Make a Beaded Mandala With Bead Netting
Last week, I shared my story about how a visit to a local shaman and some beads braided into my hair resulted in some pretty cool creative projects. Well, I’m still riding that big wave of creativity, and now I’m playing with making tiny beaded mandalas using netting stitch!
Beaded netting stitch is one of my favorite ways to create beaded mandalas. (Bead embroidery is another great way, but that’s another blog for another time.) Specifically, I’ve been using flat circular bead netting to create little mandalas, and then, just like with the hand-drawn ones appearing in my sketchbooks, I’m adding loads of embellishments! Take a look at one of my first bead netting mandalas, and how I created it step-by-step:
To get started, I picked up 5 size 11 seed beads on a comfortable length of beading thread. (For this project, I used Fireline beading thread, since it’s stiffer than nylon thread and would help give more body to my finished piece.)
When I work in flat circular netting, I like to work the first round in peyote stitch. It makes that base ring much more stable, and gives me a clear view of where to add each set of beads for each beaded net. Don’t pull too tightly, but make sure that your tension is snug here.
Next, I did a round of simple 3-bead netting: one base color, one contrasting color, and one base color. Working my beaded netting using 2 colors of seed beads made it easier for me to see where to work my needle and thread so that I could add my next set of beads.
For my next round of beaded netting, I made my nets a little larger, increasing the number of beads I added for each set.
One more round, and I had a pretty little netted star!
Just like when I draw a mandala in my sketchbook, I wanted to play a little bit with the shapes in my base. So I started to experiment with adding different types of beaded “petals” to my bead netting.
Still looking like a star, so I decided to add another round of beaded netting and play with more shapes.
It took me a couple of tries to get this shape to lie flat and even. A couple of rounds were frog-stitched, but eventually, I got it right.
I wove my needle and thread back towards the center of my base, and just like I would do with a drawn mandala, I started adding beaded embellishments. First up, I added a round of beaded “petals” that mirrored one of my base rounds.
To stiffen up my beaded netting in this piece, I made sure to weave in as much thread as I could, both my working thread and my tail. After I finished this piece, I went to bead dreaming about more ways to make beaded mandalas using bead netting, and what to do with them next!
Ready for more meditative bead weaving projects? Treat yourself to this month’s Artist Of the Month bead kit featuring Penny Dixon’s Statement Earrings in either purple or cream. You’ll get a complete bead kit, a video download so you can watch and learn how to create these gorgeous earrings step-by-step, plus 4 additional PDF beading project downloads of some of Penny’s most popular beading projects. There are a limited number of kits available, so make sure you get your Make A Statement with Artist Of the Month Penny Dixon kit before they’re all gone!
Stay tuned for more fun beaded mandala projects using some of your favorite off-loom bead weaving stitches and bead embroidery techniques!