Just when I thought I couldn't possibly make any more room in my bead stash for more cabochons, Tina Holden, my Bead Soup Blog Party swap partner from earlier this year, decided to do a major destash in one of her online shops. That meant lots and lots of her gorgeous polymer clay and resin cabochons were up for grabs, and since cabochons are probably my biggest beady weakness, I found myself the lucky owner of six bags of handmade polymer clay cabochons, pendants, beads, and buttons!
These polymer clay cabochons are much different to work with than the gemstone, vintage glass, or handmade ceramic cabochons that I usually use. For one thing, polymer clay cabochons are much lighter than glass, gemstone, and ceramic, so some bead artists like to use them in very intricate beaded jewelry designs. Many of these handmade polymer clay cabochons have textured backs, which makes me want to capture them in open-backed beaded bezels to show off the pretty patterns.
And, of course, there's always the problem of finding enough time to sit down and bead all these cabochons into beaded necklaces, bracelets, and earrings! My need for almost-instant gratification when it comes to making beaded bezels has led me to start using these 3 quick techniques for creating cabochon bezels:
Peyote Stitch Cabochon Bezel. If you know how to do even-count tubular peyote stitch, you can create an open-backed bezel for a cabochon. Making an open-backed bezel is particularly good for light-colored gemstones or translucent gemstones where you want the light to be able to pass through the cabochon. For most round or oval cabochons, you can make your peyote stitch bezel fit perfectly by using brick stitch to stitch the first two or three rounds of the cabochon bezel.
Right-angle Weave. Using right-angle weave is one of my favorite ways to capture a cabochon in a beaded bezel. Creating a base using right-angle weave works great for cabochons with thick edges, and is easier than using tubular peyote stitcht. And, like using brick stitch to create the first few rounds of your beaded cabochon bezel, using right-angle weave ensures a perfect fit almost every time.
Netting. Beaded netting is my new favorite off-loom bead-weaving technique for creating a beaded bezel. Not only do netted bezels work up fast, if you get creative with the beads you use to create your cabochon bezels, your finished jewelry takes on old-world glamor! Small crystal rondelles, pearls, and even tiny crystal bicones are perfect for creating these fast and easy beaded bezels. Once your netted bezel is finished, all you need is a quick beaded rope to complete your beading project.
Yep, beaded cabochons will probably always be my favorite focals when I'm working on a new beaded jewelry design. Whether I just want a quick beaded necklace with a single cabochon or a dozen vintage glass stones for a more intricate design, stitching up a tray of bezeled cabochons is a great way to keep my fingers busy.
If you're someone who learns new beading techniques best by watching them being demonstrated in real time, you're not alone. Check out Craft Daily, where you can find beading videos from some of your favorite bead artists like Melinda Barta and Jean Campbell. For the price of just one online class somewhere else, you can have monthly access to over 100 crafting and jewelry-making videos, like Melinda Barta's How to Stitch Custom Clasps. Check out all the great beading and crafting videos on Craft Daily and see how much fun it is to learn something new!
Do you have a favorite technique for creating a fast and easy cabochon bezel? Share it with us here on the Beading Daily blog!