How do I Choose the Best Bead Loom Patterns?

Tara Barnett

Choosing bead loom patterns is largely a matter of personal preference, because most patterns are extremely easy to follow if you know how to use a bead loom. It is important to choose a pattern designed for the size of beads that you are using, but otherwise all patterns are relatively uniform. For beginners, choosing a design that uses very few colors can limit the number of supplies needed to complete the design as well as the difficulty involved organizing supplies. Which patterns you prefer makes little difference in the difficulty of the project, but knowing about the different types of bead loom patterns can make choosing a pattern easier. Many people discover that bead loom patterns are so simple that it is easy even for beginners to make their own patterns.

Bead looms can be used to make bracelets.
Bead looms can be used to make bracelets.

The first factor to consider when choosing bead loom patterns is size. Most patterns are designed to work with beads that are often called seed beads, which are very small. This is usually not a problem because most bead looms only work with beads around this size anyway. If one is working with a larger or smaller bead, it is necessary to alter the pattern accordingly. The problem is not so much that the beads are the wrong size but that they are of different dimensions than seed beads.

Most loom patterns are designed to work with seed beads.
Most loom patterns are designed to work with seed beads.

While it may be easier to work with a pattern that has few colors because the colors do not need to stay highly organized, there is nothing more difficult about using more colors in a technical sense. If one is capable of following directions, the pattern will be simple whether it includes two colors or a rainbow of colors. The only exception to this rule is that simple patterns, such as stripes, can be easier because they do not require detailed instructions.

There are many types of bead loom patterns featuring a number of different motifs. Many patterns are geometric, and some mimic traditional Native American designs. It is possible to find patterns depicting any image, and if a proper pattern cannot be found a suitable one can be made.

When making a bead loom pattern, it is important to remember that the beads are not perfect squares, so you must use pattern paper that account for this problem. That said, it is often easier to read bead loom patterns that are displayed as squares, so while planning must take place on special bead loom paper, the final project can be displayed on normal graph paper. To make bead loom patterns, simply color in boxes on the pattern paper to make a design and then work the pattern in lines as you would normally do. For more complex projects, photographs can be turned into designs that can then become bead tapestries and bead bracelets. Anything that can be portrayed in pixels can be turned into a bead loom pattern, so the possibilities are nearly endless.

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