How to finish the back of a loomed bracelet?

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on Feb 2, 2012 2:38 PM

I am just in the early stages of learning loom beading. I watched a tute in which the warp threads are taped, cut then taped to the back of the piece, then covered with peel and stick foam. I made a small one but think the foam is way too stiff. Wondering what others would use and whether or not felt could be used. Thanks for any input. 

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Tia Dalma wrote
on Feb 2, 2012 3:59 PM

I do some loomwork and in my opinion, that tape down method is really messy!

One technique that works very well and finishes the work with a clean edge is to simply reweave the warp threads into the loomwork one at a time! This method is very time consuming but much cleaner and neater than gluing or taping down the warps! And it leaves the beadwork free of any backing material...

 It is also a technique that has been around for centuries so it's not a copyrighted method...meaning anyone can use it or explain it or teach it without infringing on someone's copyright!

You might be able to find free tutorials or instructions online somewhere.for reweaving the warps, but I just put a needle on each warp thread (one at a time) and I start weaving them back into the looming.

The edge warps need to be sewn into the last row of beads first and then you can start weaving them into the other rows...but they have to go into their own row first! And you do have to pay attention to the rows of beads that you weave into so you don't fill the beads up with too much thread!

I usually take the warp with a needle, go over the last weft row and then sew between the beads and between the wefts until I get to a row of beads that I want to stitch the thread into. So you go down the length of the cuff (between the beads and wefts) and then turn and sew into a row of beads. I will turn around several times and go through several rows to secure everything but I rarely tie any knots in my beadwork.

It's kind of hard to explain without pictures and graphs, but I know there are photos of this out there somewhere...I will try to find some for you!

But there are many other methods out there too...and several people teach their own methods and sell their books and instruction booklets and kits that teach these methods.

Theresa Guthrie is one...she has a website and sells instruction kits for her method. She is a member of this forum and she posted here recently...you might be able to contact her through the forum or google search her to find her website!

Erin Smonetti is working on publishing a book and teaches her methods in her FB group (A Bead Looming Intervention) She is also a member of this forum and you can contact her via her website/blog (Beads Beading Beaded) and FB page!

And one book that I know of that includes several finishing methods is Sharon Bateman's "Contemporary Loom Beading". But most Looming books don't include good directions for any warp manmagement techniques...most of them are just pattern books.

And many of the different methods require a certain way to warp your loom and some of these methods are very specific to this process. The Paperclip Method, the "Pull and Pray" method and the "Square Stitch Starter" method all require special warping methods, so if you already have something made on your loom, you can't necessarily use these methods!

And there are specific looms you can buy that work with different "No Warps" methods like the Ricks Loom and the Versa Loom.

In my opinion all of these methods have their merits and their downsides, but they are all better than glue and tape! Even if I am going to attach a cuff to a metal cuff blank or to a leather or suede backing, I still like to finish my warp threads in a neater fashion than glue or tape! 

I tend to think about how long the beadwork will last...especially if I put hours and hours of time into it...and I want the finishing techniques to last forever too!

And I think about crazy things like Anthropolgists or Archeologists of the future who might eventually study this time period in history. And I would never want them to dig up piles of beadwork from the 21st century and see that everyone used lazy or messy methods for managing their warps!

I know that sounds silly, but I really do think about these things! And I try to find the best methods for different types of beadwork that don't involve gluing and taping and basically just hiding the mess under something else!

 

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Posts 13
on Feb 2, 2012 6:48 PM

Thank you. I prefer the more finished method you describe but it seemed to me that perhaps I could not fit all that many threads into the beads. I really think I want to stay with the old method as that is what I wanted to learn. I have some Native American in my background and I have wanted to learn to do this for years. I had decided to try the method I used because I was sure I could not weave all those threads. Next piece----will try the way you described. 

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D.M.Z wrote
on Feb 2, 2012 7:34 PM

That was good advice from Tia Dalma.....................  Regarding the original tutorial..........foam? sheesh what will someone try next. If you want to go so far as to do something like that, I would make a bit of "fabric" on the ends of the loom where you take your thread and with no beads on it, just weave up and down, going back in the opposite way  and you will end up with maybe a quarter inch of a fabric which will be narrower than the bracelet. Glue this with something like E6000 (needs to be in moving or fresh air so you don't inhale it especially when it is really fresh) because you do not want it to come apart. Fold that "fabric" to the back of the bracelet Then back the bracelet with a piece of ultrasuede or firm microfiber or even felt as you asked about and edge stitch the material to the edge beads on the bracelet. Sometimes a picot stitch or some other stitch that goes around the edge is pretty also. If you use a thick felt make sure you take into consideration the curve of the finished bracelet so you don't end up with lumps next to your skin...........in other words, the inside band of the bracelet will really be a bit smaller than the beads on the outside. Apply your closure and you are there. Donna

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Posts 13
on Feb 3, 2012 8:26 AM

I also was a bit concerned about adding a metal closure wondering if it might wear on the thread causing it to break? I have done bracelets in peyote and usually use a beaded closure. I want to make a bracelet or two for young GD and will need to have a closure that is secure.

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Tia Dalma wrote
on Feb 3, 2012 1:24 PM

Pinkladyslipper, I understand your concern about closures! I also usually use some sort of beaded closure for my beadwork...it just naturally goes with the beadwork. But I also like to incorporate metal clasps and it really depends on how you attach the clasp to the beadwork...you can take precautions so that the thread will not be cut or frayed by the metal findings.

But one simple way to add a metal closure to any flat beadwork is to use those Ribbon End Crimps or Choker Clamps...they are called many different things and they were made for ribbons, but they work very well with flat beadwork...especially if you use Delicas.

There are also some newer findings called 'Toobs' that slide onto the last row of beads in flatwork and then you attach your clasp to the ring on the 'Toob'...I think you can find those at Beadcats.

To attach the Ribbon End Crimp to the end of the beadwork it is helpful to use a little bit of glue...I know I am contradicting myself here with the whole "messy glue" thing...haha! But it does help secure the Ribbon Crimp so you don't have to clamp it down so tightly that you break alot of beads. (you will almost always break one or two beads, it's sort of inevitable but not really problematic)

I would use E6000 glue...it dries clear and flexible which makes it very easy to simply pick off any areas where it may have gotten on your beads or the clasp once it is dry!

Here is a photo of these on the end of a piece of loomwork:

Original Pattern by: Jayceespatterns. Stitched by: Vimala Nichols  August 2011                                    Techniques: Loomwork, Brick Stitch Pattern Extensions, Fringe Pattern Extensions                                Materials used: Miyuki Delicas, Toho One G Thread, Ribbon End Crimps, Chain and Clasp.

These Ribbon End Crimps mainly come in plated base metal...there are a few sources for them in Sterling Silver but they are a different style and don't come in the longer lengths usually needed for Beadwork. (Rio Grande and Fusion Beads carry the SS ones)

But you can find the Plated Base Metal ones in an Etsy store called Twilights Fancy. She has good prices and great service.

 And my favorite ones I get at an online store called 'Vintage Jewelry Supply'. They are listed under Findings/Choker Clamps. The ones she carries are made of a sturdier metal (plated steel) they have nice antique plaitngs and the "teeth" on them are very very small compared to some of the other ones out there!

Look for them in sizes between 25mm and 38mm. They come in sizes from 6mm up to 38mm...and you can also use two of them on each end if you need to!

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D.M.Z wrote
on Feb 3, 2012 2:54 PM

I also use those ribbon ends, I got mine at a couple of different sources and "accumulated" a variety of finishes and colors like gold, antique gold, gunmetal, silver and antique silver.............. so it is possible by searching to get a nice variety of sizes and finishes. The original set I got was from Moonrise, Teresa Gutherie's web site and her instructions were very detailed and enabled me to crimp the ends onto a loomed bracelet without damaging beads. It was a bit pickier as you closed the finding slowly over several steps until you could slide the finding off the beads sideways, then the last step was to apply the E6000 and slide the finding on one last time. The "teeth" on the finding actually went between the rows of beading. I know this was a good method because the lady who visited me and fell head over heels for it actually wore it every day for well over a year. The only thing that gave up on the bracelet was the jump rings and she had those replaced with split rings, then the actual clasp portion finally wore out and had to be replaced! I never expected that sort of testing to happen..........she is still wearing it, just not every day now. Donna

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Posts 13
on Feb 9, 2012 10:09 AM

Planning to try the ribbon clamps---looks like the best way to go for the project. Thanks to all---great amt of information and useful as well.

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