Tips for Successful Seed Beading–and a Free Project!

Dec 4, 2009
So you want to seed bead?

Welcome to my world! Above all other mediums, seed beads have been my biggest passion. I began beading with seed beads, and though along the way I fell in love with many other mediums and types of beadwork, nothing compares to the pleasure I derive from stitching with seed beads. You'll catch the same wave of delight when you look at Getting Started With Seed Beads, because Dustin Wedkind's collection of projects are as enticing as seed beading can get. As you enjoy page after page of instruction and inspiration, especially as newcomers to this realm, here are a few words to help you succeed:

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Comet Tail Earrings Spacer 10x10 pixels 1: Start with a small project
These are small beads. The end results take time to achieve. So, start small. Start doable. Make a couple beaded beads or a pair of earrings.
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Beaders with Glasses Spacer 10x10 pixels 2: See it to succeed
I repeat, these are small beads. Buy a couple pair of fun magnifying glasses. From dollar store to boutique, they are just the most quirky, stylish glasses out there. Whether you are a junior or a senior, do your eyes a favor. It’s not a stigma, it’s a fashion statement.
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Thread Needle Spacer 10x10 pixels

3: Learn to thread a needle
Are you dreading threading? You’re not alone. My tip: with the length in your nondominant hand, pull the thread so only the teensiest part shows between your thumb and forefinger, then bring the eye to the thread. If needed, flatten the tip of the thread first between your fingernails.

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Snappy Band Cuff Spacer 10x10 pixels

4. Enjoy the process
Ask any beadweaver why they enjoy seed beading and they’ll use words like “zen” or “meditative” or “relaxing.” Repeititon, such as in this “Snappy Band” cuff can really help you to improve your technique. Bead stitching is about the journey as much as the destination.

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Brick Stitch Strand
Spacer 10x10 pixels 5: Use your favorite colors
I do not believe in “trying” colors that don’t appeal to me. Many believe this restricts creative potential. That may have merit, but not for me. If you’re a beginner, stick to what you love looking at. The time you spend is too valuable to make something you won’t wear.
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Beaded Cylinder Spacer 10x10 pixels 6: Start from the beginning
Limit your colors and choose a project that is minimal, one in which you can develop the nuances of a technique—ONE technique. Many first-time beaders start with peyote stitch.
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Which stitch will get you started?
Aha, good question. I suggest some popular basics to beginners for their versatility: peyote and brick stitch. That’s where our book Getting Started with Seed Beads will help. You can see which stitches appeal to you not only in the finished look and bead fabric they create, but in the type of diagram you need to follow to learn the stitch. Start with something that makes your fingers itch to bead something!
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Here's your FREE seed-bead project!

These beaded tubes combines two variations of flat peyote stitch: two-drop, which means two beads per stitch, and odd-count, which means an odd number of stitches per row and requires a specific turn at the end of every other row. Using three colors of beads helps you see how the rows fit together.

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What stitch did you start with in seed beading? Do you have advice for newbies to this glorious obsession? Share them here on Beading Daily!

Leslie Signature

Featured Product

Getting Started with Seed Beads

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Was: $18.95
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Author Dustin Wedekind takes readers through the process of working with seed beads, from shopping to storing and from stringing to sewing a successful beginning project.


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on Dec 4, 2009 6:17 AM
I would love to make the snappy band cuff, but I can't find the pattern anywhere! Please help!
PatriciaF@31 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 6:31 AM
When is someone going to help us lefties???? I cannot find anything about left-handed instructions...No seed bead pattern is easy to turn around backwards like usual...and believe me, I have tried!! Thanks, Patricia
JanisR2 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 6:38 AM
I am also looking for the Snappy Band Cuff instructions. Please post the pattern for us. Thank you.
JanisR2 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 6:49 AM
I found the pattern - it starts on page 72 in the book "Getting Started with Seed Beads" by Dustin Wedekind. (I had forgotten that I had the book), found it after I did a Google search and it pointed me in the right direction.
on Dec 4, 2009 8:42 AM
Hi--and thanks Janis for answering for me. The Snappy Band is indeed one of Dustin's Getting Started in Seed Beads projects! You'll love making it! Leslie editor Beading Daily
zawadiqueen wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:24 AM
I purchased "Getting Stated with Seed Beads" when I first started beading 2 years ago. Great book. There are a lot of easy get started projects. Regina Bufford
SuzJohnson wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:49 AM
My enthusiasm for beading began over 15 years ago. The internet provided me access to instruction and lots of kits. The first thing I made was a brick stitch amulet bag from a kit and that hooked me. The first beading book I purchased was Creative Bead Weaving by Carol Wilcox Wells and I still refer to it so I believe books to be an invaluable tool to learning this wonderful craft.
didjaever wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 9:57 AM
My passion for seed beads started a few years ago when I took a bead crochet class ... I am presently experimenting with bead embroidery and beaded cabochons.
Sally322 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 11:33 AM
CarolynL@22 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 1:01 PM
I really started using sead beads when I decorated my jewelry bags for Christmas. I became devoted to sead beading after taking a class from Adele Sciortino for a beaded cuff bracelet. Everyone asks "how can you bead so many tiny beads?" I find it extremely relaxing and very creative. Arizona Girl
MaryL@114 wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 4:30 PM
Here's another tip for threading a needle. Needles today are machine made and the holes are puched. This means that there is a smooth side and a rough side. If you're going nuts trying to get the thread through the eye try the other side!
prudyfry wrote
on Dec 4, 2009 8:57 PM
Started using seed beads 50 yrs. ago but didn't get serious until 40 yrs. later. I'm teaching a few friends and I started with a simple spiral which they loved. Moved onto basics with square stitch w/embellishments and they are amazed at what they can do. Will move on to peyote, brick, etc. If you are using Nymo, or anything not Fireline, and oval holed needles, you can find a "Desk Needle Threader" in a quilt store or Michaels that makes threading anything from a 7 to a 12 a miracle (saved my sanity when I started beading as I had to tear out stitches - - a lot). My newbie's liked it so much they each bought one of their own. I am a lefty and rarely find a pattern that I cannot reverse for lefty use; if I can't, I scan pics into my documents and print it out using the mirror image option.
Ann@215 wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 12:53 PM
I have learned from books and my first project was a peyote stitched rope on which I beaded leaves, flowers and vines. Then I tried other stitches and have made several projects that I have entered in contests and done well. I teach regular stringing at my Family, Community and Education clubs. Beading is very relaxing for me. I am in my mid seventies and use beading to keep my hands fexible. I use So No thread for seed beading and like it better than nymo or fireline, it does not have to be conditioned with wax or thread heaven, and does not tangle. I enjoy this site very much and have gotten some goo hints. Thank-you
D.M.Z wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 12:56 PM
My first seed bead encounter now (I first beaded on a wire loom when I was a kid, but didn't continue with it) that I have retired was to tackle an amulet bag in square stitch. I bought the kit about 5 years (!!) previously and just took one look at the tiny beads and freaked out and put it away.... I made up the kit and was thrilled and hooked on those tiny delica beads. The first official class I took was Right Angle Weave, after a bit I moved on to peyote and then beading around a cab. I never ever got to where I liked peyote as my first experience was accidentally cutting the wrong thread and it all fell apart......grrr. Finally have taught myself brick and netting. And I have always got a project going on one of my looms.
carli3 wrote
on Dec 5, 2009 7:19 PM
I started with the brick stitch in order to make the zipped up collars for focal pieces, then made every kind of chain, metal, stone, polymer piece (including making my own beads) and now I'm back to learning basic peyote to incorporate into my own designs. Hope my eyes and neck last!
maryd@144 wrote
on Dec 6, 2009 10:01 AM
I also started with a bead loom in the 1960's, and did not know how to find more seed beads for a while. Then bead stores started popping up, and I went to "love beads", and wire work with beads. I taught myself brick stitch, then did a class using peyote. As the interest in beading has expanded I love all the creativity that can be shared between what my husband calls "beadists". At one point when I was doing a lot of seed bead work I could almost thread the needle in the dark/by feel. Unfortunately that time has passed...
Jo NellS wrote
on Dec 7, 2009 3:59 PM
I have been playing with beading 10 or so years. I prefer seed beads, but had a bad habit when I started out of taking classes that were really over my head. This lead to a lot of frustration. I finally learned to tune back a bit and things have gone smoother (I had also learned things from the classes). I also am a bookaholic. Dustin's book is a good learner book, as is the Carol Wilcox Well 's mentioned above, but there are lots others out there as well. Plus internet site. Good luck with the beading. Jo Nell S
ktcdesign wrote
on Dec 11, 2009 9:47 PM

Thanks for the great tips you suggest. Beading is a wonderful medium to work with, even though I am still struggling with understanding patterns. My beading has always been free form and gluing the beads to a surface. I used beads on almost any surface and strong it in many ways. With out steps and diagrams. I love the works I see on the web site but struggle with understanding the patterns. I do have few books same problem. Any suggestions to how to approach a pattern. And how would I know which one should be easier for me?

DaeL wrote
on Dec 12, 2009 9:19 PM

I have found if you are having trouble threading your needle, keep a tube of Blistex or Chapstick handy and just run the tip of the thread though your lips- works like a charm!

AliceT@9 wrote
on Dec 13, 2009 7:26 AM

Please help! I am looking for a pattern in peyote called peaks and valleys. It was done as a bracelet. All I know is it was in one of the bead magazines.  Alice

AliceT@9 wrote
on Dec 13, 2009 7:26 AM

Please help! I am looking for a pattern in peyote called peaks and valleys. It was done as a bracelet. All I know is it was in one of the bead magazines.  Alice

MsCrafty666 wrote
on Dec 13, 2009 8:55 AM

I love your second tip = glasses !!!

I am actually thinking about beading a pair  !!!

I am new to beading but already addicted.  I make purses and I embellish (and redesign) wearables.  I use beads in almost all of my projects but beads have slowly been taking over.  I attended a bead show in Philly and THAT sealed my fate.....beaded embroidery here I come !!!    I did a small sampler piece and now know that EVERY project will have more and more beads UNTIL I reach my goal of the entirely beaded purse...... wish me luck :O)

philipson wrote
on Dec 17, 2009 5:36 AM

I'm  a new beader and started using seed beads about a month ago and I'm hooked. I love the new format of beading daily and comments. Please keep up the good work.

HelenL@25 wrote
on Jan 21, 2010 1:02 PM

I have just learned the Brick Stitch and would just love to have the pattern for the

Comet Tail Earrings just to get me going and used to working with that stitch.

I the pattern available

Thank you