What's Your Favorite Way to Make Beaded Beads?

Mar 10, 2014

beaded-beads

Right after bead-weaving was invented, someone figured out how to make a beaded bead. I'm sure of it. This is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night, thinking about the history and traditions of bead-weaving -- everybody thinks about this stuff, right?

Making Beaded Beads With Peyote Stitch

The very first beaded beads that I ever made were just simple strips of peyote stitch that I zipped together and strung on a piece of beading wire with gemstones and crystals as spacers. But I was hooked! I loved the very Zen-like idea of making my own beads out of, well, other beads, and as I tried new techniques and beading stitches, I started to realize that there are hundreds or thousands of ways to make your own beaded beads using whatever you happen to have handy at the moment.

beaded-beads

 

beaded-beads

The next step for many beaders who want to play with beaded beads is to use peyote stitch (or right-angle weave, or whatever bead-weaving stitch you like best) to cover a plain wood bead. For months, I bought bags and bags of plain wood beads to cover with peyote stitch for beaded beads, and learning how to shape the peyote stitch to fit the contour of the wood bead gave me plenty of practice in increasing and decreasing, as well as working both odd and even-count tubular peyote stitch.

Remember that if you're using right-angle weave to cover a base bead, you might want to think about painting the wood bead to match your seed beads, since the beaded fabric will allow some of the inside bead to show through.

Making Self-Supported Beaded Beads

Making beaded beads is a great way to get back to beginner's mind. Michelle Mach posted this ladder stitch beaded bead tutorial back in 2007, and it might seem elementary for someone who's been beading for a long time, but not only is this a fabulous introduction to making beaded beads for a beginner, it's the perfect jumping-off point for a more advanced beader. How can you embellish this to make a more intricate beaded bead? What happens if you use different beads for the base? What if you work additional rows of brick stitch, and increase and decrease as you go along?

beaded-beads

beaded-beads

Once you get the feel for making self-supported beaded beads, you can use structures like the basic beaded dodecahedron to create all kinds of fantastic beaded beads! Stitch up a few basic beaded dodecahedrons to learn the basic structure, and then try some of the beaded bead designs of Cyndi Holsclaw. While not all of these beads are self-supporting (some hold their shape better when there's another bead inserted into the middle of the structure), they can teach you about how tension and bead choice play a part in creating beaded beads that are truly stand-alone works of bead art.

What Do You Do With All Those Beaded Beads?

beaded-beads
Once you've made all these beaded beads, what do you do with them? A single spectacular beaded bead (like a beaded dodecahedron) makes a stunning pendant, or a pair or beaded beads can be used for eye-catching beaded earrings.

For great beading project inspiration, you don't want to miss a single issue of Beadwork magazine. Did you miss an issue or two of Beadwork in 2013? Now you can get all six issues of Beadwork from 2013 on one, searchable CD! It's an entire year's worth of product reviews, great beading projects (like the Designer Of the Year projects!), and inspiring beading techniques all in one place. And you can even get the 2013 Beadwork Collection as an instant download -- store it right on your favorite desktop or laptop computer, and make room for more beads!

So what's your favorite way to make a beaded bead? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your favorite ways to make beaded beads with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Pat@319 wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 9:21 AM

I so like the very top illustration (the beaded bead with pearls). Has that appeared in "Beadwork"?

CyndiLavin wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 9:43 AM

I am a complete devotee of doing them free-form, with all different sizes and colors of beads, usually with peyote, but throwing in other stitches as needed.  Some might say that's because I'm "creative"...I think it's because I'm not a very good rule-follower!  :-D

bitca wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 11:28 AM

How could you write about beaded beads without mentioning the amazing ones designed by Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour of BeAdinfinitum?  

bymyhands wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 9:45 PM

Hi,

I make beaded beads with bugle beads. I use 3mm and seed bead spacers or small bicone crystals to make a rectangle. Then a couple of bugle beads in I use 6mm and spacers. Again a couple of beads in I use 9mm and then 12mm. On finishing I add  all kinds of beads to decorate and embellish. The way of making sure the beads around the first row (and following rows) stay put is hard to explain but not hard once you learn it.

For now it is my secret sauce!

My bead necklace made of these kinds of beads can be found in the Fire Mountain Gems And Beads Contest 2009. I was a finalist for that great seed beads category.

bymyhands wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 9:45 PM

Hi,

I make beaded beads with bugle beads. I use 3mm and seed bead spacers or small bicone crystals to make a rectangle. Then a couple of bugle beads in I use 6mm and spacers. Again a couple of beads in I use 9mm and then 12mm. On finishing I add  all kinds of beads to decorate and embellish. The way of making sure the beads around the first row (and following rows) stay put is hard to explain but not hard once you learn it.

For now it is my secret sauce!

My bead necklace made of these kinds of beads can be found in the Fire Mountain Gems And Beads Contest 2009. I was a finalist for that great seed beads category.

josten2 wrote
on Mar 15, 2014 5:25 AM

I super love beaded beads.   I have taken classes on some really intricate ones to buying patterns and also making my own.    Super awesome.

HOW do I get the pattern to the one with the pearls.   Love it.

Lnusser wrote
on Mar 20, 2014 1:11 PM

I really like the design and colors of the top photo? Has that been published? Is it available for purchase through projects? Thanks.