multi-tool with pliers
- Glue - I used fabric glue but Amazon sells bead weaving glue
- Clasps for your bracelet
- Optional: leather or suede
Optional: you may want to get a threading tool, since it is very difficult to thread these tiny needle
I made two bracelets for this Instructable. I have both patterns available for you here. If you like, you can make your own pattern on this website at no cost. The site is incredible because you can make a really quick design, or even upload a photo and it will convert it into a cross-stitch design which can be used for this bead weaving project.
Step 2: Setting Up the Loom & Threads
This loom I made was very simple. If you already have a loom, skip the next two paragraphs please. For my loom and materials, I crawled over some items in my garage to gather up some scrap pieces of wood, bolts and screws. My long piece of wood is two inches wide by about 16 inches long. If you have a wider piece of wood than what I used, that would be ideal. Some people prefer to use a piece that is about six inches wide. The distance between the two bolts is really up to you. It needs to be long enough to provide you enough space to weave your bracelet. If you leave more space between the bolts, it will allow you to make something longer, like a necklace. Basically, you will need to attach the two smaller pieces of wood onto the main piece. For my loom, I allowed for 8 inches of space between the two attached pieces of wood.
I drilled the two small pieces onto the main board. If you notice I have strangely shaped pieces attached, it is just because that is what I had available. In the future, if I make a really nice loom, I will use 1 inch pieces attached to the main board. Then, I drilled holes and attached two eye-bolts so I could place the large bolt through (see image for closeup). And, the ridges on the screw act as a nice holder and separator for the thread. Lastly, I added eye-bolts an inch or so behind the attached top pieces of wood. These are placed there so the beginning and end of the threads can be attached to something. If using a basic setup like this, you should also have some duct tape on hand, in case it's needed to help you keep the threads tightly attached.
I made two bracelets and provided two design templates. The larger (wider) bracelet used 11 threads and the smaller one used 9 threads.Once you figure out what you want to create, you can then cut out the correct number of threads, which are generally called warp threads. Tie a knot at the end, around the eye bolt if necessary, to attach or secure the top part to the weaving loom. Some people create a loop knot and just place it over the eye-bolt. Then, use your hand to figure out the thread placement, so the pieces can be separated and the other end tied to the other eye-bolt. This may be a little tricky with this basic loom, but once you get it, just be sure the threads are nice and tight. It will make beading a whole lot easier. My method to achieve the tight threads was to attach the top part to the eye-bolt and then I pulled it tight and actually wrapped the bottom end around the bottom eye-bolt and slapped on some duct tape. I didn't really need to fully tie a knot. I Just needed it to be tight and secure. Do whatever works for you. Then, I separated the threads slightly so that they went along the ridges of the bolt and were ready to be used.
Next, take out your needle and thread it with a few feet of the bead weaving thread. This part was a bit tricky for me, since the needle openings are so very small. But, I managed to get it threaded eventually.
Step 3: Start Beading on the Loom
In the last step, you cut off a piece of thread about 3 feet in length. You threaded the needle, and now you just need to tie a knot near where you will begin beading (left-side warp thread). As you tie this knot, be sure to leave four to six inches of excess thread. When you're all done beading, you will go back and deal with that extra little thread. For me, I just tie the knot and take that extra thread strand and duct tape it down with the other threads.
Take a look at your pattern to figure out what color beads are needed. Then, pick up the beads with the needle and pull the beads onto the thread and then underneath the warp threads. Once the beads are in between the warp threads, you hold them pushed up with your one hand and with the other hand, take the needle and go through those beads again (this time above the warp threads). This is hard to explain, but extremely easy when you're doing it. So, I made a super short video demonstration for you here. I will add more videos later, to cover other steps. For now, I have lots of images to guide you through the process. So, keep completing the rows of beading until the bracelet is long enough.
Step 4: Finishing the Beaded Bracelet on the Loom
Continue the rows of bead weaving until the bracelet is long enough. I created two bracelets and the first one I used a scrap piece of suede as a backing. I actually really love (and prefer) the style of the second bracelet I made, which does not have that backing.
To complete the ends of the bracelet, to ensure it will not unravel, I used the method in this video here. But, I didn't go back and forth as many times as this person did. I felt it was safe to just got back and forth a few times with the thread. I then, tied off the end of it. Then, I took my fabric glue and I pretty much placed glue all over those end areas to saturate those threads. Now it will be extra-secure because it was knotted in the end and then covered in glue. I let it dry thoroughly overnight.
The next morning, I removed it all from the loom and took a pair of scissors and cut off the excess thread. For the larger bracelet, I cut a piece of suede and then glued the beaded piece to it. I then cut out a couple other pieces of suede and glued them together. For the second bracelet (my favorite one) I ended up doing the same process as the other one, with the gluing and the trimming. Then, I decided to cut four small little rectangles of suede and basically sandwich the end area of thread. I glued it before sandwiching it in between the suede pieces. I then placed the ends underneath the weight of the wood loom and let it dry completely. I trimmed off any excess (see images). Then, I took out the metal clasps and my multi-tool. I used the flat part of the pliers to begin to close the clasp slightly. Then, I slid it over the end piece of suede. Then, I fully closed the clasp onto the end piece and trimmed off any excess. I did the same thing for the other side. I then needed to attach several loops and another clasp and that was it!
The bracelets are now done! The whole process, especially the actual beading, was fun and also relaxing at the same time. I really enjoyed it and look forward to my next beaded project. If you have any questions, please let me know. If I have time, I will be uploading more short videos that might help you through the project.