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The Best Way to Make African Waistbeads

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

how to make african waistbeads

One of my favorite ways to adorn myself is with strands of African Waistbeads. I just feel so beautiful with these sexy beads underneath my clothes even if no one else knows that they're there. If you've never made jewelry before, this is a fun and easy way to get comfortable with very basic metalsmithing, hand-beading, and jewelry making skills.

African Waistbeads: A Brief History

Waistbeads have been worn throughout Africa as a sign of success, affluence and spiritual well-being since 1000 CE. They are believed to have begun in ancient Egypt and were donned as a status symbol by beautiful women.

In West African, the Yoruba tribes made them popular. Today countries like Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast have also adopted the waistbeads.

Different cultures throughout the continent took on various uses for the body jewelry.

For one, it helps a woman maintain her waistline. When gaining weight, the beads climb up the waist, when losing weight they fall elegantly onto the hips.

In traditional Ghanaian culture, many strands of beads were employed as the anchor to strap menstrual cloths.

In other cultures, waistbeads signified a girl had reached marriageable age. Strung with bells meant she was “pure” at the time of marriage.

As a sign of femininity and sensuality, only the partner of a woman would have the honor of seeing them fully. With the addition of precious stones, waistbeads can also take on healing qualities.

Meanings Behind the Colors of African Waistbeads

Color meanings:

Blue: knowledge, healing, peace, truth, harmony

Green: prosperity, hope, harmony, encouraging the wearer to be generous.

Red: Confidence, vitality, passion, courage.

Yellow: knowledge, clarity, increasing awareness, high energy, joy, happiness.

Black: Power, protection.

Orange: Self-confidence, vitality

Pink: Beauty, care, love, kindness

Purple: Wisdom, royalty, spirituality

Brown: Earthiness and stability.

Turquoise: Communication and self-awareness

White: Light, truth, and purity

African Waistbeads Tutorial

I made this video years ago before my video editing skills and tools improved but still the technique is the same technique I use today. The main difference is that I generally use seed beads, not the glass beads shown in the video but at the time I thought they would be easier for the viewing audience to see.

Check out my tutorial here:

Want your own African Waistbeads kit? I've created kits with all of the tools and supplies you need to make up to 5 strands of African Waistbeads and exotic charms which include crystals to accessorize with. Get yours here!


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