Ideas and Tips for Using Bugle Beads

Dec 16, 2007


I have a growing collection of bugle beads that I don't know what to do with. Red bugle beads, silver bugle beads, green, blue, purple . . . (Am I the only one who buys beads with not even the foggiest idea for project?) Every once in awhile, I pull out my bugle bead collection and see if I can figure out what to do with them. Here are a few ideas I discovered:

Ideas and Tips

  • "Bugle beads work well in strands and fringe, in openwork such as nets and ladders or sewn onto fabric."--Getting Started with Seed Beads


  • Beading Daily reader Diane Smith writes, "I create a series of links using eye pins threaded through bugle beads, joined by a simple or wrapped loop. When I finish, the links look like they are enameled."
  • "I have heard a number of suggestions for ways to eliminate the problem of sharp edges, including someone who suggested that the ends of each bugle bead be painted with clear fingernail polish. The best solution I can think of is to always use a seed bead on both ends of the bugle bead. That way, when your thread goes back into the fabric, it rests on a smooth edge rather than a sharp one."-- Beading on Fabric


  • Beading Daily reader Vicki Star offers this tip, "Did you know that you can cut bugles to length with a glass cutter? Just make a little scratch, and break it off. Be careful of flying glass bits! Wear safety glasses and watch your fingers. Use an emery board or some fine sandpaper to smooth any sharp edges. You can start with long bugles, and end up with graduated sets for earrings or other fringes."

I'll admit--I love Vicki's idea. Even though I have cut class (for pendants), it never occurred to me to cut bugle beads! Many of my bugle beads are chipped or broken and this gives me a way to "rescue" them, rather than throwing them away.



Above, at right: One of Diane Smith's bugle bead necklaces. For each link in the necklace, she strung a green bugle bead on a gold eye pin and then created a simple loop at the other end. See more of her jewelry at: 


Free Beading Daily Projects with Bugle Beads


Egyptian Sunset Necklace
by Julie Walker

Gorgeous Geometry Earrings
by Svetlana Ancker

by Linda Herd

Elegant Netted Bracelet
by Deborah Meyer

* Technically not bugle beads, but can't you see how easy it would be to substitute bugle beads for the silver tubes?



Inspired by . . . YOU

Beading Daily Reader Rose Marie Heard created four bracelets for a granddaughter in the four pairs of school colors mentioned in the Harry Potter books. Pictured is a version of the Elegant Netted Bracelet with Hufflepuff (yellow and black) colors. Rose Marie notes that she made a few changes to the project, including substituting size 6 seed beads for the size 11 and using 6 bugle beads per row instead of 8.


More Bugle Bead Inspiration




Fan Wheel Necklace 
by Maria Rypan

This bugle bead, seed bead, and crystal necklace by Maria Rypan was inspired by contemporary beadwork seen at the Vernisage, an art piazza in Lviv, Ukraine. The wheel is a circular fan whose points are topped with Swarovski crystals and whose shape echoes through the wavy crystal-studded band. The circular fan is a modification of a unique beadwork style from Ukraine. Purchase PDF Download

Coming Wednesday: Beaded snowflakes!



Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She'd love to hear your ideas for using bugle beads!

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Coley J wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 12:05 PM
OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I am a die hard Harry Potter fan (just like most). What a good idea! I love personalization tecniques people use in projects! (Especially when they use themes from different books and movies that are near and dear to their heart!) I personally think that bugle beads add a really neat touch to lots of different projects - and so thank you for this post! Very inspiring.
Debraacts wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 2:18 PM
I too seem to collect bugle beads. I have a drawer of them organized by color. I almost hate to use them as it is sometimes hard to find beautiful or unusual-colored bugles so anytime that I see them I make a conscious effort to purchase them. I have some that are an unusual length that I've horded for 10+ years.
SusanC@193 wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 4:08 PM
My most recent necklace project was using gold bugle beads with 5 large jade beads randomly strung.
Very impressive-looking. A customer purchased 2 of them to wear together.
on Dec 17, 2007 7:27 PM
I not only have bugle beads I don't know what to do with, but I have a huge bead collection in general. I see beads I like I buy them knowing that someday an idea will come to me...

Right now I think chandalier earrings would be a good use for bugles...hmmm time to go and dig out the supplies and design something before I go to bed...
HollyP@7 wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 10:12 PM
I loved the geometric star ornaments using bugle beads created by Karen Nicholson as shown on the Dec. 07 holiday beading ideas post. Is there any way to get a pattern for those? Please Karen :)
MargaretD@48 wrote
on Dec 17, 2007 10:32 PM
June Hubner does some wonderful designs with bugle beads. Check her web site at
ShirleyW@24 wrote
on Dec 18, 2007 11:58 AM
I use bugle beads in my necklaces. I always put a delica on the ends of them because generally delica are the same size as the bugle. I also have many christmas decoration patterns that I use bulges in.
LindaP@118 wrote
on Dec 18, 2007 8:09 PM
The suggestion by Diane Smith sounds interesting, but I'm not sure exactly what she means. Could we have a little more explanation, or a picture?
Thank you,
Linda Phillips
DianaS@3 wrote
on Dec 18, 2007 9:10 PM
I'm working on a bag using right angle weave and have used bugle beads for the sides, along with a seed bead on each end of the bugle. My bead group thinks it's beautiful and so do I.
Sally322 wrote
on Dec 19, 2007 7:35 PM
And I thought I was the only one with a boatload of bugles!!

Sally S.
MollyH@3 wrote
on Jan 3, 2008 9:11 AM
Bugle beads also make a great (quick and easy!) look in a ladder stitch - just line them up on your thread and get started.. When you're done, you have a bracelet that you can embelish or leave as-is. It feels good, looks great and only takes a few minutes!
CarolB@130 wrote
on Jan 3, 2008 3:21 PM
I don't have one single bugle bead yet....but I have a huge assortment of "oooh those are neat" beads that I have spent a small fortune on and I am a beginner!!! My first project is not finished, because I found something I wanted to make and had to order all the beads and findings to create it. Sheeeeesh!!...I hate that I am so compulsive and unorganized thus far...however, I love beading and just can't live without all those beads I bought.
bdidier wrote
on Jan 3, 2008 9:56 PM
I too, would like more info on Diane Smith's idea. Thanks!
BlancaM wrote
on Jan 14, 2008 4:12 PM
Hi, I read the article and felt quite identified, having some beads around but not findind a good use for them?
yeah that's me....
I've got thousands of beads stashed that I DON'T USE!!!
I have everykind, yellow happyfaces, magnets, pearls, cristal round beads, and tons!!!
so please please someone give or propose a project that micht help!!! or else they will be at the trash!!!
SaraJ wrote
on Feb 2, 2008 9:12 PM
I think what they mean is making a bead link using wire and the bugle bead, just like you would if you were putting, say, a pearl on each bead/wire link, for a pearl wire-linked necklace. You know? Just use a bugle instead. A couple years ago I made put some seed beads on wire links (you know, make an eyepin end, put some beads on, make another eyepin end - for seed beads, they definitely had to be wrapped loops on each end of the link. See the earrings, necklace and bracelet I made, HERE.

The bracelet doesn't use the seed beads on wire links, but the earrings and necklace do.

Bugles would look excellent as I see in that pic of Diane's necklace!