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African Waist Beads Tutorial

Waist Beads have myriad of uses in African culture. From a simple weight loss tool to a symbol of wealth and desirability, women of the Yoruba, Krobo and Asante tribes have adorned themselves with waist jewelry for centuries in various forms. Making African Waist Beads for your own use is both easy and inexpensive. Learn how to create your very own African Waist Beads with our easy DIY waist beads step-by-step tutorial.

DIY Waist Beads - What You'll Need:

  • Small colored Christmas Beads or glass beads
  • Flexible plastic or cloth tape measure
  • 4 strands of nylbond or similarly strong beading thread (each around 80-100 cm in length)
  • 8 Large Chevrons or similar glass trade beads
  • A mix of smaller Venetian Trade Beads


Below are instructions on how to make your very own DIY African waist beads using the very best threads for waist beads.

1. Start by making a double knot at the end of each piece of string, approximately 1 inch from the end. Pull both sides of the string firmly to ensure the knot is tight. Next, begin building up the individual beaded strands by threading on your Christmas Beads in the preferred order. (Most African Waist Beads have no particular color order.)

2. Once you have covered approximately 30 cm of each strand with Christmas Beads, knot all four strands together. Take a large, focal Chevron Bead and thread all four strands through the perforation hole, followed by a Christmas Bead. Repeat using a further three Chevron Beads, separated by Christmas Beads.

3. After threading the final Chevron, either tie a knot to secure it in place, or hold the strands firmly between your thumb and forefinger as you begin adding Venetian Trade Beads onto each individual strand. Thread enough trade beads onto each strand to cover approximately another 20-25 cm in length, then either make another knot, or add a Chevron by threading all four strands through the perforation hole once more.

4. Continue adding the Chevron Beads as detailed in step 3, remembering to thread on a Christmas Bead as a spacer between each one. After the final Chevron, knot the strands once again.

5. Thread on a further 30 cm of Christmas Beads onto each individual strand. You may wish to make a temporary loose knot at the end of each one, so that your Christmas Beads don't fall off. Once you've built up the beads on every strand, gather them all together and gently untie the knots on the end of each one. Knot the four strands together as detailed in step 1, then create a second knot directly below it for added security. Cut off any excess thread as needed.

All of the materials needed to create African Waist Beads can be found in our online store. If you need a visual aid to assist you, take a look at our Rose Red African Waist Beads below. For other examples, visit our stunning selection of African Waist Beads here.