Custom Cool: Bead Weaving Sparkly Wheels

These fun rings are the result of collaboration between three beaders. Nikia Angel started making her Sparkly Wheels more than a decade ago. Today, Ludmila Raitzin and former editor Melinda Barta share a few of their twists on Nikia’s tried-and-true pattern, proving a classic design this versatile never goes out of style!

Sparkly Wheels options

Designed by Nikia Angel. Samples stitched by Melinda Barta.


size 11° seed beads (A)
glass 4mm fire-polished rounds (B)
6 lb braided beading thread
size 10 beading needle

Finished Size: 11⁄ 16″

Technique: netting

RING. Work with tight tension and use netting to form a ring:

Round 1 (outside edge): Use 4′ of thread to string {3A and 1B} nine times, leaving a 6″ tail. Tie a knot to form a circle and exit from the second A added (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Working Round 1, the outside edge of the ring

Fig. 1: Working Round 1, the outside edge of the ring

Round 2 (front): String 5A, skip 3 beads, and pass through the next A of Round 1. Repeat around to add a total of 9 nets, attaching 5A nets to the middle As of the 3A sets in Round 1. Exit from the third A added in this round (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Adding Round 2 nets

Fig. 2: Adding Round 2 nets

Round 3 (inside front): String 1B and pass through the A at the center of the next net of Round 2. Repeat around to add a total of 9B (Fig. 3). Snug the beads to form a circle in the center of the ring. Repeat the thread path at least once and exit from a middle A of a 3A set in Round 1.

Fig. 3: Adding the beads that will form the inside of the ring

Fig. 3: Adding the beads that will form the inside of the ring

Round 4 (back): Repeat Round 2 (Fig. 4).

Starting the back of the ring

Starting the back of the ring

Round 5 (inside back): Repeat Round 3.

So many ways to take this one bead weaving pattern!

So many ways to take this one bead weaving pattern!

Sparkly Wheels Options Galore!

Once I found these rings could be stitched in about 20 minutes, I just couldn’t stop! So 14 rings and one pair of earrings later, I discovered many quick-and-easy variations you, too, can incorporate into the design.

  • For 7⁄8″ rings perfect for earrings, simply downsize your beads and use 3mm rounds and size 15° seed beads or charlottes.
  • Dress up the design by replacing the fire-polished rounds with 3mm crystal bicones and the size 11°s with size 15° sterling silver–plated charlottes.
  • Just before tightening the beads of the final round, insert an 18mm crystal rivoli (or a 10mm rivoli if working the ring with 3mm bicones and size 15° charlottes). Who knew it could be so easy to bezel rivolis?

–Melinda Barta

Even More Design Inspiration Using Sparkly Wheels

By Ludmila Raitzin

Here are just three ways I have creatively incorporated Sparkly Wheels into my own designs.

Thai silver coin sparkly wheels by Ludmila Raitzin

Join 10 rings, made of clear AB fire-polished rounds and gunmetal seed beads, with printed Thai-silver coins for a charming necklace. For a touch of asymmetry, make an off-center focal by using jewelry cement to attach one ring to a mother-of-pearl flower shaped shell.

sparkly wheel component bracelet by Ludmila RaitzinThe rings are used as components and for the clasp in this sweet bracelet. For a silky look, use crystal pearls in place of the fire-polished rounds.

Sparkly Wheels necklace by Ludmila Raitzin


This stunning necklace, worthy to be paired with the most elegant of evening gowns, was made by connecting rings of several sizes in an asymmetrical layout. The smaller rings were made with size 15° seed beads and 2mm or 3mm fire-polished rounds, while the ropes were constructed with spiral stitch and fringe.

Excerpted from Beadwork magazine, June/July 2010, with guest contributors Nikia Angel and Ludmila Raitzin.


NIKIA ANGEL lives and beads happily in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Beading since a child and obsessively since the late 1980s, she is widely known and respected as a teacher of innovative designs. She has been published in several books and magazines and owns, where she sells kits of her designs and those of several other designers.

MELINDA BARTA is former editor of Beadwork magazine. She is the author of Hip to Stitch, Custom Cool Jewelry, Mixed Metals (Interweave, 2005–2009), and many other bead weaving resources. Visit

LUDMILA RAITZIN was born in Moscow, Russia, and now lives in New York City. Formerly an oil engineer and owner of her own successful sweater company, she is now a jewelry designer who has been published in several books and magazines. Her beadwork has been exhibited in New York’s Museum of Art and Design.

Melinda Barta shares her bead-weaving and other jewelry-making expertise through many resources in the Interweave store.

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