Beading Tools: Why I Love My Mirrix Loom and Basic Loom Beading Questions Answered
Of all my favorite beading tools, I think I love my Mirrix beading and tapestry loom for how easily I can combine my favorite fibers and threads with beads for unique, artistic beading projects. It’s not every beading tool that sets my creativity on fire like my beading loom — it brings back memories of my mother’s enormous floor loom from when I was a kid, watching her create intricate fiber tapestries with soft, colorful yarns.
Learning the basic weaving techniques for working on a loom is easy to do, and if you’ve ever thought about expanding your crafting skills to include beading on a loom, I can highly recommend the Mirrix looms as a great place to get started!
If you’re interested in learning more about weaving beads on a loom, I’ve answered a few basic questions about getting started with a beading loom.
1. Why weave beads on a loom?
Weaving beads on a loom gives you the same look as when you use square stitch, but the actual weaving goes much faster. Using a loom for weaving beads also makes it easier to adjust the tension in the beadwork, something that many beginners find difficult when working in square stitch.
2. What type of thread is best for bead-weaving on a loom? Thread choice is always personal, depending on what kind of bead loom you’re using and what kind of beading project you’re creating. Claudia and Elena of Mirrix Looms prefer the C-Lon beading thread because it’s strong, comes in a wide range of colors, and holds up without fraying. I prefer to use my favorite Nymo D on a cone or spool (not a bobbin) for many of the same reasons. If you’re creating a piece like an evening bag or something else that needs to hold its shape, you may want to experiment with using Fireline or WildFire beading threads.
3. What’s the difference between warp threads and weft threads? Your warp threads are the threads that you string going up and down on your loom. These are the threads that will nestle between your beads when you begin weaving. The weft threads are what you thread into your needle when you string your beads for weaving. Weft threads get tucked into the beadwork as you go along. The warp threads are what you will finish off after you’ve finished your beading project and have cut your piece off of your loom.
4. How tight should the tension be on my loom? When setting up your loom, you want your warp threads to have an even tension — not too loose, not too tight. The more you weave beads with a loom, the better you’ll be able to judge the tension of the warp threads.
5. What other beading tools should I have to start weaving beads on a loom? Other essential beading tools to have handy would include a good, sharp scissor or thread cutter; a tapestry needle or your favorite beading needle; a pair of chain nose pliers or a thread puller for gently helping your needle through a tight spot; a ruler or tape measure; your favorite bead board, mat, or ceramic dish to hold your beads; and good magnification, if you need it or if you’re working with smaller beads.
6. How many warp threads do I need for my pattern? Because you’ll have one warp thread on either side of each bead in your pattern, you’ll need one warp thread for each bead in each row of your pattern, plus one extra warp thread on the outside. So if you’re making a piece of beadwork that is 15 beads across, you’ll need 16 warp threads on your loom.
7. How do I finish off my warp threads? There are many ways to finish off your warp threads, and this is just one place where you can get very creative with your loomed beadwork! There are a couple of things you can do to finish off your warp threads:
- When you first start weaving your piece of beadwork, work a “header” and “footer”, using just plain beading thread for an inch or so at the beginning and ends of your loom beading. After you remove your piece from the loom, tie your warp ends into this piece of thread weaving, and either glue it against the back of your piece or cover it with a small scrap of faux leather (like Ultrasuede) and finish the edges with a beaded whip stitch.
- Use your warp threads to make fringe on one or both ends of your piece.
- Weave your warp ends right into your finished loomwork.
Why not experiment with a no-warp technique for your next piece of beadwork? Mirrix Looms now has a no-warps bead-weaving kit that you can use to create a sweet button bracelet while learning how to create a piece of beadwork with no warps to weave in! This fun beaded bracelet kit includes all of the Japanese cylinder beads you need to create a loomed bracelet, plus a pewter button for the closure, a tapestry needle, and a complete set of bars, hooks, and cord for setting up a no-warps beading loom. All you need to supply is your favorite beading thread and a pair of scissors! Get your No Warp-Ends Checkerboard Bracelet beading kit and see just how quick and easy it can be when you want to do bead-weaving with a loom!
Do you love to weave beads on a loom? Do you have any tips or techniques to share with us? Leave a comment and tell us your best loom beading hints here on the Beading Daily blog!
P.S. If you don’t have a Mirrix beading and tapestry loom yet, you can find two of Mirrix’s most popular beading looms in the Beading Daily Shop, too! And for great loom beading tutorials and techniques, make sure you spend some time at the Mirrix Looms website.