Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tutorial :: Your first bead weaving project

I struggled to find new bead weaving projects for myself to help me improve my own bead weaving skills as part of my 'craft of the month' so I thought I'd post something to help others who've never tried this craft before. Here's a little tutorial on how to make a beautiful beaded bracelet such as this...

shiny silver bead loom bracelet

Gather your materials

materials needed to make a bead loom bracelet

You will need a bead loom, beading thread, beading needle, beads, a bead tray (I use the top from a tub of Pringles), a large bead, sharp scissors and a tape measure (to make sure your warp threads are the right length for your bracelet).

If you don't have a bead loom try using an embroidery hoop such as in this tutorial.

Decide how many beads wide you want your bracelet. You'll need one more warp thread than you have beads. Measure round your wrist and then add about 20 cm. Cut the warp threads all the same length and then tie them together in a knot at each end making sure that the tension of the threads is fairly even.

Setting up your loom

setting up a bead loom

Hook your knotted end over the sticky out bit on your loom (I'm sure there's a technical term but you know what I mean). Wind the threads round the roller being careful not to twist the threads too much.
Tighten each roller until you have good tension. Then start spacing out the warp threads.

Making your first row

Making your first row

Before you can start weaving you need to add your weft thread. To do this simply knot it to the outermost warp thread on the left hand side (if you are right handed). Now is the time to thread your beading needle. Beading needles are very fine and that means they have a very small eye so take your time to thread it - there are some good tips here.

Thread on the number of beads you need to fill all the gaps between the warp threads - in my example the bracelet is 5 beads wide. Pass your needle underneath the warp threads and push the beads up between the warp threads.

The pass your needle back through the beads making sure as you pass the needle through the holes it is above the warp thread as this is how the beads are secured - with the weft thread passing both below and above the warp threads.

Changing threads and adding length

adding more rows to your bracelet

However long you cut your weft thread (if you cut it too long you'll get tangles) you'll need to change threads. Just tie of the old thread, leaving enough tail to weave it in at the end. Then add another weft thread just like you did earlier (you'll weave in the ends later). And keep going adding rows until your bracelet is the right length. After the last row, secure your weft thread with a knot on the warp thread.

Finishing off

Take your beadwork off the loom. Start by weaving in all the weft thread ends. To weave in just pass the needle back through enough beads until it is secure (you can also knot between beads to secure the thread). You'll use some of the warp threads ends to create the fastening. Thread the middle two warp threads of one end onto the needle. The thread on three small beads, the large bead and one further small bead. Pass the needle back through these beads (skipping the last bead you added as this will secure the fastening. Then weave in the warp threads at this end of the bracelet.

Now switch to the other end of the bracelet where you'll add the loop part of the fastening. As with the other end, take the middle two warp threads and pass them through the eye of the needle. You need to add enough small beads to create a loop that the big bead just fits through. Then pass the needle back through a few beads to create the loop. Weave in the ends. Once you've woven in all the ends trim them as close to the beadwork as possible without accidentally snipping any of the warp of weft threads and you have one finished bracelet ...

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