What's Your Favorite Way to Make Beaded Beads?
Right after bead-weaving was invented, someone figured out how to make a beaded bead. I'm sure of it. This is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night, thinking about the history and traditions of bead-weaving — everybody thinks about this stuff, right?
Making Beaded Beads With Peyote Stitch
The very first beaded beads that I ever made were just simple strips of peyote stitch that I zipped together and strung on a piece of beading wire with gemstones and crystals as spacers. But I was hooked! I loved the very Zen-like idea of making my own beads out of, well, other beads, and as I tried new techniques and beading stitches, I started to realize that there are hundreds or thousands of ways to make your own beaded beads using whatever you happen to have handy at the moment.
The next step for many beaders who want to play with beaded beads is to use peyote stitch (or right-angle weave, or whatever bead-weaving stitch you like best) to cover a plain wood bead. For months, I bought bags and bags of plain wood beads to cover with peyote stitch for beaded beads, and learning how to shape the peyote stitch to fit the contour of the wood bead gave me plenty of practice in increasing and decreasing, as well as working both odd and even-count tubular peyote stitch.
Remember that if you're using right-angle weave to cover a base bead, you might want to think about painting the wood bead to match your seed beads, since the beaded fabric will allow some of the inside bead to show through.
Making Self-Supported Beaded Beads
Making beaded beads is a great way to get back to beginner's mind. Michelle Mach posted this ladder stitch beaded bead tutorial back in 2007, and it might seem elementary for someone who's been beading for a long time, but not only is this a fabulous introduction to making beaded beads for a beginner, it's the perfect jumping-off point for a more advanced beader. How can you embellish this to make a more intricate beaded bead? What happens if you use different beads for the base? What if you work additional rows of brick stitch, and increase and decrease as you go along?
Once you get the feel for making self-supported beaded beads, you can use structures like the basic beaded dodecahedron to create all kinds of fantastic beaded beads! Stitch up a few basic beaded dodecahedrons to learn the basic structure, and then try some of the beaded bead designs of Cyndi Holsclaw. While not all of these beads are self-supporting (some hold their shape better when there's another bead inserted into the middle of the structure), they can teach you about how tension and bead choice play a part in creating beaded beads that are truly stand-alone works of bead art.
What Do You Do With All Those Beaded Beads?
Once you've made all these beaded beads, what do you do with them? A single spectacular beaded bead (like a beaded dodecahedron) makes a stunning pendant, or a pair or beaded beads can be used for eye-catching beaded earrings.
For great beading project inspiration, you don't want to miss a single issue of Beadwork magazine. Did you miss an issue or two of Beadwork in 2013? Now you can get all six issues of Beadwork from 2013 on one, searchable CD! It's an entire year's worth of product reviews, great beading projects (like the Designer Of the Year projects!), and inspiring beading techniques all in one place. And you can even get the 2013 Beadwork Collection as an instant download — store it right on your favorite desktop or laptop computer, and make room for more beads!
So what's your favorite way to make a beaded bead? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your favorite ways to make beaded beads with us!