Start Designing Your Own Beaded Jewelry, Part 2: Right-angle Weave Base

Continuing with your beaded jewelry design project, now that you’ve made herringbone stitch bezels for the beads, we’re going to make the base to which they’ll all be attached using right-angle weave.

The base I like to use when making these beaded necklaces is a “v” shape that drapes nicely and is easy to adjust for length and fit. (Because being comfortable wearing your beaded jewelry is important!) Another reason I like to use this type of right-angle weave base is because it can support heavier gemstone beads.

To make your right-angle weave base, you’ll need the following beads and materials:

  • 30-50 grams of size 11 beads, color A
  • 20 grams of size 11 beads, color B
  • Beading thread (6 lb. FireLine recommended)

Before You Start Stitching: This necklace base using right-angle weave eats up a lot of thread in a hurry, and because you’ll be passing through the beads at least twice more when you attach your components, it’s best to use as long a piece of thread as you’re comfortable with so that you can avoid having to weave in a lot of thread ends. (Starting and ending new threads can fill up those bead holes pretty fast!)

If you’re not comfortable using a long length of thread, consider leaving longer tails when you add new thread that you can use to attach your design components later in the process.

  1. Pick up: 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, 1 B. Tie into a ring. Pass through the first 7 beads (3 A, 1 B, 3 A) again as shown.
  2. To add each additional unit in the first row, pick up: 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, and 1 B. Pass through the 3 A you exited in the previous unit, and back through the unit you just added until you are again exiting from 3 A on the side of the current unit.

    Work until your row is 5 units long.

  3. To start the second row, exit from the top 3 A of the last unit in your first row. Pick up: 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, 1 B, 3 A, and 1 B. Pass through the 3 A you exited at the beginning of this row and through the beads of the unit you just added until you are exiting through the 3 A on the inside of the unit.

    Pick up 1 B, and pass through the next 3 A in the next unit.

  4. You’ll continue to add those extra B beads at the corners as you work each unit.

    Continue to add rows to your right-angle weave base until the base is about 9-10″ long. (This will be for an 18-20″ finished necklace, not including the size of the clasp.) You can check the size/fit of your necklace by draping it around your neck and seeing where the end lays. Remember that your center “v” will take up about 1-2″ of space in the middle.

  5. When the first side of your necklace is long enough, add a new thread (remember to leave a nice, long tail!) and turn the piece on its side.

    Weave through the beadwork until you are exiting from a set of 3 A on the top (the long side).

  6. Work a row of 5 units in right-angle weave just as you did before, adding B beads at the corners of each unit.

    Continue working until your second side is the same length as the first side.

  7. You can easily make adjustments to the final length of the right-angle weave base by adding or removing rows from the ends.
  8. Now the fun part! Start playing with the arrangement of your focal pieces, looking at spacing and thinking about where you can add embellishments and fringe. Play with the placement of your clasp, and any necklace findings you might want to include in your finished piece. If you find more than one arrangement that you like, take pictures and save them so that you can decide which one you like best before you start attaching and embellishing.
Are you having fun yet? One of the reasons I love these particular techniques for beaded jewelry design using herringbone stitch and right-angle weave is that they open up a whole world of possibilities!

If you want to brush up on your basic right-angle weave and herringbone stitch bead-weaving techniques, look no further than The Best of Step-by-Step Beads 2010 special issue. You’ll find dozens of fantastic, easy bead-weaving projects using right-angle weave, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, and more that are just right for when you need to do a little beading on a spectacular project, but you don’t have a lot of time. For a limited time, you can get your copy of The Best of Step-by-Step Beads 2010, and keep your bead-weaving skills sharp!

Check out the final installment in Design Your Own Beaded Jewelry Week here on Beading Daily and learn a few techniques for attaching elements and embellishing your beaded necklace!

Bead Happy,


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