Welcome to our free beadweaving stitch resource!
Ever wondered if beadweaving is for you, well here's a great place to start. Over the coming weeks this will build out into a handy resource for all your common and not so common bead weaving stitches. Please keep checking back as we add more stitches as well as tips and tricks.
Netting stitch is one of the simplest stitches and can be varied in many ways, a perfect stitch to get started with. This ancient stitch has been used throughout civilisation and by many cultures, the Ancient Egyptians even created beaded netting to cover mummies!
A sharp pair of Scissors
- Thread your needle with a comfortable length of stretched beading thread. Leaving a 30cm tail, pick up a 2mm, 2 seed beads, a 2mm, 3 seed beads, 2mm and 2 seed beads. Pass back through the very first 2mm to exit where your tail is. (Picture 1)
- Pick up 2 seed beads, a 2mm and 1 seed bead. Skip the seed bead and pass back through the 2mm pulling up your beads so there is no loose thread showing. (Picture 2)
- Pick up 2 seed beads, a 2mm and 2 seed beads. Pass through the top 2mm. (Picture 3)
- Pick up 3 seed beads, a 2mm and 2 seed beads. Pass through the 2mm from step 3. (Picture 4)
- Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the netting is the desired length.
A variation of right angle weave that creates cubes that are perfect for geometric shapes. Not the easiest of stitches but very satisfying once you get the hang of it.
A sharp pair of scissors
- Thread your needle with a comfortable length of stretched beading thread. Leaving a 15cm tail, pick up 4M, pass through all of the beads again to form a ring, then pass through 1 more bead. (Picture 1 green beads)
- Pick up 3M, circle back through the bead your thread is exiting and pass through the 1st bead added in this step. (Picture 2 pink beads)
- Pick up 2M, pass through the side bead from the 1st square (a-b), the bead your thread is exiting (b-c), the 2 new beads (c-a) and the next bead from the 1st square (a-d). (Picture 3 yellow beads)
- Pick up 2M, pass through the last bead added in the previous step (e-f), the bead your thread is exiting (f-g) and the 1st bead added in this step (g-h). (Picture 4 purple beads)
- Time to close up the cube. Pick up 1M, pass through the side bead from the 2nd cube (i-j), through the side bead from the 1st square (j-k) and through the bead your thread was exiting at the start of this step (k-l), lastly pass through the new bead (l-i). (Picture 5 red bead)
- Now circle through the top 4 beads. (Picture 6)
This fascinating stitch takes the concept of a spiral stitch and flips it on it's head. The focal beads are now your seed beads which wind around your larger beads. A very satisfying stitch to create.
A sharp pair of Scissors
Legend :- A = 1st colour of fire polished, B = 2nd colour of fire polished, C = Size 11 Seed Bead
- Thread your needle with a comfortable length of stretched beading thread. Leaving a 15cm tail, pick up 2A and 2B. Pass back through the 2A to form a ring. (Picture 1)
- Pick up 1A and 1B, pass down through the B from the last step. Pass across and up through 1A. (Picture 2)
- Pick up 1A and 1B, pass down through 2B. (Picture 3)
- Pick up 3C, pass across and up through 2A. (Picture 4)
- Turn the beading over. Pick up 7C, take diagonally across the beads and pass up through the 3rd and 2nd B from the top. (Picture 5)
- Pass through the top 1A. Turn your beadwork over. (Picture 6)
- Repeat steps 3 to 6 until you have the desired length.
Crossweave is a 2 needle beading stitch which creates a similar look to Right Angle Weave, perfect for those that struggle with RAW.
A sharp pair of scissors
Legend A = Seed Bead B = 4mm pearl C = 6mm pearl
- Thread a needle onto either end of a comfortable length of stretched beading thread. Pick up 1A,1B,1A,1C,1B,1A and move to the centre of your thread. (Picture 1)
- On your right needle pick up 1C. (Picture 2)
- On your left needle, pass through the C just added, through the hole from where your right needle just exited from. (Picture 3)
- On your left needle pick up 1A, 1B, 1A. On your right needle pick up 1A, 1B,1A, 1C. (Picture 4)
- On your left needle, pass through the C on your right thread, through the hole from where your right needle just exited from. (Picture 5)
- Repeat steps 4-6 until you have the desired length.
Triangle weave is an unusal stitch and not one that you see very often. Similar to right angle weave in many respects, it uses multiple thread paths to create the triangles. Long lengths can be made to create a lattice style bracelet or it can be made into a circular formation for a simple manadala component.
A sharp pair of Scissors
- Thread your needle with a comfortable length of stretched beading thread, leaving a 15cm tail pick up 11 seed beads, circle round and pass through the 1st 7 beads. (Picture 1)
- Pick up 8 seed beads pass down through the last 3 seed beads your thread is exiting. Pass through the next 4 seed beads. (Picture 2)
- Pick up 8 seed beads and pass up through the last 3 seed beads your thread is exiting. Pass through the next 7 seed beads. (Picture 3)
- Repeat steps 2, 3 and 2.
- Pick up 4 seed beads and pass down through the side 3 from the 1st triangle. Pick up 1 seed bead and pass up the side 3 from the last triangle. Pass through the new 4 seed beads. (Picture 4)
- Pick up a 2mm and pass through the next top 4 seed beads. Repeat around to add a total of 6 2mm beads. (Picture 5)
- Pick up 2 seed beads, a 2mm and 5 seed beads. Pass back through the 2mm and 2 seed beads, then pass through the next set of top 4 seed beads. (Picture 6)
- Weave in and secure your threads.
- If using these for earrings, open the loop on an earwire and add to the loop of seed beads.
Peyote Stitch, which can also be called gourd stitch, is an off loom bead weaving technique. It has a few varieties the most commonly seen is made as flat strips which can be worked with either an odd or even number of beads per row. Particularly useful when wanting to make a beaded toggle clasp as you can use the circular and tubular technique to make the perfect clasp to finish your bead woven piece.
Examples of peyote stitch have been found in many cultures around the world. Members of the Native American Church use the stitch to decorate objects that are used in peyote ceremonies which is where the name comes from.
A sharp pair of Scissors
- Thread your needle with a comfortable length of stretched beading thread. Leaving a 30cm tail, pick up 6M, 1C and 4M. Skip 2M and pass through the 3rd M down. (Picture 1)
- Pick up 1C and pass through 1C from the 1st row. (Picture 2)
- Pick up 1C, skip an M and pass through the next M. (Picture 3)
- Pick up 1M, skip an M and pass through the next M. Repeat one more time. You should now see that your beadwork has beads that stick out and some that don’t, like a brick wall. (Picture 4)
- Follow the rest of the pattern always passing through the beads that stick out. It helps if you use a ruler to keep track of which row you are working on. (Picture 5)
- Use the pattern below to continue this repetitive pattern as many times as you like. (Picture 6)
What do I need?
Bead weaving requires a small amount of equipment to get started making it easily accessible to all, it only gets a bit more expensive when you just can't say no to another pot of seed beads!
A beading mat for helping keep the beads in place. These are essential to stop you going mad as you chase beads across the table.
Beading needles. Size 10 is a standard size but keep a size 13 handy if you are working a stitch that has multiple thread paths or you come across a bead with a slightly dodgy hole. We stock a handy pack that includes 2 size 10 and 2 size 13 needles.
Beading Thread. There are many brands available, the most common is Nymo of which we stock a wide range of colours. Always try to match your thread if you can as this will help it to "disappear" in the beadwork.
Scissors. A good sharp pair of scissors are essential for getting nice neat snips. Remember only for your beadwork, no letting the kids cut out their latest paper creation!
OK, I have my materials, what's next?
Let's start by spooling off some thread, around 150cm is a comfortable length but feel free to use a shorter length if you prefer, snip off the thread. You'll notice that the thread is curling, make sure that you pull the thread tight between your hands to remove the stretch. Snipping the end of your thread diagonally can help with threading the eye of your beading needle, even if only a few wisps pass through you'll normally find that the rest of the thread will follow through the eye. Remember to leave a tail thread of around 15cm once you have started your beadwork.
Great but my beads keep falling off!
This is where a stop bead can come in really handy. Use a bead completely different to your main work, using a larger bead will help when it comes to removal. Pick up this bead and then circle round and pass through the bead again, remember to leave your tail, being careful not to split your thread. Pass through again and then you're ready to start your beadwork.
My thread is running out!
Don't panic! It is easy to add a new thread. Make sure you leave at least 15cm to make weaving in your thread easier. Remove the needle and thread up a new thread. To secure your new thread, pass through a couple of beads, then pass the needle under a thread between beads and pull through until there is a small loop remaining. Pass over the original thread and through the loop and pull tight ensuring the knot forms between the beads. Pass through a few more beads and repeat. Now weave through your beads to exit where you left off and you're ready to start agin. Use the same method to finish off the thread that you left behind making sure that you trim the thread nice and close once it is secure.
My thread is all twisted.
Don't let this twist get too tight otherwise you run the risk of forming knots. Hold your beadwork up and let the thread hang freely. Run your fingers down the length of thread and watch your needle go mad!
My beadwork is all baggy.
Correct tension is really important in bead weaving and comes with a bit of practice. In your non-dominant hand, hold the working thread over the index finger while you are moving your needle. Only release the thread once the bead is almost in place.