Discover: Beading on a Loom

According to sources, loom beading is an invention of North American First Nations groups; however, cultures around the world feature beaded designs done on a beading loom.

Fast-forward to today and you’ll find a myriad of bead looms in all shapes and sizes constructed out out a variety of materials, including wood, metal pipe, wire and plastic. You can loom round seed beads, cylinder beads and 2-hole beads; all will give you different effects. In spite of all the differences, all bead looms work the same:

Warps are created down the length of the loom; the more columns of beads you have, the more warps will be strung. Most looms have a rod or plate to hold warp threads in place and under tension.

Wefts of thread and beads are woven across the warps and form the designs. In the majority of cases, the weft thread crosses twice – through the beads below the warp threads and back through the beads above the warp threads, securing the beads in place.

Most beaders are scared off of beading on a loom because of all the warp ends. It can be time-consuming and fiddly. Some looms on the market feature a way to reduce the number of warps that need to be finished. There are a variety of ways to add a clasp to loomwork such as finishing off with a piece of leather and adding a tying cord; ribbon ends that ‘bite’ the first/last row of beads; and tube ends (my personal favourite) that enclose the knots and the first row of beads on both ends. A clasp is then added with a jump ring and a second jump ring to receive the clasp.

Upcoming Beading on a Loom classes at BeadFX:

Loom Series (3 weeks)
Maria Rypan
Tuesday, April 23; 5:30 – 8:30pm
Continues Tuesday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 3, same times.

Stretchy Bracelets on the Endless Loom
Pamela Kearns
Sunday, May 5; 11:30am – 4:00pm

Click on the class title to see complete information including course description and applicable fees. Click on the instructors’ name to see other classes they are teaching.

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