Saturday, 23 August 2014

Tutorial :: Bead loom bracelet

I love working with a bead loom and I'm currently working through some designs and products to add to my shop. In the meantime I thought I'd share a tutorial that I started putting together ages ago for my previous blog but never got round to publishing.

The materials you need are:
A bead loom - you can get one like this from Amazon (not an affiliate link) 
Beads of your choice - I'm using some short bugle beads 
A beading tray - I use a top of something like a tub of Pringles or Bisto
Beading needle, beading thread, scissors, tape measure
The finishing technique I'm using has a bead to fasten the bracelet.

The first step is to cut the warp threads for your loom - these are the ones that go lengthways in your weaving. The length should be the circumference of your wrist plus about 20cm at either end to allow you to secure the bracelet to the loom.

You should cut one more warp thread than you have beads across the width of your bracelet. The bracelet I'm going to make is five beads wide so I cut 6 warp threads.

Knot the warp threads together at both ends and loop the knot over the loom with an even number of threads ether side.

Loop the other end of the warp threads over the other end of the loom. Tighten one end. Then roll any excess length of warp thread round the other roller and tighten.

Use the beading needle to space out the warp threads. You should space out the warp threads to the size of your beads. This may mean leaving a gap in the spacer between threads.

Right, almost done with the set up. Time to add the weft thread which is the one that goes across the warp thread. Simple secure it with a knot to the left hand warp thread. Thread the needle and pass the thread under the warp threads so the needle is on the right hand side.

Woohoo. Time to add some beads. Thread the required number of beads onto your weft thread - in this case it is five beads.
Push them down the thread to the knot and them push them between the warp threads from underneath so they just peak through.

To secure the beads in place you need to pass the needle over the top of the warp threads. This can be a bit tricky but it is important to take time over otherwise your beading will be loose.

Repeat the previous couple of steps - it's great seeing your length of beadwork grow.

Depending on your length of beadwork you may need to move it along your loom. Just loosen the rollers and turn the beadwork to give you space to continue your work. You should angle your complete beading to one side of the roller so that the pin doesn't pucker the beading. Once you've done this tighten your rollers again to give then tension on the warp threads you need to work.

Another thing to note in this image is that I've changed the weft thread. All you need to do when you've used your weft thread is knot it to a warp thread and attach a new one as in the earlier step.

Right you've beaded to the right length. Time to finish off - first fasten off the weft thread by tying a simple knot to the left hand warp thread.

Loosen the rollers and take your beadwork off the loom. Your beadwork will look something like this - threads everywhere. Now for the boring bit - sewing all those threads into the beading.

Firstly sew in the weft threads. To sew in the threads just pass the threaded needle through the beadwork.

Secure by stopping half way through a row and then knotting on the warp thread before finishing passing the thread through the rest of the row.

Now time to add your fastening. I'm adding a bead an loop fastening. At one end of the beadwork take the two central warp threads and thread your needle. This can be quite tricky with a beading needle - it is sometime easier to pass one thread, then the other through the eye of the needle.

To add this fastening thread on three of the beads from your bracelet then a larger bead then one further smaller bead. 

Pass the needle back through the bead starting with the large bead. Sew in the warp threads to secure the fastening.

Sew in all the other warp threads to finish this end of the bracelet.

OK, now for the other end. Again, pick the central two warp threads and thread the needle. Pick up about three beads then drop one of the threads. Add on some more beads - enough to create a loop large enough for your large bead to pass through, but not so large as the bead will slip through. 

Once you've created the loop with one thread, fasten it off in the beadwork and then pick up the other thread. Pass this through the loop in the opposite direction to the way you worked the previous one - this is to strengthen the loop. Again fasten this into the beadwork.

Sew in all the other warp threads. When you've sewn in the ends you should carefully trim these as close to the beadwork as possible.

And there you go, one beautiful beaded bracelet.

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