Finishing Off Loom Beadwork with the Selvage Method

Weaving a Selvage and Using Clamp Ends

Crystal Bead Loom Bracelet
No need to limit yourself to seed beads with your bead loom. Lisa Yang

A selvage edge is woven to prevent threads from unraveling. With the selvage method of finishing off your loom beadwork, you use the weft thread to stitch the warp threads into a selvage at either end of the beadwork. You can then sew the selvage onto fabric, glue it to the back of your beadwork, or secure it within ribbon clamp ends to make a bracelet, as shown here.

Note: This tutorial demonstrates finishing off using a fixed frame or upright bead loom without a shedding device. The process is...MORE slightly different if you use an upright loom with a shedding device.

  • 01 of 16

    Selvage Finish Materials

    Ribbon Clamps
    Ribbon clamps and selvage edge are one way to finish a loom bracelet. Lisa Yang

    You'll need the following materials to finish off your beadwork using the selvage method in this tutorial. These are in addition to the supplies you'll need to create your loom beadwork, such as a loom, warp and weft threads or cords, a beading needle, embroidery scissors, and beads:

    • E6000 glue or your choice of epoxy or UV coating resin
    • Two ribbon clamp ends, whose lengths match the width of your beadwork
    • Nylon jaw pliers 
    • Jump rings and a clasp of your choice.
    • Two pairs of flat nose or chain...MORE nose pliers (or one of each) for attaching the jump rings and clasp
    • toothpick to apply glue or resin
    • paper towels

    UV resin is one option to seal selvages because it cures relatively quickly under UV light, is strong, and does not emit strong odors or fumes. E6000 adhesive is a good alternative if you do not use resin.

    Buy E6000 adhesive at Amazon.com

  • 02 of 16

    Leave a Weft Thread Tail Long Enough to Make a Selvage End

    Attach weft thread
    Attach the weft thread with a square knot. Lisa Yang

    When you use the selvage method of finishing off, you should begin your beadwork with an extra long tail of weft thread. The long tail is used to weave the selvage.

    That means that when you prepare your initial length of thread for the weft, its total length should be the length of the tail for the selvage (about 30 inches) plus the length of thread that you like to use to loom your beadwork with.

    If you forget to leave a long weft thread tail, you can still use the selvage technique.  You will...MORE just need to go back and add a new weft thread to the end of your beadwork before making your selvage.

  • 03 of 16

    Complete Your Loom Beadwork and Tie a Half Hitch Knot

    Knot weft and weave selvage
    Knot the weft thread at the end of the beacelet and begin to weave the selvage end. Lisa Yang

    Weave your entire loom beadwork design as usual. When you finish the last row of beadwork, use the weft thread to tie a half hitch knot around the last warp thread or cord.

  • 04 of 16

    Begin to Weave the Selvage

    Weave selvage
    Continue weaving over and under the warp threads to make the selvage. Lisa Yang

    Weave the needle under the last warp thread and up over the next warp thread. Continue weaving over and under until you reach the end of the row. This is called picking.

    Reverse direction, and weave another row of thread. Use your fingers to slide down each row of thread toward the beadwork.

    Continue to 5 of 16 below.
  • 05 of 16

    Complete the First Selvage

    Weave selvage
    The selvage edge needs to fit inside the ribbon clamp. Lisa Yang

    Continue this weaving process until you have enough selvage to completely fill the inside of one of your ribbon clamp ends. In my example, this took about 30 passes with the weft thread.

    Complete the selvage by tying a half-hitch knot over the last warp thread.

  • 06 of 16

    Weave the Second Selvage

    Weave Selvage
    Weave the selvage on the second end. Lisa Yang

    Thread the needle onto the long thread tail at the other end of the beadwork, and weave a matching selvage there.

  • 07 of 16

    Apply Glue or Resin to Both Selvages

    Glue selvage finish
    Apply glue or resin to secure the selvage end. Lisa Yang

    While your beadwork is still on the loom, cover the top surface of each selvage with a coat of E6000 or coating resin.

    Epoxy coating resins, such as Envirotex Lite, require that you mix two equal parts of a resin and a hardener to prepare it. You then pour or paint it on, and give it at least 24 hours to cure.

    While the glue or resin is still wet, use a toothpick to spread it so that it covers the entire selvage.  Allow the glue or resin to dry thoroughly before removing it from the loom.

  • 08 of 16

    Cut the Beadwork Off of the Loom

    Selvage End Loom Finish
    The selvage finishis secured with E6000 glue or resin. Lisa Yang

    To remove the beadwork from your loom, use embroidery scissors to cut the warp threads on either side of the selvage.

    When your glue or resin is completely dry, you can use the same scissors to trim the warps up against both selvages and trim off the remaining weft tails.

    Continue to 9 of 16 below.
  • 09 of 16

    Glue the Clamp Ends to the Selvages

    Selvage Finish
    The ribbon clamp should fit over the entire selvage. Lisa Yang

    With the clamp ends off of the selvages, apply some E6000 to the ends of the selvages. 

    Slide on each clamp end, and center it on your beadwork. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess glue that oozes out. Because the glue is rubbery, you can also pick off excess glue once it starts to dry.

    Set your beadwork aside once more and allow the glue to cure for about 24 hours.

    Buy E6000 craft adhesive at Amazon

  • 10 of 16

    Adding Ribbon Clamp Ends

    Close Ribbon Clamp
    Use plastic jaw pliers to close ribbon clamps. Lisa Yang

    Use nylon jaw pliers to gently squeeze down each of your clamp ends to make their openings slightly narrower.

    The clamp ends need to be just wide enough to slide over your selvages, but do not adjust them while they are on the selvages unless your clamp ends are non-serrated. Serrated clamp ends can easily cut through your selvage and even cause your design to fall apart.

    Buy Nylon Jaw Pliers at Amazon

  • 11 of 16

    Add Glue to RIbbon Clamps

    Ad E6000 blue to ribbon clamp
    Use a toothpick to apply E6000 to inside of the ribbon clamp end. Lisa Yang

     Add a small amount of E6000 adhesive to the inside of the ribbon clamps.  This will ensure the selvage stays inside the ribbon clamps.

  • 12 of 16

    Place the Ribbon Clamp into Place

    Adding ribbon clamp to selvage edge
    Slide the ribbon clamp over the selvage edge. Lisa Yang

     Slide the ribbon clamp into place on the selvage end.  Be sure all selvage is properly covered and the beads are outside the ribbon clamp, especially when you are working with smaller beads that could be broken when the ribbon clamp closes.

    Continue to 13 of 16 below.
  • 13 of 16

    Side View of the Ribbon Clamp

    Open clamp side view
    The open ribbon clamp, side view. Lisa Yang

     The ribbon clamp fully encloses the selvage as seen from the side.

  • 14 of 16

    Close the Ribbon Clamp

    Close ribbon clamp
    Close the ribbon clamp around the selvage. Lisa Yang

     Once the ribbon clamp is properly in place on the loom beadwork, use the nylon jaw pliers.to carefully and securely close them around the selvage. Nylon jaw pliers are necessary to prevent marring the surface of the ribbon clamps.

  • 15 of 16

    Secure Ribbon Clamps - Side View

    Closed Ribbon Clamp
    The closed ribbon clamp should securely hold the selvage. Lisa Yang

     The ribbon clamps will securely grip the selvage and form a neat ending for the beadwork.  The cords will not fray or pull apart.

  • 16 of 16

    Attaching a Clasp

    Crystal Bead Loom Bracelet
    No need to limit yourself to seed beads with your bead loom. Lisa Yang

    After the adhesive in the ribbon clamps has cured, use pliers to attach a clasp to your clamp ends with jump rings.

    If your bracelet is too short, add a length of jewelry chain between one clamp end and clasp part to extend it.  You can also add a charm or dangle to the chain to make the bracelet easier to clasp.

    Edited by Lisa Yang