NativeTech: Native American Technology & Art
Woven Wampum Beadwork

Single-Strand Square Weave Technique

BASIC PRINCIPLE: For each column of weaving: A needle and weft thread, with beads strung on it, passes under the looms warp strings. Then the weft passes back over the warps through the beads already in place.


1. Use 1 needle and 1 1/2 yd. (nylon) string weft. Knot on 2nd warp from left.

Slip one bead up to knot and pass weft to left over warp.

Pass needle and weft to the right under warp and go through the bead in place.

2. Slip the remaining number of beads [in the column] onto the weft.

Pass the needle and weft to the right [under the remaining warps].

Thread the needle and weft [over the warps] back through the same column of beads.


3. Slip the appropriate number of beads onto the weft and pass the needle and weft under all the warps.

4. Use the pointer of your left hand to hold the beads in place between the warps, as you thread the needle and weft [over the warps] back through the same column of beads.

[pull weft straight out from the column of beads, or beads/thread may break.]

5. Repeat 3. and 4. until thread is short (5").

Add new length of weft in middle of column of beads.

Tie new weft in square knot to old weft and weave ends back into beadwork.

[If nylon, the string can be trimmed short (1/4") and melted to the knot.]


6. End weaving by passing the weft under a warp and through a bead. Knot around a middle warp. Weave end back in.

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Some pictures adapted from published sources on wampum

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Reproduction wampum beads are available from Waaban Aki Crafting

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© 1994 - Tara Prindle
unless otherwise cited.