Free Bead Looming Project with Tila Beads
Looming is a great way to bead the day away. Once the loom is set up and you’re beading, it becomes a meditative process and you truly can get lost in the Zen of it. Pick up a row of beads in the pattern, snap them into place, pass the thread back through, move to the next row.
When it comes to looming with beads, there are many types and brands of looms to choose from as well as many beads, threads, and needles. You can create an unlimited amount of looming patterns using seed beads, shaped beads, mulit-hole beads, fibers, leather, and so many other materials.
This project is made using the Little Ricky loom, designed by Paul Ricks. This type of loom minimizes the warp threads you have to weave in at the end but also, once the length is established, it can’t be changed until you rewarp the loom.
The beads are two-hole Tilas in all sizes, thread is One-G, and I prefer to work with Tulip needles as they hold up to my grip. I recommend you choose a thread best suited to your beads and a needle of your preferences—and be sure to try a looming needle.
How to Loom a Bracelet with Tila Beads
Tila 2-hole beads
1/2 Tila 2-hole beads
1/4 Tila 2-hole beads
Beading or looming needle
1. Following manufacturer’s instructions, warp your loom. This pattern needs 9 warps but you can adjust this to have more or fewer warps to suit your pattern.
OPTIONAL: Weave a warp separator over and under the warps to help keep the threads separated while you establish the first few rows.
Start a weft thread per manufacturer’s instructions. Thread on a needle.
Adding the Beads
2. Pass the thread under the warps and thread on your first row of beads. Pull the thread so you have just about 8-inches of thread between the beads and your weft peg. Work the beads into place within the warps. With your non-dominant hand, push the beads up, then pass the needle back through the beads making sure to be above the warp threads.
NOTE: This can be very tricky and sometimes, the hardest row of the entire project! The warp separator helps—along with some patience.
3. Pass the needle under the warp threads and through the second hole of the beads. TIP: I find it helpful to tip the beads downward so I’m sure I don’t mistakenly go over a warp thread.
Now pass the needle back through the beads, this time working over the warp threads.
4. Repeat Step 2 and 3 until you reach the length needed for your bracelet. Make sure the last row is really tight (this is possibly the second most difficult row in this project).
Remove from the Loom
5. Following manufacturer’s directions, remove the bracelet from the loom.
For this type of loom, the beads need to be shifted to take up the slack the warp threads have in them from being wrapped over the end bars (and why you need the last row to be really tight).
6. Add a needle to the end of one warp thread. String on a few seed beads, the loop for one-half of the clasp, and a few seed beads. Pass the thread into the last row of beadwork and work through enough beads so you can connect the second loop of the clasp end.
Repeat adding seed beads to connect the second half of the clasp. Weave the thread end into the beadwork to secure.
Repeat to connect the other half of the clasp to the other end of the design.
I hope this design inspires you to loom a design or two. Have fun exploring the technique with your favorite beads, colors, and finding ways to work in your favorite materials.
Editor, Beadwork magazine