Five Secrets for Better Bead Embroidered Cabochons

Hello, my name is Jennifer VanBenschoten, and I am a cabochon addict. I admitted that fact years ago, although I'm not sure how much it's helped me. My cabochon collection seems to be growing exponentially every year with no end in sight. As long as I keep coming across gorgeous hand-cut gemstone cabochons, handmade ceramic cabochons and gorgeous resin cabochons, I'll just keep buying more storage bins to hold them all.

This just a sample of the handmade ceramic cabochons by Lisa Peters Art that I have in my collection. Should I open a museum?

My favorite technique for beading around cabochons is bead embroidery. Kind of ironic, since my very first attempt at a bead embroidered cabochon project ended with me chucking the cabochon into my drawer of unfinished projects where it stayed until just a couple of years ago. These days, I find that whipping up a couple of bead embroidered cabochons is what I like to do when I'm in between beading projects and just need to let my beady brain rest for a bit.

Lots and lots of trial and error have led me to refine my methods for stitching a peyote bezel around my cabochons using bead embroidery techniques and peyote stitch, but these five tips are what I've shared with my students when I'm teaching basic bead embroidery using cabochons.

Using double-sided tape means less mess than working with glue. And there's no waiting – you can start beading right away!

1. Forget about the glue. Since you'll be stitching a secure peyote bezel around your cabochon, why bother with messy, smelly glue? I'm one of those impatient beaders — when I get a bead in my bonnet, I want to start stitching right away. So instead of messing about with glue most of the time, I use double-sided tape to adhere my cabochon to the bead embroidery backing. My favorite is the Peel N Stick brand, available at your local craft store. To use it, trace around your cabochon and then cut it out about 1/4" inside your line.

2. Use size 11o cylinder beads. Once upon a time, I insisted on using size15o seed beads to stitch my peyote bezels. But then I wondered why it took me so long to stitch a peyote bezel around a cabochon! I realized that the cylinder beads actually made a better peyote stitch bezel around my cabochons. Because the cylinder beads are more even in shape, the bezel comes out tighter and more secure! The cylinder beads also allow for more thread passes, so they're great when you want to add embellishments around your cabochon.

3. Don't use a long length of thread. I used to stitch peyote bezels around cabochons using a very, very long piece of thread. Using a shorter piece of thread means less tangles and less time spent pulling all that thread through the beads as you stitch. I've also found that using a shorter length of thread for each part of the bead embroidery project means that if the thread breaks, I don't have to worry about ripping out a large portion of the beadwork. Instead, I use a shorter thread and just add new threads more often. It really is a huge time-saver when you're stitching a beaded bezel around a cabochon, and I think it makes your entire bead embroidery project more durable in the long run.

Don't worry if your first round of backstitch isn't perfect. Those little cylinder beads will line up together once you start working in peyote stitch!

4. Don't worry if your base ring isn't perfect. If the first ring of beads you stitch down around your cabochon isn't perfect, don't fret. Once you start working peyote stitch around the cabochon, you'd be amazed at how those little cylinder beads just line themselves up perfectly! Any imperfections in your stitching will also be less noticeable when you add a ring of beads around your cabochon before you continue working in bead embroidery.

Use a final round of size 15o seed beads to secure your peyote bezel.

5. Always finish with a round of size 15o seed beads. Because you want to stitch your peyote bezel until it just comes up over the edge of your cabochon, you might need to tighten it up. Instead of doing decreases using cylinder beads, add one (or more) round of size 15beads and pull snugly as you add each bead. If you can't find beads that don't match your cylinder beads exactly, use a high-contrast color or even a metallic seed bead to add some visual interest to your bezel. For a fancier bezel, stitch picots by adding a second row of 15o seed beads and skipping every other space. 

Once you get the hang of making a peyote stitch bezel around your cabochons using basic bead embroidery techniques, you'll be hooked! These beaded cabochons can be used for just about anything!

If you're ready to start learning new ways to use your cabochons, you'll want to check out the project sale going on right now in the Beading Daily shop. All projects are on sale for a limited time, so stock up on beading projects and get busy beading with those cabochons!

Do you have a tip for stitching a beaded bezel around a cabochon using bead embroidery? Leave a comment and share your tips and hints!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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