DIY Beaded Key Chain

Whether it's for a necklace or a key chain, this craft teaches you how to make your own loom, how to weave, and how to decorate your new creation.

November 2017
By Nicole Blum and Catherine Newman

key fobs and necklaces

Photo by Margaret Lampert

Stitch Camp (Storey Publishing, 2017) by Nicole Blum and Catherine Newman is specifically for kids and tweens who want to dive into the DIY world. With a collection of hands-on crafts ranging from sewing to felting, Stitch Camp takes the work out of learning a new skill and provides kids with ways to make their own wearables and gifts. Here, learn how to make a key chain or decorative necklace by using a homemade loom.

Beaded Key Fob or Necklace

This is a great little project for beginners because you get to make and use a loom. But the loom is nice and small, so you can finish something in one sitting — like this cool key fob, which is just an old-fashioned way of saying key chain. The beads give the project enough weight and substance to keep it from getting lost in your pocket — or, if you’re making a necklace, from getting tangled in your hair.

What You Need

• 10-inch-by-3-1/2-inch piece of heavy cardboard
• Masking tape
• Ruler
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Sturdy string, garden twine, or jute
• Blunt needle with an eye large enough to fit your string
• 6 beads
• Split-ring key ring, carabiner, or swivel-eye lobster snap clasp hook (a long name for a small hook!)

How You Make It

Making and Setting Up the Loom

cardboard loom

Photo by Margaret Lampert

1. Wrap the top and bottom edges of the cardboard with masking tape to make it sturdier. Hold the ruler along the top edge and mark 1 inch in from the edge, and then every 1/4 inch until you get to 2-1/4 inches. You will have six marks.

Repeat along the bottom edge, making six marks at the same intervals. Use your scissors to make a tiny cut — about 1/4 inch long — at each mark.

cardboard loom

Photo by Margaret Lampert

2. To make the warp, tape one end of your string (or twine or jute) to the middle of the back side of the loom. Slot it into the rightmost top slit, then flip the loom over like you’re turning a page, so that the front is facing forward (the string will now be on the left).

Wrap the string down to the bottom side of the cardboard and wedge it into the corresponding notch, then stretch it up the back side, and slot it into the second notch on top, and then down into the matching notch on the bottom. Continue wrapping, pulling the string tight in the notches, moving left to right, until you have six vertical strands.

Tape the string to the back of the loom, then cut the tail. Run an extra piece of tape across the warp strings on the back to secure them.

Weaving the weft


Photo by Margaret Lampert

1. Start the weft by cutting about a yard of yarn, string, twine, or jute, and thread your needle. Starting about 1 inch from the top of the cardboard, weave the needle under and over the warp threads until you get to the other side.


Photo by Margaret Lampert

2. Pull the yarn through, leaving a 6-inch tail, then come back the other way, making sure to go under the warp threads you went over on the previous row, and over the warp threads you went under.


Photo by Margaret Lampert

3. Repeat, going back and forth, until the weaving is as long as you like (this one is about 1 inch), stopping occasionally as you weave to push the rows together snugly with your fingers or the needle. If you want to change colors at any point, simply snip the string you’re using, and knot on a different color.


Photo by Margaret Lampert

4. At the end of your last row, snip the string, leaving a 6-inch tail.


Photo by Margaret Lampert

5. Cut across the warp strings 2 inches below your weaving, then thread a bead onto each string and tie a knot below it to secure.


Photo by Margaret Lampert

6. Use a needle to weave your two 6-inch weft tails into the back of your weaving, threading each one over and under the weft a few times and then tying them together where they meet in the middle. Snip off the ends.

key fob

Photo by Margaret Lampert

7. Untape your warp strings and gently remove all the strings from the loom. Separate the warp strings into two groups of three strings each. Knot each set of three warp strings snugly against the weaving.

For a Key Fob


Photo by Margaret Lampert

Knot the two sets of warp strings together to make a small loop and snip the ends. Thread the loop onto your key ring.

More from Stitch Camp

DIY Mason Jar Sewing Kit

Excerpted from Stitch Camp, © by Nicole Blum and Catherine Newman, photography by © Margaret Lampert, used with permission from Storey Publishing.


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