Bead Weaving Shaped Beads with Expert Beaders
Shaped beads have been around for several years now, and many bead weaving artists have embraced them. If you want to add structure and dimension to your beadwork, shaped beads might be the perfect solution. In addition, shaped beads can help you design more quickly. Read on to find out what some of Beadwork’s top designers love about using shaped beads in their designs.
I enjoy the challenge of working with shaped beads and multi-hole beads to see what I can create. When new beads arrive on my bead mat, I’m inspired to create something I find both pretty and interesting. It’s best for me when the final step of a design pulls the piece together in an unexpected way to make it all work.
My beadwork designs are often constructed with a combination of shaped and multi-hole beads. My preferences in shaped and particularly multi-hole beads are those produced by Starman and multi-hole beads called CzechMates. I like using CzechMates beads because they’re created to work together. The colors and bead holes match. Projects with the beads working together fit better for my design style. I also love SuperDuos and now the DiamonDuo or GemDuo beads.
— Marcia Balonis, Marcia Balonis Designs
Throughout college I worked at a stained glass shop and even took glassblowing classes, so I’ve always been fascinated by glass. To me, the larger surface of shaped beads highlights the beautiful qualities of glass. And I love that most shaped beads have multiple holes that make bead weaving techniques interesting and quick to stitch.
— Melinda Barta, Melinda Barta Studio
I love new shapes, and I enjoy combining shaped beads together. To me, it’s like construction or architecture.
— Svetlana Chernitsky, LiriGal Beaded Jewelry
Shaped beads add so much textural interest to a design. They can be used as transitional pieces to create dimension, or they can be used to create strong yet flexible foundations from which to build upon. I think of shaped beads like Lego or K’NEX pieces that can be used in many different ways to build out or up.
— Penny Dixon, Penny Dixon Designs
The benefits of shaped beads really depend on the bead — there are so many, and they all have their own benefits and challenges! I like using standard two-hole beads such as Tilas and SuperDuos to create multiple layers of beadwork. Half Tilas are great for bezeling rivolis! I also love making petite flowers with shaped beads with offset holes, such as Rizos, Dragonscales, lentils, and petals.
— Cindy Holsclaw, Bead Origami
What I like about the new shaped beads is that they give me the opportunity to make modern looking jewelry. I enjoy playing with shaped beads to find combinations that fit nicely together in a gorgeous pattern. I like that the colors and coatings of different shaped beads are the same, so it’s easy to combine them into a mono-colored design of different bead shapes. I also like that designs work up quickly because the beads tend to be larger.
— Akke Jonkhof, Akkesieraden
Maria Teresa Moran
What I love about shaped beads is that combining them with seed beads lets me create jewels of various shapes. I love seed beads because they allow me to be precise in my designs; however, multi-hole shaped beads also provide many possibilities. Bead manufacturers are constantly creating new shapes to help inspire bead artists.
— Evelína Palmontová, Evelin Palmont Hand Made Jewelry
Shaped beads, which have multiple holes, allow thread paths and construction that simply aren’t possible with single-hole round seed beads. The design possibilities are amazing!
— Jennifer Schwartzenberger
All of the shaped beads call out to me, “Come and play with me!” Some of them beg to be worked into traditional bead weaving stitches, and some of them say, “Texture! Yes!” And those sexy curved ones, those are the worst! “Follow me and let’s see where we end up.” You bet I will!
— Susan Schwartzenberger
What I love about shaped beads is their ability to give structure and dimension to a beadwoven piece. Sometimes using a shaped bead instead of seed beads makes it possible to achieve certain structures that would be much more difficult with just seed beads. I love to challenge myself to find new ways to incorporate shaped beads into my work, combining them with seed beads and crystals while still using my favorite stitches.
— Kassie Shaw, The Beading Butterfly
I love the colors and finishes of shaped beads. Because they have unusual shapes, they reflect light differently — which generates interest and adds more layers of colors to my projects. I use shaped beads sparingly either as accents or as a supporting base for my seed beads.
— Agnieszka Watts, Agnieszka Watts Design Studio
I love using shaped beads in my designs because they add so much texture and dimension. The variety of shapes also gives you curves and angles that are hard to achieve otherwise. The diversity of colors and finishes adds more depth to your beading color palette. Plus, you can use shaped beads with your favorite stitches such as peyote or herringbone, and their larger size means projects work up even faster. Score!
— Shae Wilhite, Sweet Beads
For tons of shaped bead projects and inspiration, check out our shaped beads eBooks in the Interweave Store!