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How To Build Your Own Bead Loom

Updated on September 18, 2008

I've been an avid beader for many years. I love making beaded strips for belts and hatbands etc, but often the small commercial size looms would frustrate me to no end, having to loosen screws and roll up my finished work. Being on a tight budget at the time, and having little money for crafty things, one day i decided to see if i could build a loom that i could make with materials i had laying around at home, and at the same time, provide an easy to manage way of beading long strips. Here is a step by step tutorial of my design that has lasted for me for over 10 years and is still going strong, and cost me nothing to build.


  • 1x6 board of any kind at least 4 feet long
  • wood glue
  • 6 wood screws
  • screwdriver
  • toothpicks
  • duct tape

Step By Step Tutorial

Take your 1x6 board and cut it in to three pieces. Cut one long piece about 3 or 4 feet. It depends on the length of the beaded pieces you want to make. I made mine 36 inches long. If you are only making hatbands you could build a much smaller loom. You need two pieces of 1x6 for the sides. Make them about 6 inches long.

Lay the long board flat and glue the two small pieces on so it looks like the picture below. Reinforce the boards by adding 2 wood screws at each end. This is because when you are winding nylon thread tightly across the loom, it causes a lot of pressure on the end boards, and you will want to make sure those end boards have no chance of bending.

In the center of each small end piece. place a small wood screw in the center. Do not screw completely in. These screws will act as anchors for your thread.

Take your toothpicks and glue them on so that most of the toothpick is attached to the board and the remaining part sticks above the board. These will act as separators for your rows of thread. You could also attach a comb to the board instead of toothpicks, or a spring of some kind, anything that will separate your strings evenly and not too far apart. As an added reinforcement, i wrapped strong duct tape around the glued part of the toothpicks. Rugged and simple in design, but it works very well and lasts for years, giving you a chance to spend your money on beads and patterns instead.


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    • Jacobb9205 profile image

      Jacob Barnard 2 years ago from Gloucestershire

      Awesome tutorial, thank you!

    • Night Writer profile image

      Night Writer 4 years ago from Canada

      Im not really sure if you could join two pieces together or not. When I use my home made loom I generally know how long I want my piece to be, and i made my loom quite long to accommodate most anything i want to make. You could make looms of different sizes perhaps, so that you are not wasting your thread. If you are unsure, you might be better off using the store bought looms that allow you to roll up your warp threads for cases where the piece is longer than the loom.

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      RandyH32 4 years ago

      What if you discover you porject is longer than my loom is there a way to attach tow loom patterns that are already finished?

    • Night Writer profile image

      Night Writer 5 years ago from Canada

      Thats fantastic! Glad it's workin for you.

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      virginia 5 years ago

      I had my husband cut it all out for me and i cut wire hander to use instead of tooth picks i hot glued them and i still taped i works geat

    • profile image

      indygirl39 5 years ago

      cant wait to try, looks very easy , thanks for the tip

    • profile image

      Nayada 5 years ago

      I did mine out of narrow postal box, glued calms and plastic screws (i had left from some other projects). Now once i tried it i'm going to either invest in one bigger or just make one like here:)

    • profile image

      Denise in FL 6 years ago

      I have to admit that I have been looking for different ways to make a loom.. and your post is by far, the easiest and most ecomincal way of making your own loom. Thanks!

    • profile image

      woodsmen 6 years ago

      really like the idea. ive seen things like the bead works at shows but they never told us how they did it. now i see how to make my own loom and plan to start making the bilts and anything else i can do. the skys the liment now. thanks a lot. lets get beading

    • profile image

      deelo 6 years ago

      i didn't make this yet but it looks really eazy i have 2 wait for my dad 2 come becuse he has to cut the wood im only 11 yrs old anyway thanks really appreachet it :)

    • Handmade-Crafts profile image

      Handmade-Crafts 7 years ago

      Brilliant idea. :-)

    • profile image

      trisha 7 years ago

      thanks for the tip i will try it onee day , i love beeing but do not have a noth money to buy an expensive 'loom , this helped loads


    • profile image

      Ha 7 years ago

      Thank you . Thank you Thank you.

      I'm just a starter and don't want to waste my budget with a pricey loom ,coz it's hard to find.

      Thank you so much for your tutorial , it's really help me.

    • profile image

      Cyn 7 years ago

      I saw a handmade loom very similar to this which had many little shallow grooves cut into the tops if the boards with a very thin saw or file to separate the threads. It was sealed well with polyurethane which made it smooth, and not likely to catch on the threads.

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      Diana 7 years ago

      Hey Sammy! Im also thriteen, and I have a bead loom set I got at cosco, i didn't want it at first but it seemed fun and now im addicted. its quite easy, i learned fast from the book but it has diagrams. ill try to explain using words, but first, do you want to make braclets and such using beads, or fabric?

    • profile image

      Sammy 7 years ago

      The previous comment was mine. I didn't think that I could post a comment unless I had an account. So I used her name.

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      xjlisa 7 years ago

      I'm only thirteen, and I lost the instructions to the bead loom that I bought. But whenever I look up on how to thread one, it says like warp and weft. I looked up the definition of those words and it didn't help at all. Do you have a page about threading a beading loom?

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      xjlisa 8 years ago

      I'm gonna make this! Beadgirl you mentioned a coil spring. I went looking at the beadloom in this months (Fed 2009) Bead & Button mag. and the $154.00 bead loom there uses a copper coil spring! If a coil spring is good enough to use on an expensive loom; it is good enough for mine!

      Thank you for taking the time to share with those of us who love to bead, but are on a strict budget!

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      AJ 8 years ago

      using a small spring works better than toothpicks

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      Slartibartfast 8 years ago

      I used a comb which I glued to each end of the loom. That works quite well too.

    • Moonmaiden profile image

      Fayme Zelena Harper 8 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      I want to make a vertical beading loom. If you happen to have a tutorial on that let me know.

    • Night Writer profile image

      Night Writer 8 years ago from Canada

      your very welcome! :)

    • profile image

      flounder 8 years ago

      Thanks for posting this. It is by far the simplest guide I have found so far and looks very functional. I'll make one today. Thanks again!

    • Night Writer profile image

      Night Writer 9 years ago from Canada

      Beadgirl...thanks for the tip. At the time i didn't have any nails small enough to do that, but you are right that's a great idea. I know people who have used a spring of some sort also to keep warp threads separate. You could even secure a comb to the loom with the all the little bristles pointing up to create the same dividing effect.

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      Beadgirl 9 years ago

      Sorry, forgot to say the project looks good and sturdy. Thanks for the information, plan to build one! Appreciate your taking the time to do this for us beginners!

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      beadgirl 9 years ago

      YOu might want to consider hammering some nails in, evenly spaced instead of the toothpicks. Like the macrame circle we all used to make from a spool of thread and some nails

    • Night Writer profile image

      Night Writer 9 years ago from Canada

      your very welcome :)

    • profile image

      borderline 9 years ago

      I haven't made this project yet, but it seems to be quite straightforward & easy to make. Thank you for taking the tme to post this. Thalia

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