Beaded Ornaments: 5 Holiday Designs to Make Using Shaped Beads

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads

The editorial team at Beadwork magazine has teamed up again to bring our readers some inspiration for the upcoming holiday season. We wanted to stretch our imaginations when it comes to beaded ornaments and offer something beyond the usual (while beautiful) beaded ornament ball covers that people probably think of when they hear “beaded ornament.”

Below you will find five ideas for beaded ornaments using shaped beads: some are meant to be ornaments, and some are ingenious ways to create a beaded ornament from a pattern that was originally published as jewelry. Using shaped beads means these patterns work up much more quickly than some of the more elaborate beaded ornament patterns. If you’re short on time, but still want to make something special for your loved one(s), I’m sure you’ll find something to inspire you in this article!

Shining Star Ornament

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads
Meredith Steele’s Shining Star Ornament from Beadwork Dec/Jan 2020.

Beaded ornaments have become my favorite handmade gift to give during the holidays. I mentioned in the Beaded Gifts to Start Making Now article that my mom and sister already have way too much jewelry from me, and I’m sure I’m not alone! It’s fun to see what I can come up with each year, always trying to go bigger, better, and more blingy.

My Shining Star Ornament adds a little sparkle to your home décor with a beaded ornament designed to be hung in front of a window or on a Christmas tree. Circular netting makes this a quick and fun project.

Ginkgo Mandala

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads
Akiko Nomura’s Ginkgo Mandala Necklace from Beadwork Aug/Sept 2020.

The pendant from Akiko Nomura’s Ginkgo Mandala Necklace could easily become a beautiful accent for your holiday décor. You could bead the mandala and forgo the bail and the rope, just adding a simple beaded loop to the top of one of the points, and thread it onto a wire hanger. Since the instructions include the bail and the rope, a longer time commitment, it was rated as a 3-bead “advanced” level project—but if you eliminate those steps, it becomes much more approachable.

Meredith Steele
Technical Editor, Beadwork

Playful Paisleys

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads
Leslie Pope’s Playful Paisleys Necklace from Beadwork Aug/Sept 2020.

My family and I have an on-again, off-again tradition of making beaded ornaments at the holidays. It’s always a fun time when we sit around the table and share stories and make memories. One year, we made polymer clay cherubs that are still favorites year after year, and good old beaded chenille stem candy canes are always popular. This year, I’m thinking of stepping up my game by taking my own twist on Leslie Pope’s Playful Paisleys. I love the creativity of the beaded components – any of them is equally as beautiful as a stand-alone object. They remind me of snowflakes or beaded mandalas.

The medallions that make up the necklace could easily be converted to earrings or beaded ornaments. You use circular netting to create the components, then embellish them with 2-hole baroque cabochon beads. For earrings, you could make a beaded attachment between paisleys to attach the ear wire. Or, add a beaded hanger, wire spiral, or a metal bail to hang it on your tree or in the window.

Leslie Pope’s beautiful designs have graced the pages of Beadwork many times. Leslie says that she hopes her designs inspire others. Her passion for beading is contagious. Read about her inspiration in Beading Artist Leslie Pope: Beadwork Cover Girl. I’m hoping to channel a little bit of Leslie’s style and creativity with my mandala ornaments this year.

Happy beading,
Katie Hacker, Editor of Beadwork and host of Jewelry Artist podcast

Corentin Pendant

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads
Vezsuzsi’s Corentin Pendant from Beadwork Feb/Mar 2019.

When it comes to beaded ornaments, I love it when they pack a punch with color. That’s why Vezsuzsi’s Corentin Pendant stood out to me as one that would make a beautiful ornament. With its smaller scale, only 1-3/4″ in diameter, it would look fabulous on a mini-tree or dangling in a window full of paper snowflakes. There are so many color possibilities with this pendant, as well: make it Victorian with dark green and burgundy, or make it icy with light blue and silver with a crystal AB rivoli in the center to catch the light.

This pretty pendant celebrates color and the joy of creating beadwork. Combine 2-hole beads with seed beads in tubular peyote stitch, circular peyote stitch, and circular netting. Create this eye-catching, flower necklace pendant featuring a crystal rivoli and braided beading thread.

Arrow Earrings

holiday beaded ornaments shaped beads
Debora Hodoyer’s Arrow Earrings from Beadwork Oct/Nov 2019.

These Arrow Earrings by Debora Hodoyer are the perfect tree shape already! This pattern is perfect for beginner beaders who want to try a project that is rewarding and fun to do. Plus, when you’re only making one for an ornament, there’s no pressure to make two that match. Plus, the materials list is seed beads, fire-polished rounds, and SuperDuos—I know most of us beaders have way too many of these beads in our hoards and are always looking for an excuse to use them. Let’s get beading!

Tammy Honaman
Director of Content, Interweave

We hope you enjoyed our ideas for making beaded ornaments this holiday season. Dig out your leftover shaped beads and start playing with shapes to see what you can come up with! I find that making ornaments is much less pressure than making jewelry, so it’s a great place to start if you want to get into designing beaded stuff.

Happy holidays from all of us at Beadwork magazine!