How to Learn to Do Beadwork

Priscilla Bead Work Book

If you are interested in learning every- thing there is to know about how to make your own Victorian Beaded purses, jewelry, and accessories, then you'll want to make sure you read this Here's what you'll discover in the Priscilla Bead Work eBook: What a Weaver's Knot is and when should it be used. How to properly use a purse stitch What Beaded Knitting is. How beads should be strung on the spool for knitting. How to thread beads for knitting a pattern of more than one color. What Beaded Crochet is. Which beading method allows for laying your project aside and easily picking it up at pleasure. When making a bead bag, what beading method offers the amateur the greatest success. What the one right way is to begin bead embroidery on canvas. How avoiding this one mistake will keep your beading beautifully uniform. How to fit a pattern if the correct clasp cannot be obtained. An unusual opportunity to make necklaces, bracelets, etc., with very little work but very elaborate effect. The truth about Victorian ladies and dog collars. A very ingenious method of imitating pearl jewelry. How to sting long lengths of beads rapidly. How to determine what size beads to use. What caution you should be aware about the stringing of beads. What secret all great bead workers know but rarely share. More here...

Priscilla Bead Work Book Overview


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Attaching the Beadwork to the Wire Frame

Once you have a stitched piece ready, you can securely attach the beadwork to a wire framework at the cr.ds. Here's how 1. Bead back and forth on the last 1 or so cf the beadwork. building up the width. 2. Once it is wide enough to connccr when wrapped around rhe wire framework, wrap the beadwork around the framework and stitch through the edge beads to zip up the last ' > *. 3. To lengthen the beaded tube in order to hide the wire wraps that might be on the wire framework, use tic tubular pevote stitch, as instructed on page 87, to extend r > e beadwork. You may want to continue stitching beads onto the piece in order to build up the end of rhe beadwork since some width would be lost bccausc of the wrapping around the end of the framework. 4. find rhe beadwork in the same manner for the other end of rhe bracelet to attach it to the hook portion of rhe wire framework. Be sure to bend and flex the bracelet, and try it on frequently. Is there o soot on the proiect where the beadwork...

Beading With World Beads

Beading With World Beads

ISBN 978-1 -60059-298-0 (ht-plc with jacket alk. paper) 1. Beadwork. 2. Jewelry making, I. Hemachandra, Ray. TT860.B333855 2009 739.27--dc22 What it means for headers is the opportunity to discover and create infinite new possibilities and combinations of beads and designs. We mean to bring you both ideas and inspiration with this book. First, you'll read about world-bead traditions, get tips on selecting world beads, and learn about beadwork tools and techniques. Then, look through the heart of the book to find the jewelry projects that captivate you. Fifteen talented headers have created more than 35 jewelry designs that celebrate the rich diversity of the modern multicultural world.

Piecing the peyote sections together

Some bead weavers are knotters, and some prefer to weave the threads together as they work with no knots. It's really a personal preference, but we recommend using knots now and then when you have to reinsert a needle and thread into your beadwork. If you pull on the thread, you can pull the knot inside of a bead, and the knots won't be noticeable, so we think it's worth the extra security.

Pleated Pods Peyote Necklace

The structure of this necklace developed entirely by accident. I wanted to create vertical segments that looked like thev were growing together. I had put on extremely long arch between two ot the segments thot iust didn't look right, and the amount of opon space was causing Ihe beadwork to sag. In on attempt to fix it, I pinched up the edges of beaded fabric along the arch and on the back, I zipped the beads together to create an invisible seam. This made the edges of the arch pucker. I reoilv liked the effect and continued adding openings and pleats. Some of the pleats were left open for contrast. This piece was worked in three pieces the center front, leti side, and right side. The tv o sldepieces were attached using the pleat method as well.

Twodrop Peyote Stitch

This is a fast way of working peyote stitch, but you can also achieve some interesting textured beadwork with it. It's also possible to work a three-, even four-drop peyote, and it's worth experimenting with this technique, which also works In the tubular form of the stitch. It's a good idea to use two different colored beads to start with, making the stitch easier to follow.

Notions Wire cutter Needlenose pliers Crimping pliers

Doris Coghiii has been working with seed beads for about nine years, but has been involved with some type of crafts all her life. She is currently busy with designing and teaching beadwork and working with her business, Dee's Place. She can be reached at

Dealing with a Broken Thread

> r the new thread in the beadwork near where the broken is coming out of a bead. Stitch through the beads so the r exits a bead near where the broken rhread is sticking out. I onto the broken rhread with your other hand, so it can't into the beadwork. Work your needle through the and dirough the same bead that has the broken thread. i can pass through chat bead, be sure to stitch through I of the beads that would have been added before and after I where the thread broke. 6. If you can get a length of thread loose from the beadwork, trim the frayed end with scissors and thread t onto a needle. 7J r uire hue supports Kristan Childi numerous lampwork beads in this necklace, lmprovistttional beadwork effectively conceal* much of (he m'rr construction. As u ifb any project involving thread, breakage can occur when the holes of the beads are full wtth thread, making it necessary for you tug on the needle and thread to get it through a full bead. If a break does occur, amply foBow the...

Fantasia Amulet Bag Necklace

The personal chollenge I gave mvs*lf when creating this piece was to make each fringe using a different technique and not repeating ony one method. The body of the bag started out as a strip of beadwork. 2. Stitch the wire hand onto the ccnter of the beadwork, using bead loops. 2. Stitch the wire hand onto the ccnter of the beadwork, using bead loops. 5. Use seed bead loops to attach the fingers to the arch to reinforce the beadwork. 1. WKcn you have a piece of beadwork that is about 7 long and at least 3' high. I stitch until your needle is at the end of a row. I 2. Fold the ends of the beadwork toward I the middle and overlap one end over the I other slightly. You may need to try each end in front to determine which end you I prefer. 3. Needle through the beadwork to attach the two ends together to create a tube. Keep in mind that you don'i have to perfecdy align the ends. Stitch through the back of the beadwork that will be in the front to anchor it. Some of the visual interest in...

Creating Your Own Designs

Cavandoli patterns can be designed using standard graph paper and colored pencils, or with computer programs designed for loomed beadwork. Each square of the graph will represent one knot, either a DHH or a VDHH. To differentiate the knots, you can use different colors or make a mark of some kind that indicates which kind of knot it is (see Figure 1). The actual knotted piece may tend to be slightly longer and narrower than the graphed image.

Planning for Size and Weight of Neckpieces

When designing beadwork you'll need to know how many beads per inch there are for the bead size that you are using. True-scale graphing can be useful when you want to know the actual size of the finished piece. I find it easier to do the actual beadwork working from a large-scale graph. I use a copy machine to enlarge graph paper to 'A squares on sheets that measure 11 x I 7. For large designs I tape together two or more sheets in order to graph out as much of the piece as is necessary.


Use either beeswax (not candle wax or paraffin) or Thread Heaven to condition nylon thread (Nymo). Beeswax smooths the nylon fibers and adds tackiness that will stiffen your beadwork slightly. Thread Heaven adds a static charge that causes the thread to repel itself, so don't use it with doubled thread. Stretch the thread, then pull it through the conditioner, starting with the end that comes off the spool first. To end a thread, weave back into the beadwork, following the existing thread path and tying two or three half-hitch knots around the thread between beads as you go. Change directions as you weave so the thread crosses itself. Sew through a few beads after the last knot before cutting the thread. To add a thread, start several rows prior to the point where the last bead was added. Weave through the beadwork, tying half-hitch knots as you go, and exit where you left off.

Stitches And Thread

Conditioning thread Use either beeswax (not candle wax or paraffin) or Thread I leaven to condition thread. Beeswax adds tackiness that is useful if you want your beadwork to fit tightly and stiffly. I bread I leaven adds a static charge that causes the thread to repel itself, so it can't be used with doubled thread. Stretch the nylon thread, then pull it through beeswax or Thread I leaven, starting with the end that conus olt the spool first.

Jewelry findings

Clasps Be sure to select a clasp that matches the scale (size) and style of your beadwork. For instance, an ornate toggle clasp adds interest to a simply strung strand, whereas a small spring clasp better complements a strand of delicate beadwork. SPRING CLASP This is the most common and simplest clasp. A small lever allows it to open and hook onto or unhook from a jump ring or the hole in an accompanying metal tab. LOBSTER CLASP The lobster clasp functions like the spring clasp, but the opening allows it to hook onto a larger jump ring or leather loop. O RING AND TOGGLE CLASP There are many ornate variations of the O ring and toggle clasp. Each piece is crimped onto the strand end. To fasten, fit the toggle completely through the O ring. HOOK AND EYE The hook end simply threads in and out through the eye opening to fasten and unfasten the strand. FILIGREE CLASPS In this clasp, a separate folded metal end squeezes flat to slide into the filigree housing. Pinch the metal end together...


Good, sharp blades ami a small si c for easy maneuverabilitv is mv description of great scissors to use lor beadwork. Crafl shops, fabric stores, and bead shops all have good scissors to add to vonr head work tool chest. I like ro iim small curved manicure scissors to trim the backings on round 01 o al cabothons. I he cui ve of the scissor-makes the trimming job easier. These are readilv available at drugstores

Easy peyote tube

Peyote Tubular Tutorial

Through a contrast-color stop bead twice, leaving a 9-in. (23cm) tail. Q Pick up seven beads in the following order two color A, two color B, two color C, and one color A. Slide them to the stop bead. Go through the first bead again to close the circle (photo a). Be careful to not split the thread when going back through a bead. When starting a tube, it helps to put it on a chopstick, dowel, or other form to keep the beadwork tight so you can position new beads correctly. Keep the new row near the tip of the chopstick. Maintain tension by keeping the cord taut between two fingers of the hand holding the chopstick. Pick up one A bead, skip the next bead on the circle, and go through the O Use a piece of wire as a harness to string the tube onto satin cord. Cut a piece of craft wire more than twice the length of the tube. Double it and feed the folded end through the tube, being careful not to come through the beadwork. Thread the satin cord through the folded end and pull it back...

Bead Lmbroidery

I Thread on the first bead, then take the needle down through the fabric, slightly farther along from where the thread came up. Leaving a slight gap between the entrance and exit of the thread allows space for the bead to sit nicely. Continue to embellish with beads in the same way until you are happy with the finished look. If you wish to create areas of beadwork you need to finish the working thread off and start a new thread where you wish the next area of embellishment to be placed.

Materials and tools

1-or your lust projects, I recommend that you choose either round or oval cabochons w ith a dome that's approximately 4 mm high and that has a good slopr tapering to a thin edge.This shape and configuration is easiest to bead properK. After you've become comfortable with the. basic techniques of cabochon beadwork, you can expand the universe of vour selections to include stones with odd shapes, flattened domes, or thick edges. In cabochon beadwork, the cabochon t.s sui rounded by rows of beads stitched around its outside edge to a backing material. The initial row around the outside edge is called the base rotr. In the techniques described in this book, an additional row of beads. Seed beads are the mainstay material of cahor.hon beadwork. They're available in an imiy of finishes, from matte to metallic. and in an almost unlimited spcctrum of colors. Seed beads are the mainstay material of cahor.hon beadwork. They're available in an imiy of finishes, from matte to metallic. and in an...


Pipe bags are used among Native Americans to store the accouterments for the ceremonial and leisurely consumption of tobacco. Historically, each tribe developed its own style and pattern for a pipe bag. Shown is a Sioux pipe bag featuring lane-stitch beadwork and a section of quillwork.

Hbmiorite Symphony

Judi Mullins has been doing beadwork off and on for most of her adult life. She has been published in several magazines and has taught around the Northwest area. She is now teaching classes and doing beadwork designs out of her home in Tigard, Oregon. You can contact her at

Getting Started

Experiment to sec how tight to pull the beads. I pull my beads very tightly together, and the resulting beadwork is very structural, sincc the beads do not sliift very much due to the tightness of the thread. Other bead artists maintain a looser tension, and achieve a silky fabric feel to their beadwork.

Peyote bracelet

Cabochon Peyote Ring

Begin the bracelet by making a peyote-stitch platform for each cabochon. Set each stone onto its platform with beadwork. Next, assemble the bracelet with the spacer bars. This bracelet is 7 in. (18cm) long end to end, and the center platform is slightly larger than the side platforms, which improves the fit. For a small bracelet, 6-6'A in. (15-16.5cm), you might choose narrower spacer bars or set the two end cabochons vertically on narrower peyote platforms. O Center the stone on top of the peyote-stitch platform. While holding it in place, stitch through the beadwork to one side of the stone (photo b). Pick up as many 11 seed beads as it takes to go around the stone make this an even number. Go through the first 11 bead again to form a loop and pull the thread tight so the loop fits the stone snugly.

Shaped necklace

Rebecca Peapples Bead

Using a wire armature provides a flexible core support for beadwork and opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. I love to design with large focal beads and wire-wrapped pendants, but I found that even 20-gauge wire and peyote tubes with size 8 beads weren't substantial enough to successfully highlight the larger pieces. While rummaging around in the basement, I came across some electrical wire and knew I was on to something. Using even-count tubular peyote, I beaded a tube around the wire. Once the ends were closed, I created a focal bead dangle with a fringe tassel and formed the wire into a necklace that would hold its shape and still remain light and flexible enough to take on and off without a clasp. Success For this brooch, create each leaf individually and attach it to the surface of a flat piece of beadwork. Then attach a pin back, work a picot edge, and add branch fringe. Create a necklace by adding findings and a neck strap to the brooch. Decrease in each section for...

Fringe with a Loop

One of the most enjoyable parts of creating a project is adding the embellishments. Fringe is a popular way to add color, texture, and movement to beadwork. After you've created the base, experiment with adding a variety of styles of fringe. Fringe docsn t have to be all one length to be attractive it can be longer

Medicine bags

Peyote Bead Patterns Rose

I've been a header since I was a child. During the late '60s when beads were really In, my parents bought me a bead loom. I didn't like the loom, but I loved the beads and started dragging my parents everywhere to look for beads. Now after making my living doing beadwork In one way or another, I co-own Beadweaver, a bead store In Santa Fe, and my life continues to be oriented around beads. After adding the single bead for the last row, sew back through the beadwork and finish off the thread with a few half-hitch knots (see Basics) between beads. If you wish, embellish the points by stringing some beads between them as shown in photo f. and enough seed beads to fit around the bead or button you're using for the closure. Sew back into the 6 or 8 bead in the opposite direction and end your thread securely in the purse's beadwork with a few half-hitch knots. O Sew into the end bead on the opposite front corner, turn, and come out the end bead on the back corner. Sew back through the beads...

Creating Bridges

To create a bridge, you will do the same thing as adding an only you will bring die loose end with the beads over onto beadwork and anchor die bridge onto the middle portion the beadwork, rather than just on an edge. The difference en the two terms for reference is that an arch occurs along edge of the beadwork and a bridge crosses over and anchors die middle of the beadwork. You can also attach charms, lampwork beads, shells, and interesting beads to the beadwork using arches and bridges, desired, try adding decorative wire shapes to create interest and texture. Attach the wire shapes to the beadwork by stitching through the wire shapes to create small beaded loops using serd beads. Add lampwork beads to the piece with bridges or arches, making sure to place them throughout the piece. If desired, you can slide a bead onto the wire before shaping the wire into a segment. This will help integrate the wire into the beadwork.

Folding and Layering

Generally when I fold beadwork back over itself, I glue it together then sew it down as well. When three or more layers are glued and sewn together the work becomes as stiff as plywood. To glue, use E-6000 adhesive, which is quite thick, or similar adhesive. Spread it evenly and fairly thickly on both surfaces to be adhered. Let it get tacky before pressing the beadwork together so that the adhesive does not squeeze through the beads or out the edges of the work. Once pressed together let it dry thoroughly before handling. Sew the edges of the folded portion down.


Kelly Wiese is a beadwork designer who lives in Fort Morgan. Colo., in the U.S. She has been designing and teaching beadwork for 12 years. Kelly loves to use IS- seed beads and crystals in her work, which tends to have a Victorian feel to it. She enjoys passing on her knowledge of heading to her students and spends most of her time designing new projects (or them. When time allows, she creates one-of-a-kind pieces. Several of her pieces have won awards at art shows in Colorado. Contact Kelly at beadparlor(fc, or visit her Web site, 2 Usmg a thread left over from attaching the dangles to the core, begin embellishing the core with picots Exit any 8 in the core, pick up three I52s, and sew through an adjacent 8 (photo I). Repeat all around the core (nor just on one side), adding picots as desired. The beadwork will take on a rounded shape as you add the picots. Add picots to the neck straps as well, ending and adding thread as needed. the beadwork twist and...

Peyote stitch

Peyote stitch is one of the most versatile and best-loved off-loom beadwork techniques used in the world today. It is a very flexible stitch, and when worked it almost feels like a fabric. Thread tension plays a large part in the final appearance and texture of this stitch. The stop bead not only plays a vital role in keeping the first row of beads from falling off the tail end of your thread, but also allows you to tighten the tension of the beadwork.

Woven seed bead ring

Although reminiscent of Native American beadwork, these woven rings are much easier to make and don't require a beading loom. Their low profile makes them comfortable to wear. The key to successfully stringing them is the FireLine beading thread. Lightweight yet strong, the strand threads easily through beading needles and has no trouble passing multiple times through a small seed bead.

Beaded tassels

Peyote Stitch Bag Patterns

Follow the pattern for a peyote band. Zip up the beadwork and add loops or fringe to each end. Make a tassel with a beaded loop for hanging. Slide the tassel through the beaded tube and stitch it in place. Cut a 2-yd. (1.8m) length of beading thread. String a stop bead 8 in. (20cm) from the end of the thread and go through the bead again in the same direction. The stop bead will prevent your beads from falling off until you have completed several rows of peyote. String eight seed beads in the following order A, A, B, B, C, C, A, A (rows 1 and 2). Following the diagonal stripe pattern below, work in even-count peyote (see Basics, p. 5) for 36 rows, making a total of six diagonals for each color-18 beads on each end. Remove the stop bead. Fold the beadwork in half so the first and last rows are side by side and zip up the ends (see Basics and photo a). Set aside the thread and needle. Thread a needle on the 8 in. tail. Pass the needle down through the bead from which the thread you set...

Rightangle weave

Right .ingle weave is one of the most versatile and fluid .iiti hi, found among the beadweavlng techniques. This makes if a very useful stitch for covering odd shapes increasing and decreasing instantly alters the beadwork to fit over almost any shape. The stitch is so called because the beads sit at right angles to each other. Worked in groups of four beads that link together to form a chain effect, the thread travels a certain path, round and round in opposite circles to give the beadwork great flexibility and texture. If the path of the thread is not followed properly the beadwork will become rigid, losing Its fabric-like appeal. Right-angle weave can seem quite tricky to hold at tfe sian but once you have the first row worked, it does become easiei The tension needs to be fairly firm but not too tight, iince the beadwork will buckle.

Wire cutter

Sylvia Sur has been beading since 1994 when she discovered The New Beadwork by Moss and Scherer. She lives in Los Angeles with husband Ed Kenney. Contact Sylvia through http ssur or http beadannex . One component in free-form beadwork is the incorporation of larger beads. Here are two ways to do it. Step 4s Attach the beadwork to the clasp by using size 15 s to work two straps of 2-bead-wide peyote that match up with the loops on the clasp. When they are long enough to reach through and wrap around the loops, weave the straps through the loops and sew back into the beadwork. Pass the thread through the beads on the body of the necklace, tie a knot between the beads, pass through several more beads to hide the knot, and trim close to work.

Thread And Knots

To add a thread, sew into the beadwork several rows prior to the point where the last head was added. Sew through the beadwork, following the thread path of the stitch. Tic a few half-hitch knots (sec 1 lalf-hitch knot) between beads, and exit where the last stitch ended. Use cither beeswax or microcrystalline wax (not candle wax or paraffin) or Thread Heaven to condition nylon thread. Wax smooths the nylon fibers and adds tackiness that will stiffen your beadwork slightly. Thread Heaven adds a static charge that causes the thread to repel itself, so don't use it with doubled thread. Stretch the thread, then pull it through the conditioner. To end a thread, sew back into the beadwork, following the existing thread path and tying two or three half-hitch knots (see Half-hitch knot) between beads as you go. Change directions as you sew so the thread crosses itself. Sew through a few beads after the last knot, and trim the thread. Pass the needle under the thread between two beads. A loop...

Bead Loom Techniques

Beadwork refers to the techniques that usually involve weaving small glass beads onto thread. Beadweaving can be achieved either freehand (see pages 98-129) or using a bead loom. These techniques are long established in history, in many different parts of the world, especially amongst indigenous Americans and a variety of African societies.

Stringing materials

Of the many specialty tools on the market, only a few are really necessary to get started with beadwork. I strongly suggest purchasing round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, crimping pliers, wire cutters and a sharp pair of scissors. You should be able to make all the projects in this book using just these tools.

Tension Beads

When starting any stitched bead project, you'll need to add a keeper bead or tension bead to your thread to keep your beads from sliding off as you start. 'I his bead will be removed later after the first few rows of beadwork arc established. 4. After you have stitched four or five rows onto the beadwork, use the tip of your needle first to loosen die thread that is through the tension bead and then to pull the thread our of the hole. Remove rhe tension bead. 5. Thread the needle with both thread rails, if possible, and stitfl the tails into th e beadwork. You may need to stitch them in one at a time. Most bead artists ao not use knots to stort or end threods knots are difficult to hide in the beadwork and ore unoltrocli1 to see. Trte bulk of the knots also fill up the hote o the making it difficult'o stitch through a bead several times. This o particular conccrn when creating o complicated plcce whlc require lltchlng through beads many time sometimes many as f-ve or 1* times. m...

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