Bead Weaving 101: Getting Started with Off-Loom Bead Weaving

Bead Weaving 101: Getting Started with Off-Loom Bead Weaving

Bead weaving is a beadwork technique in which seed beads are woven together using thread to create a flat "fabric" or a three-dimensional shape such as a ball, clasp or tube. You can bead weave an entire piece of jewelry, or weave a component to use as part of a project.

Seed beads can be woven together on a bead loom or by hand. This guide will cover the fundamentals of off-loom hand bead weaving including basic skills for getting started, our 3 favorite bead weaving stitches, and a recommended list of supplies. With our step-by-step instructional videos and project tutorials, you'll be bead weaving in no time!

Interested in weaving on a bead loom? See our Bead Looming 101 guide for all things looming including a free blank loom grid to print out and fill in with your own designs and patterns.

Getting Started with Bead Weaving

Before we get to the stitches, let's start with the basics. See our videos below to learn how to choose the right beads and needle for your project, as well as how to condition thread to help prevent fraying, tangling and knotting. Properly conditioned thread makes for easier weaving. Also see how to tie off and add new thread while weaving, and learn how to finish cleanly with the BeadSmith Thread Zap tool.

Our 3 Favorite Bead Weaving Stitches

Though there are a number of stitches used in bead weaving, there are three that stand out for their versatility and popularity. If you're brand new to bead weaving, these are excellent stitches to learn; mastering them will help you learn more advanced stitches. Many other bead weaving stitches are variations on these three popular stitches.

Learn more stitches with illustrated diagrams, videos, and a free blank peyote grid download, in our Free Beading Patterns section.

Flat Even-Count Peyote

The peyote stitch, also known as the gourd stitch, is one of the most well-known and oldest bead weaving stitches. This stitch is very versatile and is great for creating patterns.

Variations on this stitch include Flat Odd-Count Peyote, Multiple-Drop Peyote, Tubular Peyote, and Circular Peyote.

Right Angle Weave

Right angle weave, sometimes referred to as RAW, is worked in repeating units, and can be stitched with one or two needles. Right angle weave is also very versatile and can be made into flat shapes or three dimensional objects easily.

Variations on this stitch include Multiple-Bead Right Angle Weave, Tubular Right Angle Weave, Cubic Right Angle Weave, and Circular Right Angle Weave.

Brick Stitch

The brick stitch, sometimes referred to as the Cheyenne stitch or Comanche stitch, weaves together beads in a stacked pattern similar to bricks on a wall. It is based on the simple ladder stitch, which forms the foundation for building a brick stitch.

Variations on this stitch include Multiple-Drop Brick Stitch, Tubular Brick Stitch, and Circular Brick Stitch.


Bead Weaving Supplies

All you really need to bead weave are some seed beads, a needle and thread, clasps, cord ends, and other embellishments, but you can make a complete project without these.

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