Sensational Shaped Beads: O Beads
O Beads are versatile, pressed donut-shaped glass beads that add an eye-catching dimension to beaded jewelry designs. Sabine Lippert, a former Beadwork Designer of the Year, developed O Beads to give beaders a consistent tiny shape for weaving and stringing. They’re approximately 2x4mm with a large hole in the center. Made in the Czech Republic, O Beads are available in a huge range of colors and finishes, including transparent, coated on one side, metallic, and more. They’re great standards to add to your beading stash.
The main reason I’m excited about O Beads is because they create an unexpected texture in beaded jewelry designs. They’ve been on the market long enough that beaders have discovered a lot of ways to use them. You can combine them with seed beads or other shaped beads to create a geometric motif across a beaded pattern, or you can stack them together to create organic columns, or they can act as colorful spacers . . . you get the idea. I could go on! I’m including projects here from designers whose innovative take using O Beads will really get your wheels turning.
Beaded Designs Featuring O Beads
There are so many shaped beads available now that it can be overwhelming. You don’t have to try them all today! And, there’s no one saying you have to try them at all. But, you never know, they might encourage you to bead in new ways. Read Shaped Beads Inspire New Designs for insight into the shaped bead phenomenon. If you’re looking for beads that play well with your seeds, then O Beads are a good place to start. They provide a lot of versatility for bead weaving and stringing designs, as evidenced by these beautiful beaded jewelry designs by some of your favorite Beadwork contributors:
Our 2018 Designer of the Year Laura Graham designed this Tessellations Collar with four types of shaped beads, including SuperDuos, O Beads, Khéops par Puca triangles, and Silky beads. Advance your skills as you mix right-angle weave variation, netting, tubular and circular peyote stitch into one soft, draped collar. Laura shares her love of shaped beads and says, “Shaped beads are just another tool for creating something beautiful. Break out of the norm and try something different!”
O So Charming Bracelet
This O So Charming Bracelet by Megan Milliken uses triangle weave to create a beautiful, intricate-looking design. The O Beads nestle with the seed beads to become an essential part of the interlocking look of the pattern, and the color combination is at once fresh and elegant. I like the bead-and-loop closure because it’s simple and in keeping with the overall design, but you could adjust the pattern if you want to use a different style of clasp.
The Ondina Bracelet by Debora Hodoyer uses the color and texture of O beads, SuperDuos, and round beads to evoke underwater realms. The name Ondina means “little wave,” which is just perfect for this lovely bracelet. You’ll combine right-angle weave, netting, and peyote stitch variation to create the pattern that resembles something from the sea. The O Beads stack together to create the appearance of coral or anemone. Take your inspiration from the sea as you stitch. Debora has an eye for color, which she talks about in Learn About Color with Bead Weaving Artist Debora Hodoyer.
Bead your way to a fun, geometric necklace! The Fleur-De-Lis Necklace by Designers of the Year Amy Haftkowycz and Barbara Falkowitz combines O beads, SuperDuos, Kheops par Puca triangles and Silky beads. The shapes are layered together to create a striking, dimensional focal section using right-angle weave, netting, fringe, and picot stitch. The chain ends make the necklace adjustable to suit your style – it’s easy to adjust the full length of the necklace by changing the chain length.
Zinnia Profusion Cuff
This Zinnia Profusion Cuff by Kassie Shaw uses a variation of circular peyote stitch to weave units of O Beads, MiniDuos, and crystal rose montées to create a bracelet that looks like a garden of zinnias on your wrist. Read Shape Shift Your Beadwork with Kassie Shaw for the inside scoop on one of Kassie’s videos that’s full of tips for how to connect beaded motifs and new and interesting ways.
O La La Bracelet
Create an O La La Bracelet using a simple variation of peyote stitch, seed beads, O Beads, Half Tilas, and Tilas. The O Beads provide the main structure for the bracelet, which has a funky, textured feel to it. Designed by Monika Pienkowska, this beginner-friendly bracelet is a great way to warm up for your next beading session — it’s a fun way to experiment with color combinations. Plus, these bracelets stack beautifully so you can make a bunch to wear or share.
More Shaped Beads, O My
There are so many shaped beads to try, and so many ways to use them to infuse your designs with texture, color and style. From tile-shaped Tila Beads, to Diamonduos, to crescent-shaped Arcos par Puca, and more, shaped beads have definitely changed the way we look at beadwork. O Beads have a place of their own in this new landscape – experiment with weaving with them and other shaped beads to make stylish beaded jewelry you’ll love to wear.
Interim Managing Editor, Beadwork