Take the Frustration Out of Beaded Bezels: Top Tips from Kelly Wiese
Bezeling with beads is not something I find easy to do. My first attempt was back when a group of us learned to make chenille-stitched rings topped with bezeled embellishments. (Fun fact: These rings were later featured on Series 2600 of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.)
Even after redoing my peyote-stitched bezel multiple times, it was always slightly askew. It was hard for me to tell if I was even adding beads in the right places. I was new to beading in general, and you have to admit, size 15 seed beads are crazy small!
Luckily, we have an online workshop all about beaded bezels. In Crystal Beaded Bezels, author and artist Kelly Wiese breaks down how to bezel several types of crystals, both round and rectangular. She also teaches variations on each type, including how to add embellishments. This course prepares you to bezel just about anything. Given my previous frustration with creating a neat and tidy bezel, this workshop was exactly what I needed.
I dove into Kelly’s basic bezel techniques using peyote stitch and netting. Following her recommendation, I counted out the number of beads per round so I would know exactly when to step up for the next. I also took her advice on changing colors often so I could truly see what I was doing.
It worked. After making one bezel with size 15 and 11 seed beads, I realized the Swarovski crystals I had on hand were slightly too big. So I followed the same pattern using size 11s and 8s – and voila! I ended up with a bezeled crystal I could be proud of.
Kelly’s workshop goes far beyond that basic bezel. She covers a fun variation for a 12mm rivoli crystal as well as a herringbone bezel before launching into ideas for embellishing with pearls and crystal bicones. She then covers options for rectangular bezels with such stitches as peyote, netting, and right-angle weave.
After experimenting with different bezels, your next task will be determining how to incorporate them into your designs, of course. If you need inspiration along those lines, look no further than Kelly’s books: A Beaded Romance, A Little More Beaded Romance, Beaded Allure, and Exotic Adornments.
Kelly’s Top 5 Tips for Beaded Bezels
When it comes to bezeling, Kelly has plenty of useful tips that can make everything run smoothly. Here are the top 5.
1. Color code.
Use different colors of beads for the different rows; this way you can see the pattern more clearly. You can even use a different color or size of bead for the middle bead of the rows of netting so that you can find the center bead more easily. After you have mastered the pattern, you can always go back and work the bezels in a solid color if that’s the look you want.
2. Don’t be shy – experiment!
Once you learn the basic technique for a round bezel, you can move on to bezeling larger chatons or rivolis. Add more rows of netting or peyote to incorporate the larger crystals. Don’t be afraid to try different things; you can always take the bezel apart and try again.
3. Keep it even.
About the only thing I consistently do when creating round bezels is to stick to an even number of beads. This way if I am using netting, I always have an even number of nets to work with, and if using peyote, I always have the step-up so that the rows are even. This usually makes for a more uniform bezel and it also makes it easier if you want to connect the bezels to make a bracelet, necklace, etc.
4. Cull your beads.
Watch your bead sizes and pick out the most uniform beads that you can. The more uniformity in your beads, the more precise your bezel will be.
5. Hold tight.
When you’re ready to place the crystal in your bezel, hold it in snugly place while you work the final rows. This helps ensure the best fit, especially for lining up the corners of rectangular crystals.
Check out Kelly’s workshop to start bezeling with seed beads today. Or, if you’re looking for a deal, subscribe to Interweave’s online workshops for just $9.99 a month and receive streaming access to dozens of Interweave’s beading and jewelry courses.
Go be creative!
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group
Featured Image: Learn to bezel round and rectangular crystals with Kelly Wiese!
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