Learn Bead Crochet in 7 Easy Steps

Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a
contributing editor to Beading Daily
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I can't honestly say I'm a fuzzy-fibers aficionado. Oh, I've learned to knit and I've attempted crochet, but for some reason, I haven't been able to wrap my heart around anything but a needle and thread. But you know what? I recently put my hands on a book called The Beaded Edge by Midori Nishida, and I think I need to get over this goofy block of mine. The designs in this book, which are primarily crocheted edges and trims, are so delicious that I found myself rummaging around for my size 5 crochet hook and some thick thread. These crocheted trims are beautifully beaded, reminding me of the opulence of an Indian wedding ensemble or the embellishment on an antique bag from Pakistan. They are truly gorgeous. The projects are clearly shown with step-by-step photographs, and just about every embellishment is shown on a "real" piece of clothing or is made up as a piece of jewelry.

So yes, this is a good book. So good, in fact, that I decided to get over myself, sit down, and once again attempt bead crochet. As I mentioned, I'm not an expert at this, just a rank beginner. But maybe you are, too? If so, maybe you'd like to try this little technique I found in The Beaded Edge? It's really just the beginning of a more elaborate design, but I thought making this little loop fringe might be a good start for me:

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1) String a bunch of size 8° seed beads on size FF beading thread without cutting the thread from the spool. Be sure to string them in sets of 6 for this edging.

2) Create a slip knot at the end of your thread, then use a size 5 steel crochet hook to form a chain of 6 or so slip stitches to begin the chain. To do this simple chain, yarn over your hook then pull through the loop on your hook; repeat until you have the desired length. (It helped me to use the very easy illustrations in the book to learn how to make this chain; not the cleanest chain, but I'm learning!)

3) Slide 6 of the seed beads down to the crocheted chain.

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4) Form another slip stitch, tightening the thread so the seed beads form a loop.

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  5) Form 6 more straight-on slip stitches and pull 6 more beads down to the chain.
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  6) Repeat Step 4 to form another loop.
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7) Form 6 more slip stitches to prepare for your next loop. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to the desired length.

You could sew this edge to a piece of clothing or a purse or make a long chain for tying around your wrist or neck. So pretty!

So there. I did it! Not the cleanest, but I feel like I've conquered my fear, and I'm on my way to beautiful bead crochet. Want to be inspired like I was? Check out The Beaded Edge. You'll be glad you did.


Happy beading-

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About jeancampbell

Jean Campbell is the founding editor (and currently the senior editor) of Beadwork magazine and has written and edited more than 45 beading books. She has written for Beading Daily and has appeared on the DIY Jewelry Making show, The Shay Pendray Show, and PBS' Beads, Baubles, and Jewels where she gives how-to instructions, provides inspiration, and lends crafting advice. Jean teaches jewelry-making workshops throughout the United States and calls Minneapolis home.

6 thoughts on “Learn Bead Crochet in 7 Easy Steps

  1. I have taken a bead crochet class and have a friend that is great at it. I think the hardest part is just the getting started. Once you get that first step done, it’s just finding your rhythm and having enough string to last the project. This technique looks pretty cool and fun for edging or a layer within a multi strand necklace…

  2. I’ve been crocheting as long as I can remember but I haven’t tried bead crochet since the 60’s. Stringing the beads was too tedious then, and now, 40 some years later, it still is. I think bead crochet is beautiful, but requires a LOT of patience. You did good for a first try.

  3. I also did a lot of bead crochet in the 60s and still have a few necklaces and bracelets that I haven’t given away. However, I used small pearls then. I think I’ll try some beads this time.

  4. I’d like to know what kind of thread/cord people use for bead crochet. I have used C-lon thread, which comes in beautiful colors, but find it creates a very fine finished product. I’ve tried the C-Lon cord, but I think it is too thick and usually curls if the beads don’t have enough weight to them.

  5. I love to make bead crochet bracelets. I had a hard time until I took a class at my local bead shop. I’ve had a lot of luck using Jean Stitch thread. It’s 100 % polyester which means your bracelets won’t stretch out over time and it comes in lots of color. I use it with size 8 seed beads.