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10 Bloggers Share DIY Tricks To Make African Waist Beads

Image showing DIY African waist beads on an African girl's waist
Image showing African waist bead (Photo credit: Classic Ghana)

Local Africans have easy access to traditionally hand-crafted African waist beads. While grandmas teach their grandchildren how to string them, these beads are also easily found in shops and stores. African Americans, on the other hand, will scarcely find the skillfully woven mix of beads and strings. This makes it difficult to buy and use them. Well, the story will be different when you are done reading this post.

The African waist bead is a popular jewelry choice across the continent’s unique cultures and ethnic groups. It usually sits gorgeously on women’s waistline and accentuates their rhythmic steps in every cultural dance. These waist beads are worn to generally symbolize feminity, fertility, and a lot of other things. Already wishing you could string some of those gorgeous beads? We’ve got you covered.

What do You Need to Make African Waist Beads?

Regular bead-making requires the use of any type of string, beads, and spacers. However, to make beautiful and traditional African waist beads, you will need metal (not plastic) spacers such as silver bicone, stone or metal beads, and wire strings. A few handy tools will make the work easier.

What Stringing Material do You Use for Waist Beads?

Stringing material for beads go beyond just elastics and wires to include silk threads and cords. For waist beads, it is important to choose something light, non-sticky, soft-on-skin, flexible, and stretchy. The Creative Folk provides a list of the best materials. Top on this list is beadnova bracelet string, mandala crafts elastic cord, 23 bees 100% organic hemp string ranked first, second and third respectively.

Image showing DIY African Waist Beads
African Waist Beads (Photo credit: Pinterest)

What Kind Of Beads Do You Use To Make Waist Beads?

Although there are more than 50 different types of beads, not all of them are a good choice when making waist beads. The type of project, the bead size, and your desired primary bead all matter. Waist beads are usually made by using glass seed beads or metal beads.

What Is The Strongest Thread For Beading?

Many reports mention Fireline Braided Thread as the strongest fiber per diameter. It is made from polyester. However, it is important to mention that the way you handle your waist beads will determine how long it would last.

Simple DIY Tricks To Make African Waist Beads

We have assembled DIY tricks that will make it easy for you to create your own waist beads. Like we mentioned earlier, if you create your own waist beads, you will be able to determine the style.

#1. Beginner’s Guide to Waist Beads

This is a detailed 10-minute DIY video to help you craft a simple African-style waist bead. It requires only the basic beading materials and zero beading skill. In the tutorial, the jewelry background is made of seed beads. These seed beads are then arranged between a total of 7 or 8 conical beads spacers. A silver locket introduced at both ends of the fish line string makes the waist bead detachable. If you make this type of bead using an elastic thread, it will easily match any body size. Also, this is less complex and perfect for a beginner.

#2. Weight Measurement Using Waist Beads

Here is a 5-minute DIY tutorial video on waist beads that are designed to help you check or detect weight changes. The simple way this happens is that the beads are made to exactly fit your waistline line. Therefore, it will feel tighter if you add weight and loose if you drop weight.

Firstly, the thread is cut one-inch longer than the measured waistline. This ensures that some material is available for knotting. It is designed to go round the waist twice forming two bands of beads. Clear nail polish is applied on both ends of the thread to harden it. This eases the beading process. A pendant is also added and held by a knot halfway across the bead length. The colorful, final waist bead is worn in such a way that the pendant sits just under the belly dip region.

#3. Another Variation For Measuring Weight Loss

If the previous video did not do justice to it, here is another DIY video for making waist beads for weight measurement. The stringing material used in this 5-minute video is a stretch cord. After taking waistline measurement, the cord is cut accordingly. The beading process begins with a knot at one end of the measured cord. This holds the beads in place while stringing from the other open end. Fashionable bead colors are mixed throughout the process. The waist bead is closed with a strong double knot after beading.

#4. Adding Names To Your Beads

A good way to personalize your waist bead is by putting your name on it. This 12-minute DIY video shows how to pull off this trick. First, you will need letter beads enough to spell your name. The many different fonts and letter bead designs gives a wide variety of options. After making your choice of letter/name beads, the rest of the beading process starts with making a doubled trim string. This should exactly fit your waistline. Start with seed beads. Then, add the name beads at strategic points between the bead spacers. The entire setup is tied together after beading.

#5. Waist Beads Using Lobster Clasp

Lobster clasps offer both an easy way to detach your waist beads and a fashionable finish to your beads. Applying one of these to your waist bead is properly explained in this 5-minute video. While they cost a little more than normal, lobster clasps are also a bit more technical to use. It is basically made of two pieces of metal. One resembles a lobster claw and holds onto the other which has a ring shape. Also, this video tutorial makes use of black lava beads which you can find on Amazon.

#6. Waist Beads Using Barrel Clasp

Once you can make waist beads, take your knowledge higher by learning how to fashion beads with your name on them. For this video, you will see how to insert a barrel clasp at the end of it all. A barrel clasp makes your waist bead detachable just like a lobster clasp does. However, it is important to determine which of the two is most convenient for you since they both work differently. For the barrel clasp, two similar-looking halves are screwed together to close the attached bead.

#7. Waist Beads Using Authentic Ghana Thread

Wouldn’t you love to know a faster way to bead? This DIY tutorial video shows how to achieve that using an electric bead spinner. It also introduces the sturdy Ghana thread. An electrical bead spinner otherwise called a bead stringing tool helps load beads on threads or strings. This significantly reduces the amount of time you will spend on making beads. In fact, it generally eases the entire beading process. Beginners can easily get started, thanks to this 28-minute video. You will need different beads, a bead spinner needle, and other regular materials.

#8. Customized Waist Beads 

This 7-minute DIY video shows how to fashion a customized waist bead. It makes use of an elastic string (which tie better than other types of strings), a pack of colorful beads, a beading needle, a pair of scissors, and a barrel clasp. The beading process is unique and the clasp is attached to both ends of the string by tying. Two or three knots are made just to ensure that the clasp is held firmly.

#9. Aligning Your Chakra Using Waist Beads

Like the title suggests, this relevant 10-minute DIY video shows very specific bead color combinations that are just right for the chakra. Chakras are energy centers in the body. Waist beads, on the other hand, affect the chakra. The simple explanation for this is that waist beads give the wearer some form of energy and confidence. Take for example, concerning sexuality and beauty. The video makes use of gemstones, nymo nylon thread, colored beads, beadalon, and a barrel clasp. These materials are used to design waist beads that suit the root chakra, the crown chakra, the third eye chakra, and so on.

#10. Manual Installation of Beads

Making your traditional African waist bead is one thing while installing your waist bead is another. The importance of properly installing your waist bead is that it determines how comfortable you feel when you wear them. As a matter of fact, a well-measured and properly crafted waist bead will still not give the wearer a good feel if it is poorly or wrongly installed. Installing waist beads interestingly involves separate methods for beads without knots and for beads with knotted ends. This 7-minute DIY video tells all of it. It properly explains how to install both bead types by hand.


Native Black women wear African waist beads as part of their culture and as a sign of their fertility. However, it could be more. Waist beads can be worn as a fashion accessory especially when you want to look seductive. If you don’t want to deal with the purchase troubles and shipping fees, your best bet would be to make them yourself. Interestingly, making waist beads yourself will allow you to customize it as much as you want. Which of the videos do you find most useful? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.



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