Start Designing Your Own Beaded Jewelry, Part 1: Herringbone Bezel for a Bead

Warning: Long Story Alert.

Last winter, my husband and I took a parenting class with our son's preschool teacher. One evening during class, I started noticing the patterns on the beautiful purple shirt worn by the teacher, and of course, my beady brain got to thinking about how I could re-create those lines in a piece of beaded jewelry. Well, the beautiful curves and shapes could easily be reproduced with herringbone stitch, but how would I get them to stay straight? The answer came later that evening, when I realized I could tack them down to a collar made with right-angle weave, and I could include some beautiful Lucite flowers and even some crystal stones to spice things up!

It was one of those beaded jewelry designs that sort of designed itself — all I did was stitch it up and put it together. And the more I played, the more I realized that there were a whole world of possibilities with this kind of beading project.

So, if you've ever wanted to learn a little bit about designing your own beaded jewelry, this week on Beading Daily, I'm going to show you how I created these beaded necklaces and teach you the same beading techniques that I used to create them!

Putting Together a Color Palette

The first thing you need to do is assemble a color palette of beads. For this project, you'll need the following beads:

  • 5 or 6 small crystal stones, cabochons, or beads, no bigger than about 20mm
  • 30-50 grams of size 11 seed beads in colors to match or contrast your cabochons or beads
  • 20 grams of size 8 seed beads in colors to match or contrast your cabochons or beads
  • Accent beads: think tiny 3mm crystals, large Lucite flowers (my favorites come from The Hole Bead Shop), Czech pressed glass beads, or unusual beads and components like beetle wings
  • A large focal bead or large cabochon, if desired
  • Clasp of your choice

Play with your beads, putting them together and moving them around to see what colors and shapes appeal to you. The finished necklace will be in a "v" shape, so try drawing that shape on a piece of paper, then lining up your beads and cabochons to find a pleasing arrangement.

Don't feel obligated to use every single bead you pick out. Picking and choosing the beads should be a continuous process throughout the creation of your beaded necklace.

Next, we'll make an easy herringbone stitch bezel for your smaller cabochons, beads, or crystal stones.

Make An Easy Herringbone Bezel

Using a 5 foot length of thread and ladder stitch, make a ladder of four stacks with two beads, beginning with two stacks of size 11 seed beads, followed by two stacks of size 8 seed beads. (Using stacks of two beads makes it a little easier to hold on to the herringbone stitch tube in the beginning.)
Pass through the first stack of two beads again and cinch the ladder into a tube. The two stacks of size 11 seed beads look like they're resting snug up against the two stacks of size 8 seed beads. 
Work in tubular herringbone, adding two size 11 beads over the pair of 11's in the base, and two size 8 beads over the pair of 8's. As you stitch, try to keep your tension snug, and your little herringbone tube will start to curl into a circle.
Check the fit of your herringbone tube on your bead or cabochon. Stop beading when you have a gap about one bead's width between the beginning and end of your herringbone stitch tube. For the final round, add two size 11 seed beads and pass through the size 8 seed beads without adding another set of beads. You should be exiting from a size 11 seed bead.

Cinch the tube together by passing through the first two or three beads in the tube, then pass through the set of beads next to them. Join the size 8 beads at the beginning and end of the tube in the same way, and exit through a size 11.

If you're using a bead (like I am in the example), pass through the center hole of the bead, then through a size 11 seed bead on the other side of the herringbone stitch tube. Pass back through the center of the bead, and back through the size 11 seed bead you originally exited. Repeat the thread path on the other side of the herringbone stitch tube using the thread tail, then weave the thread into the tube, knot, and trim.

Stitch up a handful of herringbone stitch bezels for your beads! If you're using a cabochon without a center hole, you can add a row of netting using size 15 seed beads, then cinch it up to hold the cabochon securely.

Get creative with your herringbone stitch bezels — since the tube is very flexible, it's great for wrapping around odd-shaped jewelry-making components. You can use things like Scrabble tiles, seashells, and gemstone donuts using this technique.

Are you ready to learn more about the best in beaded jewelry design using herringbone stitch, right-angle weave, and peyote stitch? Make sure you subscribe to Beadwork magazine, where you'll find pages of innovative beaded jewelry designs and beading projects using all of your favorite bead-weaving stitches. And don't miss the 2013 Designers of the Year — Jill Wiseman, Sabine Lippert, Maggie Meister, and Smadar Grossman offer up challenging, beautiful beading projects in each issue! Subscribe to Beadwork magazine today and don't miss out on all the excitement in the world of beaded jewelry design!

Check back on February 27 and March 1 for the rest of this beading project: we'll be making the right-angle weave base, and then attaching our components and adding fringe and other embellishments.

Bead Happy,


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