How to Bead a Glittering Chain of Winter Stars
I don't know what it is about the winter solstice, but every year around this time, I find myself trying to figure out how to bead projects that will capture as much light and sparkle as possible. When the days get short and the nights get long, I also start to think about how to bead projects that are quick and easy. It seems that this year was all about creating beaded components, so this pretty necklace is the culmination of many months of playing with easy beaded bezels.
Each one of these sweet little stars works up in less than half an hour, using a simple combination of peyote stitch and netting. If you don't have time to make a whole string of them for a necklace, bead up two for a pair of earrings! They're also the perfect project for someone just learning how to bead using flat, circular peyote stitch.
I learned something very interesting about crystal bicones when I was figuring out how to bead each one of these little stars: the 3mm size refers to the diameter of the crystal bicone, not the length! The bicones used in this project were actually 2.5mm in length, so if you choose to swap them out for something else, make sure that you find something that is roughly the same length, not diameter. Dig through your stash and see what you have that you can substitute for some fun variations!
- 17 10mm vintage Czech glass chatons or Swarovski crystal chatons
- 85 3mm crystal bicones
- 20g size 11 seed beads, gilt-lined cream (color A)
- 5g size 11 seed beads, metallic gold (color B)
- 18 3mm 14k gold round glass druks
- Gold s-clasp (or clasp of your choice)
- 6lb test Fireline beading thread
- Size 12 beading needle
- Scissors or thread cutter
- Chain nose or flat nose pliers (optional, but very useful for pulling needle through tight spots in this project!)
|On a comfortable length of thread (no longer than 3'), pick up 20 A, leaving a 4 – 5" tail. Tie into a ring, and pass through the first seed bead strung.|
|Work one round of circular even-count peyote stitch using A, stepping up at the end, and using your fingers to keep the beadwork flat.|
|For the second round, pick up 1 A, 1 B, 1 A, and pass through the next A. Repeat around, passing up and through the first 1 A and 1 B added.|
|Now you'll begin to make the bezel cup for the chaton. Pick up 1 A, 1 3mm bicone, and 1 A. Skip the next B, and pass through the following B. Repeat around.|
Insert the chaton into the center of the bezel, and pull snugly. Pass through only the A and 3mm bicone beads (skipping the B beads) in the circle to snug up the bezel and secure the chaton. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
If you are making a small star, you are finished! Knot your thread, weave it in, and trim close to the beadwork.
If you are making a large star, continue with the following instructions:
Weave through a B bead, and the first A of one of the five points on the bezel. *Pick up 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, and pass through the corresponding A on the other side of the point. Pass through the next B in the ring, and the next A of the next point on the bezel. Repeat from * around until you have added 5 large points.
To make the large points stand out, pass through the A beads in each point, skipping the B in the center. Pull snugly, and the little points will stand out sharply all by themselves.
For my necklace, I made 9 small stars and 8 large stars, alternating them when I connected them.
To connect the stars, use your thread tails and exit from any B bead on the point of a star. Pick up 1 A, 1 3mm druk, and 1 A. Pass through the B bead on the next star you wish to join. Pass through all 3 beads strung, and than through the bead you exited at the beginning of this step. Repeat the thread path twice more to secure, then knot, weave in your thread, and trim close to the beadwork.
If you prefer, you can also start a new thread and simply weave through each star to get to the next B bead. When you join your stars, make sure that they are all facing the same direction, and that you are exiting the correct B bead on each side.
To add your clasp: using thread tails (if desired — you can always add a new thread!), exit from a B in the same way you would as if you were joining a pair of stars. Pick up 1 A, 1 3mm druk, and 16 A. Skip 15 A and pass back through the 1 A, 3mm druk, and 1 A. Pass through the B you exited at the beginning of this step from the opposite side, and then repeat the thread path 2 or 3 times to reinforce.
If you are using a clasp other than an s-clasp, pick up 7 A, one half of the clasp, and 7 A before passing back through the first A-druk-A you picked up at the beginning of this step.
Knot your thread, weave it in, and trim close to the beadwork.
I used a batch of vintage Czech glass stones with pointed backs that I had in my stash, but there are lots of options here for you. You can use 10mm crystal chatons or any stone with a pointed back, a 10mm button with a thin edge, or even a set of 10mm gemstone cabochons with a thin edge. Instead of 3mm bicones, you could use size 8 seed beads, or even shaped seed beads like triangle beads.
Want some more ideas for how to bead sparkles into your projects this winter? Favorite Bead Stitches 2011 is packed full of gorgeous, glittering beading projects from some of your favorite bead artists. And for a limited time, you can get the print edition of Favorite Bead Stitches 2011 for just $3.99! Thinking about getting a few last-minute stocking stuffers for the beaders on your list? Check out all the great savings on your favorite magazine back issues and special issues in the Beading Daily Shop!