How to Choose the Best Beading Loom for You, Part II
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced beader beginning a new project, it can be difficult to know which bead weaving loom to choose. There are so many options available, each with their own specialties and strengths. On the other hand, maybe you have a loom but find it frustrating or not quite the right type for your project? Help is here!
In How to Choose the Best Beading Loom for You, Part I, I tested out several looms easily available to any beader, sharing the benefits of each one. In Part II, I continue the research, testing three more looms for you to consider when picking the right loom for your next bead looming project.
Throughout this article, I refer to terms and phrases associated with bead weaving on a loom, some that may not be familiar to you. For more information on terms and best loom practices check out “How to Use a Bead Loom: 10 Things You Must Know” by Megan Lenhausen. You can also find all the help you need with Tammy Honaman’s Getting Started Bead Weaving Series: Learn How to Bead on a Loom course.
Chenille Kraft Loom
The Chenille Kraft loom is an affordable lightweight loom, ideal for those just starting out. It is very easy to set up and features a spiral end which helps keep the warp threads from crossing while you’re weaving.
One thing to note is it was a little challenging to keep the tension consistent as I worked a beading pattern. As promised, the spiral kept my warp threads separated, which is important when weaving beads, but it also shifted occasionally throwing off my tension.
Available through Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, this loom assembles easily without tools and includes instructions, needles, thread, and a variety of seed beads to get you started.
The loom can accommodate a design that is seven inches long by two and a half inches wide. Think of all the designs this would work for—bracelets, earrings, and components. If your design calls for a loom with a larger format, there is another version available, which expands your design possibilities to include headbands, pouches, and anything else you can dream up.
Precision Bead Loom
The Precision Bead Loom is a durable loom made with select hardwood, yet still lightweight and portable. This loom is perfect for travel, as it has premade grooves that are deep enough to keep your warp threads from shifting until you want to move them.
Also distributed by Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, this loom comes as four wooden pieces that fit together for stress-free assembly without tools. It also contains straightforward instructions for assembly, warping, and finishing your project. With only four pieces, the loom doesn’t take up much space after disassembling for storage.
The Precision Bead Loom works for projects within the measurements of seven inches long and five inches wide, making it a wonderful option for small and medium size projects. However, if you’re making a larger project, this may not be the right loom for you.
Mirrix 5″ Lorelai, 8″ Lani, and 12″ Little Guy Looms
If you’re looking for a more traditional bead weaving experience, Mirrix offers a variety of looms for bead and tapestry weaving. Options for beading include the 5″ Lorelai, 8″ Lani, and 12″ Little Guy looms, all professional-quality. They are durable, provide even tension, as well as are versatile, and portable.
Built for a lifetime of use, Mirrix looms are ideal if you’re just starting out or if you’re a serious bead weaver. All Mirrix looms are multifunctional and many can be adapted with accessories, expanding the use of your loom — they are also designs with portability and storage in mind. These looms are more expensive than many of the other looms better suited for beginners, but they are an investment that can be passed to the next generation.
As an aside, Mirrix looms are made in the United States at Sunshine House, a facility that provides supported employment for people with physical and mental disabilities. You can buy directly from Mirrix or find their looms at a variety of different distributors.
Which looms do you use? Do you have any advice for using specific looms? Please leave your tips in the comments below! Be sure to check out Part I for more options to find the perfect loom for what you want to do.
If you are looking for your next loomed project, Lindsay Burke’s loomed bracelets including Arizona Sky Bracelet featured in Quick + Easy Beadwork 2015, Free Spirit Bracelet featured in Quick + Easy Beadwork 2018, and Mission-Inspired Loom Bracelet featured in Beadwork April/May 2016 are fun, simple options (pictured in top image).
Assistant Editor, Beadwor magazine
Find more on looms and looming projects at the Interweave Store.