Get Started: Creating Stunning Seed Bead JewelryTuesday, December 03, 2013 Mary Anne Velasco
If you've been stringing beads for awhile and you're looking for the next step in your creative endeavors, you might try seed bead jewelry. Seed beads are very small beads that are combined in various ways and through various techniques to create stunning pieces. You can string multiple strands of seed beads together, wire wrap seed bead designs, stitch seed beads to a stiff fabric to create cuff bracelets, or use a needle and thread to weave seed beads. Choosing the right beads and tools is important, however, as most seed bead projects require a certain level of precision.
Multiple Strand Projects
One great way to use seed beads is to create multiple strands of seed beads and combine them all together for a detailed, layered look. You can add a large pendant to the center of your strands to hold them all together and provide a bold look, or you can simply let them hang for a more refined look. Either way, combining several strands of seed beads together makes a stunning impression, and definitely takes your jewelry making to the next level.
Wire wrapping seed beads is a bit tricky, and if you haven't done any wire wrapping before, you might want to start out using larger beads first. But if you want to give it a shot, many beautiful wired pieces can be made using seed beads. For instance, the beautiful beaded French flowers that are so popular are made using a combination of wire, bead weaving techniques, and wire wrapping techniques.
Stitch to Fabric
There are various products like Lacy's Stiff Stuff that allow you to stitch a beaded design onto a stiff fabric, and affix that fabric to a bangle base for a stunning statement bracelet. One beautiful idea is to affix a cameo to the center of your design and stitch seed beads around it to create a regal look. You can make the look vintage, modern, art deco, or anything else you want, just by using the right color and design combinations.
Perhaps the most common and popular method of using seed beads is bead weaving. Essentially, you use a beading needle and thread, and follow certain stitch patterns to create lovely designs. Peyote stitch is one of the most common stitches, and is a great place to start if you've never done bead weaving before. This type of stitching is different from stitching to fabric, because you'll be stitching the beads together. Many Native American jewelry pieces use these techniques.
The Right Stuff
In order to get started, of course, you'll need a nice selection of seed beads. You can find seed beads at online store, like WigJig, and brick and mortar stores. Japanese seed beads are the best to start with because the holes and beads are of even size. Czech seed beads are beautiful, as well, and are good for projects that don't require much precision, like stringing multiple strands of seed beads together. But if you're going to be stitching or weaving beads, you'll want to start with Japanese seed beads. Then, you'll need a beading needle and beading thread. It's best to go by a pattern or set of instructions for your first project, as there are many sizes of needles and thread, and the project directions will tell you which to purchase. After that, it's all about using your creativity to create amazing pieces you'll love to wear and share.
Susan Thomson loves DIY jewelry. She is constantly writing about new inspirations and projects on DIY and craft blogs.