Get Started Beading on a Loom

A bead loom is a device used to weave beads into a cloth-like beaded fabric. It can be used to create strips of flat-beadwork or larger sized beaded panels that can be incorporated into purses used as artwork. In loom beadwork, the beads align in a row and column formation.

Loom beading is faster than off-loom bead stitches but requires some additional step to set up the loom before you can begin.  Review the following sections for an introduction to loom beading. Click on any of the links to get...MORE more detailed information about a loom work topic.

  • 01 of 08
    A wood frame bead loom
    A wood frame bead loom. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    There is a wide variety of bead looms available, but they all have one thing in common. They are designed to hold warp threads under consistent tension to help weave beads on the weft threads.

    One of the best thing about bead looms is that you can successfully weave beads using a flat economy loom or a more expensive upright loom. Learn more about the similarities and differences between wire frame bead looms, a wood frame fixed looms, adjustable frame bead looms, continuous warp bead looms and...MORE upright bead looms.

  • 02 of 08
    Warp dents on a bead loom
    Warp dents on a bead loom. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    All bead looms are made up of several basic parts.  Learning the names of the parts and their function in the bead weaving process make it easier to learn loom beading and to follow project patterns and instructions.

  • 03 of 08
    C-lon beading cord
    C-lon beading cord. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Once you've decided on a type of beading loom and understand the name and purpose of its parts, it's time to go loom shopping. The simplest of bead looms can be purchased at your local craft store, but for most other types, you will need to look to online retailers.

    This list also includes online suppliers that sell other loom beading supplies you'll need, such as needles and thread.

  • 04 of 08

    How to Warp a Bead Loom

    Warping a loom for winding
    Warping a loom for winding. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    The first step in any loom beading project is to attach your warp threads. The method you use to warp your loom depends on the style of your loom, the length of your beadwork, and whether you plan to use a traditional beading method or one of the "no-warps" methods.

    Refer to the following articles for more information about how to wrap a bead loom.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    A loom pattern in use
    A loom pattern in use. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Learning to read a loom bead pattern will open up lots of design and style options for your beadwork. Learn how to understand the pattern format, keep track of your place in the pattern, organize your beads for loom stitching and more. This project uses the Moroccan Coral Bracelet pattern as an example.

  • 06 of 08
    Beads stitched on a loom
    Beads stitched on a loom. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    The most basic technique for weaving beads on a loom involves stringing a row of beads on a weft thread, bringing them up beneath the warps, and then passing the needle back through the beads on top of the wraps.  Learn all of the loom bead weaving steps from setting up your warp threads to attaching the weft thread and more.

  • 07 of 08
    An old weft thread being trimmed
    An old weft thread being trimmed. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    When you weave longer pieces, the weft thread you're working with may begin to run out. Refer to this article for the technique on how to start a new one.

  • 08 of 08

    How to Finish Off Your Beadwork

    Warp threads ready to be woven in
    Warp threads ready to be woven in. © Chris Franchetti Michaels

    Finishing off is the process of weaving in the loose threads on your beadwork and attaching or creating a class (if your design is a bracelet or necklace). The biggest challenge with this step is finding a way to manage all of the warp threads that remain on your beadwork after you remove it from the loom. There are several different ways to finish off your beadwork.

    Alternately, you can avoid having so many warp threads to deal with if you...MORE use a "no-warps" weaving method. Learn more about no warp methods for loom beadwork using one of the links below.

    Edited by Lisa Yang