How Do I Cover a Bead with Peyote Stitch?

This spectacular peyote stitch Bloomin' Bead was designed by Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers.

Beaded beads are fascinating for so many reasons. It's more of that Zen-like quality of beadweaving for me: imagine making a bead out of beads! Where does one bead stop and the next bead begin? 

Before I get completely off topic, let's talk about covering a bead with beadweaving to make a beaded bead. It's a fabulous way to turn ordinary wood beads into something spectacular, and these little peyote-stitch beading projects usually don't take a lot of time to finish.

To make your own peyote-stitch-covered beaded bead, you'll need the following tools and materials:

  • Round wood beads. Start with round beads at first, since their shape makes it easy to shape peyote stitch around them. For this tutorial, I used a 20mm round wood bead that I found in an assortment from my local craft supply store.
  • A small strip of double-sided tape, also available at your local craft supply store.
  • 2 grams of Japanese cylinder beads, size 11o in color to match or contrast with your wood bead.
  • 1 gram of size 15o seed beads in a color to match or contrast with your cylinder beads.
  • Beading thread of your choice (6 lb Fireline recommended).
  • Size 12 beading needle.
  • Scissors or thread cutter.
  • Additional beads for embellishment, if desired: fringe beads, drops, daggers, bugle beads, or larger seed beads.

Let's get started! Here's how to cover your wood bead with peyote stitch in ten easy steps:

1. Take a small strip of double-sided tape and wrap it around the center of your wood bead. This will hold your first few rows of peyote stitch securely in place and will also provide an anchor for your finished peyote-stitched beaded bead.

2. Pick up an even number of cylinder beads. Always make sure you have an even number of beads before stitching so that your rows are even as you go. Tubular even-count peyote stitch requires that little "step up" at the end of each round!

3. Pass through the first bead picked up again and pull snugly so that you form a tight ring around your wood bead on the double-sided tape.

4. Start working in tubular even-count peyote stitch until the beadwork starts to pull away a bit from the wood bead. You can flip the bead over and work some peyote stitch on the other side to keep your tension even and tight.

5. Stitch a size 15o seed bead in the first stitch and then alternate cylinder beads and size 15o seed beads for one round.

6. Add a size 15o in every stitch for two rounds.

7. Stitch a size 15o in the first stitch and then make a decrease. (Pass through the next 2 beads and pull snugly.) Repeat around.

8. Pick up beads for netting: 1 size 15o, 1 cylinder bead, and 1 size 15o. Pass through the next "up" bead in the round.
9. Pass through the first two beads added at the beginning of the previous round. Work peyote stitch through the cylinder beads from the previous step until the opening begins to close up a little. Work peyote stitch for a total of three rounds.
10. To secure the last row, pass through all the beads in the round just added and pull. Weave your thread into the beadweaving, tie a few knots, weave in a bit more, and trim. Repeat for the other side of the beaded bead.
You can either leave your beaded bead as it is or add some fancy beaded embellishment. Try covering your beaded bead with beaded netting, stitching a pattern of bugle beads around the center of the bead, or adding fringe beads or daggers to the ends of your beaded bead. The sky is the limit when it comes to embellishing these little beauties!

A tip for maintaining even tension when working peyote stitch around this kind of beaded bead: when you pass through the first bead in Step 3, leave a thread tail that is approximately one-half the length of your beading thread. This way, you can flip the bead over and work peyote stitch on the other side of the bead without having to add a new thread!

Are you hooked on making beaded beads? This year, in celebration of their 15th anniversary, Beadwork magazine is holding a beaded bead contest! Each entry has to contain at least one of each beaded bead that will appear in Beadwork magazine throughout 2012. Want to get in on the fun? Make sure you subscribe to Beadwork magazine so that you don't miss a single issue! (And you can find all the rules for the beaded bead contest here on Beading Daily, too!)

What's your favorite kind of beaded bead to make? Take a picture of your fantastic beaded bead and post it in the Reader Photo Gallery!

Bead Happy,


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