Romantic Beaded Fringe: 3 Lacy Techniques

Nothing Says Romance Like Listerine

It was Valentine’s Day, 1985…my husband and I had been dating for a couple years…and this was the day I knew romance, poetry, and flowers wouldn’t be a big part of our relationship: He gave me a bottle of red-colored Listerine.

Most women would have turned on their heels at that point. However strange, I knew from that day forward ours would be an honest, forthright relationship. Practicality in all things. No funny business. I certainly also knew I would never need to anticipate getting flowers and be disappointed when they didn’t come or were the wrong color or type! And it really has turned out okay…we’ve had 20 years of happy, comfortable, fresh-breath togetherness.

Dark Chocolate, Crystals, and Other Indulgences

The fact remains, however, that I am still a woman, and, in my opinion, there’s a certain amount of romantic indulgence that must make up part of a woman’s life. So I simply indulge myself: There’s always dark chocolate in the pantry; my bathroom is stocked with bathtub bombs, votive candles, and all kinds of exfoliating devices for those off chances for pampering; and in the summertime the yard is full of flowers, each one with my name on it. Another romantic indulgence is, of course, my beadwork. Wearing certain pieces of jewelry I’ve made makes me feel feminine, pretty, and a bit spoiled. Crystals flash as nicely as diamonds and beaded flowers never die.

The Ultimate Beaded Indulgence

I’m not sure designer/author Lisa Kan ever got Listerine for Valentine’s Day, but she certainly knows how to design “spoil yourself” beadwork for girls like me. Her book Bead Romantique contains the ultimate in beaded indulgence, with designs featuring elaborate beadwork, filigree, fine chain, crystals, and pearls. Most of the projects within are for hardcore off-loomers, but not all. And for those of you who are just treading into the seed bead stitching arena, the illustrations in this book are extremely clear and plentiful. A great book to have next to the box of chocolate and dish of bathtub bombs!

3 Fringe Favorites

One technique Lisa employs quite a bit in Bead Romantique is fringe—bountiful, jangly, romantic fringe. There are as many types of beaded fringe as there are beads, but here are a few of my favorite kinds that make my beadwork feel utterly romanced:

Drop fringe
String several seed beads, 1 round 3mm bead, 2 seed beads, 1 drop, and 2 seed beads. Pass back through the 3mm bead and the rest of the seed beads.  

Leaf fringe
String several seed beads in a branch color, then 13 seed beads in a leaf color. Skip the last 3 seed beads just strung and pass back through the fourth. String 9 seed beads in a leaf color and pass back through the branch-colored beads.
Branch fringe
String 10-20 seed beads, 1 crystal, and 1 seed bead. Pass back through the crystal and 3 seed beads on the original strand. *String 2 -4 seed beads, 1 crystal, and 1 seed bead. Pass back through the crystal, the 2-4 seed beads just strung, and the next 3 beads on the original strand. Repeat from * for the length of the strand.
What kind of techniques do you add to your beadwork for a romantic flair? Ever received an unusual or life-path-changing gift for Valentine’s Day? Share them on the site. (And Happy Valentine’s Day from one bead-spoiled girl to another!) 

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!  

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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

9 thoughts on “Romantic Beaded Fringe: 3 Lacy Techniques

  1. I always enjoy Jean Campbell’s blogs because she gives clear instructions on how to do basic things, like making fringe..for example. As a new comer to the area of beading, though I have been making “cheap, hey mommy look what I made” jewelry since I was a little girl, I enjoy leaning new ways of doing things. I don’t have access to actual jewelry stores, unless you count Jo-Ann craft stores, and therefore can’t ask someone how to do something. Most books I’ve had the chance to look at don’t always explain things clearly. But Ms. Campbell makes it crystal clear. Thank you.

  2. The oddest Valentines day present I ever received was a dvd player. Wrapped in a heart shapped box. No romantique movie and popcorn, just the dvd player. At least he tried by making a heart shapped box. hehe.

  3. I haven’t received any bizarre valentines presents, christmas, birthday and anniversary gifts are a different story altogether.
    I love the red listerine story. My favorite “lacey” effect in beadwork involves a row of 3 bead picot trim, then a row of 5 bead picot trim and finally a row of 7 bead picot trim. It makes a nice ruffley edge. I do it around bezeled cabs and buttons when turning them into pins or pendants.


  4. While a dozen red roses for Valentines may not seem to strange gift, it was for me. In February of 2006, a dozen of them were delivered to me…..from my husband. Now, he is a no nonsense man and things like roses to him are silly. But they were sent by him simply because he knew I liked Valentines and he was 1500 miles away in British Colombia waiting his final Visa to enter the states.

    I was amazed to receive them and started crying as soon as I knew they were from him.

    Have I received any since? I never expect them and poof, they appear. He says even though it’s not his thing…..he likes the surprised look on my face when they arrive.

    Personally, I love the extra effort he makes to see me smile.

  5. Over 40 years ago I received a present, I have no idea what the present was, but it was ‘wrapped’ in a piece of shiny, a color between teal and electric blue paper that was no telling how old, or how many times it had been reused. It wasn’t taped, just kind of wadded, and there was no ribbons or bows holding it together. There were sticky spots where previous tape had been and other tape that had not been pulled off. No, we were not children, and no, he did not have ‘issues’ at least not any that had easy names. Well !!! old memories…I enjoyed everybodys comments and stories.

  6. I am making a bracelet that has grape leaves and clusters of grapes. I am using Miyuki drops that look like tiny grapes and 11 seed beads. I can’t figure out how to make the clusters of grapes. Would you use the instructions for Twigs and Branches or do you have any ideas? Thank you plwilliams.