Bead Looming 101: Beading and Jewelry Making on a Bead Loom
A bead loom is a tool used to weave beads together. Beading looms all have the same basic design with weaving achieved by inserting the weft threads (side to side threads) over and under the stationary warp threads (up and down threads). The warp threads are held in place by tension, and the weft threads, which hold your beads, are woven between the warp threads. The length and width of your finished piece will be determined by the length and number of your warp threads. The Wrapit Loom by Rainbow Loom works a bit differently and more detailed information about that type of bead loom can be found on our Wrapit Loom Product Guide.
Interested in off-loom bead weaving? See our Bead Weaving 101 guide for all things related to bead weaving by hand using popular bead weaving stitches.
Types of Bead Looms
Though all bead looms have the same basic design, there are differences from model to model. If you are just starting out, a kit such as the BeadSmith Bead Loom Kit for Beginners would be a great choice. It is a traditionally designed bead loom and comes with needles, threads and some beads to get you started. Another choice is the Beadalon Jewel Loom which is a compact size that's great for travel. It also has notches to keep your warp thread evenly spaced. A Jewel Loom is included with many of our full Exclusive Beadaholique Loom Bracelet Jewelry Kits.
For a different experience, consider the Ricks Beading Loom. This model leaves only two threads sticking out on each end instead of multiple warp threads like with traditional looms. The Endless Loom by Deb Moffett-Hall goes even further and leaves no warp ends to tie off.
To create ladder-wrap style bracelets, pick up a Wrapit Loom by Rainbow Loom.
How to Use a Bead Loom
To use a traditional bead loom, first set up your warp threads. The length of your warp threads and the number of threads will determine the length and width of your final project. For the length, do not forget to take into account the length that will be added by finishing components such as a clasp and end tubes. Next, load up your needle and weft threads with your seed beads. Loom needles are recommended since they are much longer than traditional needles and will allow you to make a complete pass through the width of your warp threads. You can use just about any seed beads for bead looming: Miyuki Delicas are wonderful because they lock in place nicely due to their uniform shape. Toho seed beads and Czech seed beads are great too because they have rounded edges for a traditional loom look.
If using a loom that leaves numerous warp threads at the ends, back your finished piece with Ultra Suede, ribbon, or other beading foundation materials. Work made on the Rick's Beading Loom using size 11/0 Miyuki Delicas can be finished with special Miyuki slide end tubes for a polished look.
Bead looming is best learned visually and through hands-on practice. View our instructional videos to learn how to use a bead loom.
Bead Loom Instructional Videos
Learn how to use bead looms with instructional videos from our design team. Five types of looms are demonstrated, as well as instructions for finishing off a loom woven piece.
Featured Video: How to Use a Bead Loom
- How to Use the Ricks Beading Loom
- How to Use the Jewel Loom Beading Loom
- How to Attach Loom Pieces for Longer Projects
- How to Finish and Back Bead Loom Weaving
- How to Use Slide End Tubes for Miyuki Delica Bead Weaving
- How to Use the Wrapit Loom by Rainbow Loom
- How to Use the Endless Loom
- How to Read a Bead Loom Pattern
- How to Add a Beaded Edge to Loom Work
- Quick Tip: Switching to a Shorter Needle to Tie Off Loom Work
Bead Loom Patterns and Project Tutorials
Find inspiration and step-by-step instructions for creating loomed jewelry with our free bead loom patterns and project tutorials. Want to create your own pattern? You can download and print our free blank bead loom grid [PDF/165kb] to create your own designs!
Coachella Loom Bracelet
Funky Loom Lanyard
Arrowhead Tango Bracelet
Evening Romance Ribbon Choker
Sundance Escape Loom Bracelet
Lagoon Loom Bracelet
Bead Loom Supplies
Besides a bead loom, you'll also need seed beads, thread, and needles. You'll also need backing material or end tubes depending on your final piece and finishing technique. See some of our designers' favorites in our Bead Looming 101 Collection or browse popular categories below.
Get everything you need, including the bead loom, with an Exclusive Beadaholique Loom Jewelry Kit! (Refill kits do not include a bead loom.)