How to Bezel Cabochons and Answers to Other Reader Questions

Jan 21, 2009

Beading Daily readers are full of questions! I was reminded of this when editor Michelle Mach sent me dozens of your questions this month, ranging anywhere from “How do I hang an 18mm heart pendant? Jump rings don’t seem to work.” (use a pinch or prong bail instead) to “How do I remove a crimp cover without ruining the crimp?” (very carefully, with sharp, pointed wire cutters . . . and yes, you will ruin the cover). There were also comments, including one cajoling me into training for an Iron Man after all!

I only have your screen attention long enough to answer a few questions today, but I promise I’ll sneak the rest of them in from time to time.

Q: I’ve been using Laura McCabe's technique to bezel cabochons. The technique has worked great for large items, but I have been trying to bezel rivolis. I can't seem to get them to come out smoothly, with the beads evenly distributed around the center of the rivoli. Is there a trick I’m missing?

A: Laura is a master when it comes to bezeling, so you’re learning from the best. If you’d like to learn from her in person (well, close to in person!), check out her Beaducation video Crystal Squared Pendant Class where she’ll show you how to bezel until the cows come home. In the meantime, try using size 15° seed beads instead of size 11°s to form your bezel, or start with size 11°s and do the last rounds with size 15°s. You can also put a small piece of double-stick tape inside the beadwork before you pop in the rivoli—that’ll give you a third “hand” while you bead the last rounds. The tape will hide within the beadwork once the bezel is complete.

Q: How in the world can you make flat peyote stitch curve? I really want to make a collar with this stitch, but nothing I have tried works.

A: There are several ways to curve flat peyote stitch, the easiest of which is to simply use graduated bead sizes in each row. Make a couple stitches in a row with size 8°s, then size 11°s, and then size 15°s to get a gentle curve that’s perfect for necklaces. I’ve stitched up a little sample here so you can see what I’m talking about. I used various screamin’ greens so you could see where I made the bead size changes, but most seed bead manufacturers have the same colors available in each of their sizes, so the change in bead types can be as seamless as you wish.  

Q: How can you weave bicone crystals parallel to each other, not offset?

A: Double- and single-needle right angle weave are great stitches to use for bicone crystals, and Nancy Zellers’ Crystal Cuff Bracelet is a good pattern to use. Nancy uses round crystals in her version, but bicones work well, too. The resulting beadwork looks like “boxes” of beads. There are other techniques you can experiment with, too, like herringbone stitchsquare stitch, and ladder stitch. Just be sure to use very strong thread when you do any type of off-loom beadwork with crystals since they have very sharp holes. Better yet, use size 15° seed beads between stitches to buffer the crystals’ edges.

Do you have other pressing questions of the beady sort?  Send them in and I'll answer them in a future post.  

NEW Free Peyote Stitch Pattern eBook: Our first free beadweaving pattern e-book features 5 peyote stitch projects, plus two full pages of step-by-step illustrated instructions on even- and odd-count peyote, and a sheet of peyote stitch graph paper for creating original jewelry designs. Download Peyote Stitch Projects with BeadingDaily: 5 Free Peyote Stitch Patterns

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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DebbieF@31 wrote
on Jan 21, 2009 6:58 PM
Thanks for the tip. I am a seed bead freak and love to work with them. I love the concept of the graduating sizes. Such a simple logical solution. Thankyou!!!!
PamelaN@8 wrote
on Jan 22, 2009 4:26 AM
I tried to enter my details to subscribe to the magazines but notied there was no option for United Kingdom Are we precluded from this offer?
Lou Ma wrote
on Jan 22, 2009 10:50 AM
Jean, I downloaded Laura McCabe's class on "Crystal Squared Pendant" in the MP4 format along with the recommended program to open said class but now can't get it to open on my computer without purchasing a special program. Any help for me? Lou Ma
on Jan 26, 2009 7:54 AM
Lou Ma--I sent you an email with the customer service email address in it. They should be able to help you with your download. Michelle Mach
Nemeton wrote
on Feb 1, 2009 5:01 AM
I'm intrigued by the curving peyote with different bead sizes - might have to try that! I make a lot of peyote collars just based on a simple strip 4 or 6 rows wide. If you use the more rounded seed beads such as Czech or Miyuki, and don't pull the tension too tight, the strip has enough flexibility to sit nicely around the base of the neck and can be embellished with whatever you like... I like branched fringe, lots and lots of it, and maybe a few brickstitched flowers... and suddenly it stops looking like a simple choker and turns into a 'big' deep collar instead!
carolyn47 wrote
on Oct 30, 2011 9:36 PM

Hi, I'd like to change my email address, that I use for this site, to login etc, but can't work out how. My new email address is,