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How To Make A Maasai Beaded Bracelet

Want to learn how to make Maasai jewelry? You've come to the right place.

With their exuberant colors and beautiful symmetrical patterns, it's little wonder that Maasai necklaces and bracelets are among the most reproduced forms of African jewelry.

The geometric accuracy of Maasai patterns often leads people to believe that replicating this type of jewelry is complicated, when in fact, even a beading novice could master the technique with time.

Maasai Beading Tutorial & Techniques

Beading techniques for Maasai beading is fairly easy to follow:

An essential component of the Maasai bracelet is the multi-strand spacer, which can have anywhere between 6 and 10 holes. These are typically made from wood, bone or shell, and serve to allow even distribution of each beaded strand for a uniform finish.

You will also need a quantitative supply of glass, natural or plastic Maasai seed beads in four different colors (eg. red, white, blue and green), coupled with durable string or twine. The Maasai traditionally use Zulu grass because of its strength, however, any strong nylon thread will suffice.

How to Make a Beaded Maasai Bracelet

The structure of the bracelet is built up row by row, and each must be secured to the starting spacer before further beads can be added. This is achieved by simply thread the needle through the first hole, and pulling it through until there is a tail of around 2-3 inches in length.

A stop bead is threaded onto the needle, and the needle passed back through the spacer hole. A simple knot ensures the 'stop' bead won't pull through as you work. This process is repeated at the end of each row, and the needle then passed through the hole above to create a new row.

Maasai Bracelet Beading Design Technique

The basic design of the bracelet is achieved by adding colored beads in sequence on every row. For novices, it may be best to start with two colors, stringing seven of each per section to build up colored rectangles.