Bead Looming 101: Where to Start
Learning to create loom jewelry opens a world of possibilities for jewelry designs. You can loom bracelets, necklaces, earrings, belts, headbands, bag straps, and more. One of the greatest appeals of loom pieces is the ease in which you can create so many different designs. Unlike bead weaving where you often add one bead at a time, loom beading allows you to add entire rows of beads at once. These rows lay in nice straight lines which also makes pattern making easy. Another appeal of looming is how relatively fast you can create your designs. Loom beading is a great for beaders of all ages and skill levels. In this blog post, I will share where to start if you are new to looming and some recommendations to get you started.
If you do not already have a loom, start your journey by watching the video: Overview of Beading Looms. There are several different types to choose from and this video will go over their similarities and differences.
Featured Video: Overview of Beading Looms
In a lot of projects at Beadaholique, we use the Jewel Loom. This is a nice, economical loom that works well for all skill levels. To see how to string it and how to bead on it, please watch the video: How to Use the Jewel Loom Beading Loom. There is also a smaller Jewel Loom, the Baby Jewel Loom, which is great for earrings. For beginners, my favorite beads are Toho round beads or Miyuki round beads, size 11/0 or 8/0, and Nymo thread.
Featured Video: How to Use the Jewel Loom Beading Loom
Bead looming uses a lot of thread so it is not uncommon to have to add more thread as you loom. Thankfully this is easy to do and is not obvious in your finished design. You will also need to tie off your thread at the end. Here is a good video to help teach you these two objectives: How to Tie Off and Add More Thread in Loom Work. One tip is to have a second shorter needle handy for your tying off. The loom needle is quite long and can be challenging to tie knots with. If you have a regular beading needle nearby, you can swap it for the loom needle when you need to tie knots.
Featured Video: How to Tie Off and Add More Thread in Loom Work
Finally, you will need to add some sort of clasp or end. One of the easiest ends to attach is a slide end. It essentially covers the last row of beads on either side of your work by literally just sliding over them and securing at both ends. It creates a very clean look to the design and will allow you to then attach a clasp, chain, jump ring, earring hook, or other finding to your beadwork. A good video to watch to see the technique (which can then be applied to any type of slide end) is shown below.
Featured Video: How to Add a Beadslide Clasp to Loom Work
For even more videos on how to loom, including more advanced and specialized techniques, please see our over 40 bead looming tutorial videos and over 70 bead looming projects. We also have a dedicated techniques guide, Bead Looming 101, that will also help you get started with bead looming.
If you have any questions about bead looming, please leave them in the comments and I will try to help!