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TOPIC: [Craft] Bead weaving

[Craft] Bead weaving 07 Jun 2013 09:23 #1

  • Eph
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Last weekend I learned a new skill called "Perlenweben" in German, which loosely translates to "bead weaving". So far I haven't seen an English book about it to learn the correct English phrase, sorry.

This is a rather cheap craft as you only need a weaving frame, some beads, thread, jewellery pins, pinch pearls and a very thin or dedicated pearl needle. It is usually used to make armlets, chokers and similar jewellery and allows for a lot of customization by thinking up your own patterns and decorations.
Since this craft is easy to do it is also popular with young girls.So far I use this to make belts for my dolls and I also want to make other doll parts from it, e.g. straps for bags or headbands and tiaras.

If there's interest I can make a photo tutorial on how it's done when I make my next project and I can also share some patterns whenever I think up something. I'm sure a lot of patterns and techniques can be transfered to "real" jewellery.
So far here's just my first impressions. It's really easy to do and a good way to make use of left-over beads from other projects. The resulting jewellery is very robust and flexible although the fastener can be a weak point. (At least it is my weak point so far.)

For my first try I didn't use a weaving frame as I didn't want to invest money without trying it out first. So I sneakily grabbed an empty box from our recycle bin, removed the lid and cut some deep creases into both ends (after marking them down with a ruler and pen). Then I tightly spanned the thread and fastened the ends with tape. I also put tape over the creases so the thread couldn't slip out. This way I made my first doll belt.
Warning: If you want to try this use thicker cardboard than mine, it was really messy. :P

After I decided that it was fun indeed I went to buy a real weaving frame. I chose one from Pracht which was available in two versions (8 Euro for the frame and 3 packets of beads or 19 for the frame with 10 packets, both also came with a spool of thread and two pearl needles). What shall I say? I'm disappointed. The holes in that thing were so small that it took the raw force of a determined hubbie to assemble it and it will need some work with sandpaper to make it work smoothly. It also has a fixed size. I specifically chose the wooden frame because I thought the quality would be better than the plastic ones but I'm not sure anymore.
There are sets with plastic frames + beads from several toy companies. I saw e.g. Barbie, Hello Kitty and something with ponies. For an occasional project I think these might be just as good as the wooden one. The only problem about them is that you can't tell how large the weaving frame actually is from looking at the box. I also saw wooden frames on amazon but couldn't decide from a picture alone.
Well, the wooden frame does the trick though. And although the tiny instruction booklet suggests to fix the thread with tape too it works without a messy act like that. (Honestly, ever ripped tape from wood? A sticky mess that never gets better!)

As for the beads, so far most of my 2.6mm and even some 2mm beads worked fine. Just one packet of soft pastel colour 2.6mm had too small holes, I couldn't fit the needle through.
There is dedicated thread for bead weaving but I made my first project with a doubled string of regular sewing yarn and it works perfectly. I think before I spend money on weaving thread in different colours I'll rather loot my sewing box.
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[Craft] Bead weaving 11 Jun 2013 18:59 #2

  • Lirael
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*points to attached pic*
I made one! Of course, looking at it, I think it's WAY too big for my tiny wrists, but oh well!
I made the loom myself out of some bits of balsa wood and some pins, as well as some proper balsa cement.

This one took me about three hours I guess? Not working straight through though.

(I swear I meant to post this two hours ago -.-)
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I remember liking birthdays, Getting older is exciting when you're just a kid. But now they're just reminders, Of all the things I haven't yet achieved. << Bangarang - Dave Giles
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[Craft] Bead weaving 11 Jun 2013 23:37 #3

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Cool! (That goes for the selfmade loom and the bracelet both!)
Hm, if it's too big for your wrist, maybe you can sew it to a handbag/rucksack or something as a banner? That would be an eyecatcher too.
He he, doesn't seem there's need for a how-to! ^^

I still make doll belts like crazy (will post a piccie in the doll board soon) and experiment with patterns but I'm sure I'll think of more exotic uses (and probably shapes) once I'm done.
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[Craft] Bead weaving 12 Jun 2013 10:31 #4

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I did have that idea. =) Decided I could sew it to a shirt sleeve or something.

I've done some adjusting on the loom, removed the pins from one end and added a comb instead, and moved the pins on the other end closer together. Also added ruler marks along the base so that I can see how long I'm making them.

Prepare for a slew of photos. I'm gettin' makin'! =)

Those photos never did come, did they? =(
I remember liking birthdays, Getting older is exciting when you're just a kid. But now they're just reminders, Of all the things I haven't yet achieved. << Bangarang - Dave Giles
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