Adventures in Bead Looming!

Unlike my last post, this one is NOT about my feelings – this post is about BEADS because omg, I learned something new, you guys. I taught myself how to use a Rick’s Beading Loom!

So, here’s an embarrassing story – I think I’ve had this loom for at least four years. And I just opened in this month. Oops! Beadsmith sent us a free one at work (Beads Direct USA) to see if it was something we wanted to sell and we ultimately decided against it because shipping something that big can be a big pain – but my boss said I could keep the free one that they had sent! I was super excited and then put it in my bead room and forgot about it for YEARS.

But my sister-in-law recently got into bead looming (the ONLY other beader in my family!) and I was inspired to pull this one out and finally give it a try.

I wasn’t super excited at the prospect of using beading thread instead of my beloved Fireline, but my recent obsession with fringe earrings has helped me get over that a bit. For these projects, I think I used S-Lon thread in size D for everything.

I haven’t tried a traditional loom setup, but it seems like the way you set up the Rick’s Beading loom is a little different and one of the bonuses is that you only end up with two warp threads. I haven’t tried the other method, but that sounded good to me. I learned how to set it up from this super helpful video.

Not too complicated, huh? For my first piece, I had a Beadslide clasp that I wanted to use, so I decided to use 8/0’s and do a super simple striping pattern so that I could focus on getting the technique right. It was really easy and worked up super quickly.

I did end up measuring the clasp wrong, though, so my Beadslide clasp didn’t fit until I added narrower rows to each side using regular old square stitch. Apparently, I needed to make the bracelet nine beads wide, instead of ten. It didn’t end up quite as neat on the ends as I would have liked, but it’s not bad for a first try.

I did really fall in love with the color combination. It’s just a repeating pattern of matte gray, pale yellow, light green, and matte silver, but I think it’s really pretty. I’ve got to remember to pair pale yellow with cool tones more often.

After that, I immediately dialed the difficulty level way up and decided to make a freeform piece incorporating leftover two-hole beads from old projects. It was MUCH trickier! I had to fit in three beads per warp thread, which made things a bit more complicated, without taking into account the extra work of keeping track of the two-hole beads.

The different sized beads made things a little lumpier than I generally like and I feel like I maybe should have used a thicker thread for the warp threads to give it a bit more spine. Also! Keeping patterns freeform is really hard for me. But I like how it turned out AND since it was three 8/0’s wide I was able to use my second Beadslide clasp properly.

She’s a little uneven, but it adds character, right?

After that, I decided I didn’t love working with 8/0’s (especially on such thin thread) and decided to try something with Delicas. I was hoping that more precise beads with a lower profile would make those edges a little neater. I arranged a little rainbow with the Delica beads in my stash and used some square stitch graph paper I got online to draw out a simple chevron pattern with a black border.

It was SO much fun, omg. I really enjoyed working with the Delica beads. It was slower than the 8/0’s obviously, but the neat way they stacked up together was incredibly satisfying. Watching it grow row by row was soothing to my soul.

I incorporated the little bronze dots into the black border because I knew the hardware was going to be antiqued bronze in color – that’s the only ribbon clamp that I had. I think it works nicely with the piece!

I’m not completely in love with the Rick’s Beading Loom. You have to know the exact length of your piece before you start and can’t adjust as you go, which can be annoying. And the method of stringing that allows you to end with only two warp threads leaves these tiny little thread loops on the edges. They get covered very easily if you use a ribbon clamp like in the center bracelet, but it kinda got in the way of the BeadSlide clasp on the other two.

But I’m also not super excited by the idea of weaving in a million warp threads after a project and this seems to be the best compromise, so I’m willing to work with it. I’m definitely interested in making more of these loom bracelets – especially now that I’ve discovered how much more I enjoy using the 11/0’s instead of the 8/0’s. I’m also curious about using a thicker cord for the warp thread. Stay tuned for more experiments!

Have you guys ever tried beadwork using a loom? What was your experience like?

This entry was posted in Bead and Product Chatter, Beading Techniques and Experiments and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Adventures in Bead Looming!

  1. Nancy M Heath says:

    I bought a Rick’s Loom several years ago and by far I think it is the best on the market. Easy to set up and after a couple of tries easy to do the wraps. The person that designed this loom has a facebook group and you should check it out. It is called The Ricks Loomatiks. You should check it out on Facebook. You have to sign up and be approved. He is a very nice man, and everyone on the site is great. They also have some patterns you can download. Hope you enjoy it. From Nancy Heath

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Patty Estes says:

    I bought Rick’s Loom, like you many years ago and it’s still in the box. I was turned off by having to know the exact length of the finished bracelet also, but after reading this I may actually give it a try. I tried the regular loom and didn’t care for it too much with all the threads to tie at the ends. So, who knows, I may like it. When you set up the loom did you have to consider the closure that you were going to use to get the correct finished piece? I love all the finished bracelets that you did, especially the 11/0 seed bead one! The one with the two-hole beads is cool too.


  3. John Kasyoka says:

    Fantastic design.


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    I have both sizes of Rick’s bead loom. I’m starting to see flaws that can easily be corrected. The pegs don’t like to stay in and need like a citter pin to keep them in place. The rods bend really easy and get out of shape. I’d like to see it stronger. Also I would suggest a built in tape measure so we know exactly where to place the rods. The bead work seems to come out shorter when put on the rods. Other than that, I really enjoy both sizes. I’d like to get one more small one.


  6. Kathi says:

    This loom is looks too darn fiddly for me, (all the little extra parts,)
    …I have been loom beading since I was about 8 and have used everything from a shoe box to an old picture frame, to store bought fancy looms. You do not need a special loom to only end up with 2 warp threads anyway. My favorite loom is one made out of scraps of wood from the shed and some eye screws….and 2 carrier bolts also found in the shed! Anyway, your colors are so nice, live the last one best, because of the pops of goldfish bronze on my screen. The colors do not always show as stated, so I appreciate you saying exact colors…. Thank you so much for this!… if your readers would rather save their money for beads and thread etc.. check out all the loom making instructions,
    Most are very simple and you can use left over bits and pieces to upcycle scrap instead of throwing it in the trash!… the most you might have to buy is about 4 eye screws, well 6 if you do not want to use a nail or a cup hook on each end of the outside.if you chose to make a wooden one and two threaded carrier bolts and screws washers, also dirt cheap and they come in lots of different lengths… but you also can se and old cardboard box or picture frame of your choice. You can just wrap weft around outside no real hardware needed! For kids these are nice for bigger beads, Even Ponies…so little fingers do not gets frustrated!.. I always say it’s more fun if you make your own tools, plus if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, no real money lost! Have fun, life is short)πŸ’œ


  7. Loretta pagan says:

    I bought my ricks loom about a year ago and I’m torn between that one and a number of other looms I have. I agree that you must measure your piece first and there is no adding on. I just love beading on my looms


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  9. Ruth says:

    I use fireline for my loom pieces. Didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to. Also…you don’t have to weave in the pieces on other looms. There are a bunch of ways to avoid that.


    • samwescott says:

      Hi, Ruth! You definitely CAN use Fireline on a loom, it just eats up so much thread that I wanted to find a cheaper alternative, haha. And yes! I’ve found all sorts of clever end methods that don’t involve weaving in threads since I wrote this post almost a year ago, but I was a brand new baby bead loomer and hadn’t heard of any of them yet at the time. I’m still super inexperienced with this particular type of beading and the Rick’s loom was a good starting place for me. :)


  10. Victoria says:

    πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ™πŸΌ thank you for ok r be sharing. The work is so impressively neat πŸ‘Œβ€οΈβ€οΈβ€οΈ


  11. Tricia Smith says:

    Hi! I have a quick question about tension. I can get the tension correct with 22 or less warp threads. The pattern I want to use has 37. Do you have any tips or tricks that could help me? Thanks.


  12. I just started to learn how to bead on a loom.i beaded a graduation cap and feather for my grandson I had loads of fun I get a traditional titanium Indian beads it came out really nice I was proud of myself I wish I had more to do


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