waist beads supplies

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Helpful articles on how to make permanent waist beads, what size seed beads for waist beads and how to start a waist bead businessare also available to check out on koboguide so do check them out! These are regularly updated frequently so be sure to check back as often as you can and also share them with anyone you know who would benefit from these articles.

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How to Make African Waist Beads
Get your waist beads on with this awesome DIY tutorial on traditional African beads.

Time: 30 minutes
Skill Level: Intermediate
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Instructions Supplies Comments
Waist beads have been a token of traditional West African culture for centuries. For many African tribes, beads are not simply objects. They serve as an important symbol of status or identity. In this cool tutorial, we’re gonna show you how to make your own waist beads, inspired by the West African culture we love so much!

Step 1
Cut 50 inches of the tiger tail and tape its end to your working table.

Step 2
Lay out the pattern that you’d like your beads to be strung. Be creative!

Step 3
Bead this pattern all the way through to your desired length

Step 4
First start by adding your crimp

Then add your lobster clasp

Step 6
Form a loop by stringing the wire through the same crimp.

This will secure the lobster clasp in its place

Step 8
Use the crimp pliers and crush the crimp bead using the slot closest to the handle

You should have a pressed crimp bead that looks like a book

Step 10
Fold the Crimp bead by putting it inside of the first slot of the crimp pliers to secure it

Step 11
Create a link from the jump rings by opening them with pliers and joining them together.

Step 15
Cut 1 ½ inches of 24 gauge silver wire

Step 16
Fold the wire around the tip of the round nose pliers molding it to create a key shape

Step 19
Overlap one end of the wire over the other two times, using your finger

Step 22
Cut tip of wire

Step 23
Bead your end pattern

Step 24
Follow steps 10, 11, and 12 to secure your bead charm

Step 27
Press on the end of the wire to keep it from sticking out

Step 28
Finally attach your end charm to the last jump ring and secure

Step 29
Enjoy your new waist beads 🙂

How did your waist beads turn out? Post a photo below in the comments and share!
Materials Needed
Primary Color Beads
Secondary Color Beads
Spacer Beads
Lobster Clasp (1 piece)
Crimp Beads (2 pieces)
Jump Rings (2 pieces)
Wire (1.5 inches)
Beading Wire (50 inches)
Tools Needed
Standard Crimp Tool
Round Nose Pliers
Semi-Flush Cutter
Bent Chain Nose Pliers
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If you know me or have seen me around, you know that I’m a jewelry fiend. If I don’t have at least a watch on, I feel naked. Watches, bracelets, necklaces, rings, I love alldat. They put the finishing touches on a dope outfit.

One of my biggest obsessions is beaded jewelry. A lot of my beaded bracelets and necklaces are handmade/homemade and/or straight from the Mothaland. For me, it’s what makes my style unique to me. Thrifted fits and beaded jewelry is the lane you can find me in.

But what some of us may not know is that there are specific and distinct reasons why some people wear beads, especially around the waist. Although it has been gaining popularity in the U.S. and becoming “trendy,” waist beads are an age-old tradition in parts of Africa with distinct meanings, symbols, and history attached to them.

Waist beads can be visible as a symbol of femininity, celebration, or aristocracy, or hidden as a way of self-care or confidence or intimate appeal. There are many reasons why waist beads were, and still are, an intricate aspect of African (and now American) culture.

  1. A Symbol of Femininity and Sensuality
    Some like to call them “colorful strands of femininity.” They’re handmade strands, usually made by women for women of any and all body types and sizes. Traditional Ghanaian culture wears waist beads to specifically signify femininity (as well as wealth and practical usage such as an anchor for a menstrual cloth).

For some women they would wear their beads under their clothes – which only allowed their lover to see them as a meaning of sanctity and purity between the two. For some, the beads are a means of seduction to provoke desire. Sometimes, wives would use the rattling of the beads to communicate their fertility.

  1. Rites of Passage & Symbols of Growth
    Waist beads were a rite of passage for some cultures. Mothers would ornament their daughters with beads during their first menstruation as a ceremonial rite of passage into womanhood.



Each time new waist beads were inherited, it symbolized a healthy life, growth, and maturity.

  1. Measurements and Body Shaping
    Both traditionally and in modern times, women will wear waist beads to get/keep their bodies intact. It is said that the beads shape your body and keep the waist small and hips accentuated. It was (and still is) used as a measurement tool. The beads do not stretch, so if/when the waist beads start to feel a little tight, it’s a sign that there was some weight gain, and vice versa.
  2. The Formation of The Beads
    In a traditional sense, the person making your waist beads is usually a highly spiritual person. The beads, shells, stones, and other things that may go on your waist are picked and placed with the intention of something or somethings very specific. The beads a woman wears for her husband will be vastly different from the ones a young girl wears into her transition into womanhood. The trend of waist beads has become very modernized and ornamental, but traditionally, the potency and power of a woman’s beads as it relates to spirituality and development were very specific and intentional.
  3. Colors and Meaning
    Speaking of intention, the colors of the beads also have very specific significations. These meanings may vary from tribe to tribe, culture to culture, and they’re open to interpretation, but traditionally:

Blue: knowledge, healing, peace, truth, harmony — a cooling color symbolizing faith, devotion, deep insight.

Green: prosperity, hope, harmony, healing and ripening, generous, humble.

Red: self-confidence, vitality, sexual energy, passion, courage.

Yellow: wisdom, knowledge, clarity, increasing awareness, and calming nerves.

So now that you have all of this information, you’re probably wondering where you can get some waist beads. Well, I got you!

Ashiki Shop has a wonderful selection of waist beads. There are custom sets available, or you can decide what intention you want to set for yourself and order your own custom design.

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