Editors’ Top 5 Bead Weaving Trends to Try Now
As we plan another year of products that we hope you’ll love, we’ve discovered several trends in the bead weaving world that we want to share. The Beadwork editors share their top five bead weaving trends, including projects you can try right now!
Kumihimo, the ancient Japanese braiding technique, continues to fly to the top of our trends lists. Whether people are searching for the best and newest kumihimo tools or a traveling kumihimo stand, or just trying to find new patterns, the number of people searching for kumihimo products vastly exceeds other forms of bead weaving at the current moment. The Beadwork staff recognizes this trend and is continually working to bring you new kumihimo products.
If you are looking for some easy beginning kumihimo patterns, check out Beadwork October/November 2016 for Svetlana Chernitsky’s Basilisk Bracelet, Gabby Guset’s Kumihimo Charm Bracelet, Pru McRae’s Midas Bracelet, Sara Oehler’s All That Glitters Necklace, and Deborah Shipp’s Tartan Bracelet.
Or if you are looking for new kumihimo projects with shaped beads, try Maggie Thompson’s 10 Kumihimo Patterns to Braid: Kumihimo Bracelet & Necklace Patterns with Shaped Beads and her Holey Tubes! Cuff Kit (available in fuchsia and blue). Also check out Maggie’s Hearts Afire Necklace kit, perfect for Valentine’s Day!
New to the technique and just want to explore? Jill Wiseman shares her tips and tricks in her course Kumihimo with Beads (available on DVD and as a video download). Any way you look at it, there is something for everyone in this beautiful ancient technique.
—Marissa Bouska, Beadwork assistant editor
2. Beaded Ropes
The first beaded rope I made was a tubular herringbone design taught by Wendy Ellsworth. My rope still needs some beaded fringe but I display it proudly in my studio anyway! It not only holds great memories from the weekend retreat where Wendy taught this design but it’s also a colorful, happy piece that makes me smile when it catches my eye.
Beaded ropes are not everyone’s cup of tea, and if you’re one who has yet to embrace the rope — please, indulge me! There is something about sitting down, surrounding yourself with enough beads to create a rope (assorted beads or all one color), then getting lost in the process. The thing I love about the herringbone rope design Wendy taught is the variety. I tend to get bored, and this design keeps you hopping and leaves a lot of room for experimenting. There is nothing boring here! Then, there are days when you really get lost beading ropes, for real.
I started this tubular peyote design, planning to make an 18-inch necklace but then, before I knew it, it was a least twice as long as that. At that point, why stop! This is another necklace I display.
For more on beaded ropes and a free project for the tubular peyote technique used in the rope shown above, please visit: “Beaded Ropes: Twisted Tubular Herringbone, Tubular Peyote, Russian Spiral, and So Much More!”
—Tammy Honaman, Beadwork editor
3. Marquise-Shaped Earrings
A top bead weaving trend that we’ve been seeing a lot of on Pinterest and Facebook is marquise-shaped earrings. This timeless earring shape is flattering to just about any face shape. (For more about face shape vs. earring shape, see “How to Choose the Right Shape Earrings for Your Face Shape”). Lucky for you, we have several beaded earring patterns in this ever-trendy shape!
Evelína Palmontová’s Champagne Serenade Earrings, from Beadwork October/November 2017, are a classic marquise shape. These earrings are made with Silky beads, Rullas, bicones, and seed beads. Silke Steuernagel’s Gold Mine earrings, from Quick + Easy Beadwork Winter 2018, mimic a marquise shape with staggered 3-hole CzechMates beam beads. And Phyllis Dintenfass’s Serengeti Earrings, from Beadwork April/May 2009, use just cylinder beads to create two peyote-stitched diamonds that combine to create a lovely convex marquise-shaped earring design.
Rachel Sim’s Mod Pod Earrings, from Quick + Easy Beadwork Winter 2016, use circular herringbone and peyote stitches to bezel cylinder beads around a 10mm crystal pearl in a marquise shape. Norma Jean Dell’s Lacy Marquise Bracelet components (Beadwork October/November 2012) can be easily adapted into beautiful earrings. And Liisa Turunen and Glenda Paunonen’s Ravenna Earrings, from Beadwork December 2014/January 2015, combine 8 drop shapes into a stylish marquise-shaped earring design.
Do you love the marquise-shaped beaded earring trend as much as we do? Try one of our bead weaving patterns today!
—Lavon Peters, Beadwork managing editor
4. Stacked Bracelets
One of my favorite bead weaving trends is stacked bracelets. I usually fall for any form of bangle set out there because they are just fun to wear! I also love how convenient they are to make. The first bangle might take me some time to figure out, but after that, I fly through them! Thankfully, Beadwork has several bangle sets in every style.
If you are looking for something simple using shaped beads, look no further than Lisa Kan’s SuperDuo Spiral Bangle from Beadwork, October/November 2015. Or if you are looking for something a little edgier, try Nancy Jones’s Dragon Bangle from Beadwork, February/March 2011. And if you are looking for a challenge, you should try Katie Wall’s Diamondback Bangle (available as a kit!) from, April/May 2015.
But if you want the look of stacked bracelets without the hassle of creating more than one, try a wrap bracelet! Use groovy tiles to make Kathy Cook’s Groovy Trax Wrap Bracelet from Quick + Easy Beadwork 2018 or use seed beads and cylinder beads to stitch Alice Haron’s Wrapped in Seeds bracelet from the same issue .
If you need a few more suggestions, I also recommend Jann Christiansen’s That’s a Wrap Bracelet from, February/March 2017 and Maria Teresa Moran’s Wild Amaranthus Wrap Bracelet from Quick + Easy Beadwork 2017.
I can’t wait to see what you stack together!
—Marissa Bouska, Beadwork assistant editor
Having sold my jewelry online, in shops, and at art fairs for over a decade, I can tell you: people’s tastes vary drastically. When you’re trying to sell jewelry, it’s important to keep a cohesive look, but you need a wide variety of styles to please the crowd. If you’re looking for a style that can appeal to a wider audience, look no further than Bohemia! The selection of designs in the Fast & Fabulous Leather Jewelry Pattern Pack represents the balance between girly and masculine that has made the Bohemian style popular forever. Even if you’re not into the frills and shinies, you can still enjoy creating interesting jewelry!
There’s something wonderful about the juxtaposition of earthy, masculine leather, and feminine materials like pearls and faceted beads. Even girly girls can love leather! The Pearl Blossom bracelet by Laura Gasparrini is a classic example with floral elements and metallic leather. If you want even more feminine, Marcy Kentz’s Mermaid Splash is fancy and feminine, but the look is kept casual by the colorful suede cord. The Blarney Stone necklace by Katie Hacker with its crystals, chunky gemstones, and dangly charms is an earthy twist on a contemporary, feminine design. The Boho Braid necklace by Marla Salezze, featuring multiple knotted strands and braided flat leather, is eclectic and playful while staying neutral and warm.
I’ve encountered plenty of men (with varying degrees of patience) at craft shows who appreciate something that interests them in the dreaded and inevitable jewelry booth. “Ooh! Guy stuff! Yay!” Unisex, edgy pieces like Melissa Cable’s Picket Fence cuff may be well received. Even if the majority of your clientele is female, adding a few quick, masculine necklaces like in Kristina Hahn Eleniak’s Men’s Leather Set would certainly not go unnoticed The Boho Leather Bangles by Becky Nunn is a sleek, masculine design that’s jazzed up by multiple dangly charms and suede fringes. Rejetta Sellers incorporates masculine leather elements with earthy stones in her Forest Friend necklace.
Whether you take your Bohemian designs into the masculine or feminine, adding leather is a great way to add some funkiness to your jewelry. If you can’t get enough Boho, there are lots of Bohemian beaded jewelry designs to inspire you. If you haven’t already done so, jump on the ever-popular Bohemian wrap bracelet bandwagon. And if Boho isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to include leather in your jewelry designs!
Including new materials in your designs broadens your horizons, so why not try adding some Bohemian flair to your jewelry by incorporating some leather elements?
—Meredith Steele, Beadwork technical editor
To find more trending projects, visit the Interweave Store!