Introduction: Seed beads are magical. The tiny bits of glass contain worlds in themselves, telling stories and demonstrating ingenuity of people throughout time and around the world. One lone bead might go unnoticed, but gathered together, they make a bold statement.
Shopping: Whether you are buying beads from a bead store, via the Internet, or even a pow-wow, you may be surprised at how fast your stash starts overflowing.
Getting Started: Once you've made your selections at the bead shop, you'll want to go home and play with your treasures. Between purchasing the perfect beads and assembling them into your dream project, there are a few steps to ensure that your beading time will be enjoyable.
Glue: Beadwork can be mystifying to the uninitiated - densely beaded embroideries look glued together, while beads attached with glue may look like they've been stitched.
- Bead Soup Cans- You my not be able to bead just one of these cute tins so make one for each of your favorite colors.
- Curiously Beaded Tin- Recycle those mint tins into portable studios-many are just the right size to hold beads, threads, and scissors for beading on the go.
- Spangled Eggs- These Styrofoam eggs decorated with sequins (spangles) are quick and easy to create.
Bead Embroidery: Bead embroidery can be one of the most straightforward and forgiving applications for seed beads. If you can stitch it, you can probably add beads to it!
- Coffee Press Cozy- This useful project includes a few materials beyond beads and thread-add a little pizzazz to your cozy in no time.
- Bead-a-bet Buttons- Put your mark on what's yours and let them see you coming with an added bit of flair.
- Playing with Paisley- Menswear may not ordinarily be dazzled with beads, but look no further than a necktie for a perfect canvas to embellish.
- Paisley Pin- Ties aren't your thing? Turn your beaded motif into a brooch by adding a backing with a pin back finished with a beaded picot edge.
Wired and Loopy: Make simple beaded sculptures by twisting, looping, and bending beaded wire. Colored wire will complement you beads where it peeks through.
- Trillium Flower Scrunchies- Use the wire as if it were thread to string beads. Add the flower to a hair band to put some spring in your step.
- Blooming Button Magnets- Wired bugle beads in bright colors go well with vintage buttons, giving them a modern look.
Netting: Flexible in design and structure, netting can be used to quickly cover objects, including yourself!
- Curved Chevron Choker- Make this netted chain by working a series of loops connected by chevron nets that zigzag between shared beads.
- Green Diamond Ribbonette- This sequence creates a chain with double diamonds between even loops. Add a button and loop closure for a bracelet, or work a chain long enough for a lariat or belt.
- Spider Orbs- Prettier than cobwebs, and faster to make, these sparklies may quickly infest all the sunfilled windows or lampshades in your house.
Peyote Stitch: A popular stitch, peyote is often used for flat, charted images, or worked in the round to make trinket-sized bags.
- Snappy Bands- To make these fun bracelets, work a strip of beadwork using size 6" beads in alternating colors for each row.
- Beaded Cylinder Beads- Each cylinder is worked as a flat strip that alternates three colors of 2-bead stitches, with 1-bead stitches of the accent color between the, then the ends are "zipped" together to form a tube.
- Spiral Tubes- These ropy tubes have two colors that form stripes, accented with a third color that highlights the spiral created by working in the round.
Ladders and Angles: Mostly used to form a foundation row for other stitches, ladder stitch connects one or more beads to an equal number of beads, stacking them side by side, with exposed thread and holes along each edge.
- Ladder Rings- Make a ladder of 2-bead stacks, then join the ends to form a ring.
Linked Ladder Bracelet: When you're hooked on little ladder rings, join them together or form a bracelet - or go wild and make enough for a necklace.
- Right-angle Bangle- Use two needles to work a simple right-angle chain, then embellish it with a crisscross of beads for a luxurious rounded rope.
Brick Stitch: In brick stitch, the beads not only form an interlocking pattern, they also rely on thread to hold them together the way mortar holds a brick wall.
- Bricks and Strands Bracelet- Make two brick-stitched triangles that decrease to a button-and-loop closure, then connect their bases with strands of beads.
- Comet Tail Earrings- Beginning with a ladder-stitched base row, use small cubes or cylinders to work tall triangles, then add fringe with bugle beads to give them sleek flashy movement.
- Belted Bricky Balls- Ladder-stitched belts of bugle beads (held in place with tape) serve as the foundation for rounds of tubular brick stitch. String one or more on a shoelace for a simply fun necklace.
Not-so-square Stitch: Graphed motifs, such as cross-stitch designs, can be adapted for beading to make pictoral patterns, but keep in mind that most seed beads are taller than they are wide, distorting a square pattern into a tall rectangle.
- Supple Tiles Necklace- Square stitch creates a cloth from glass. Connect squares of this cloth with strands of beads for a kinetic geometric collar.
- Radiant Barrette- These circles are made of concentric rounds of square-stitched beads, with half circles worked off two sides of the final round. Accent the square-stitched circles with a hair stick trimmed in square-stitched corkscrew fringe.
Tubular Herringbone:Beads are stitched two at a time, neatly on top of a pair in the previous round to form columns that travel straight up, yet the thread travels through each round like a wave.
- Squishy Rings- Herringbone stitch works up into a beaded tube so smooth it will have you wrapped around its finger.
- Tripod Earrings- These tubular-stitched earrings use hex and round seed beads to emphasize the interesting structure.
- Wickedly Smooth Lariat- Even if you don't make a habit of wearing lariats as jewelry, you might want to make one as an excuse to take advantage of this luxurious stitch.
- Twisted Cable Bracelet- Working a herringbone tube with consistently uneven stitches (down one and up three) causes the columns to bend, forming a spiral that looks like a twined rope.