Beadwork Techniques


Beadwork is the art of stringing beads onto a thread or thin wire to make artwork. It is commonly associated with jewelry, but it can also be used in other artworks.

While European seed beads became available to Native Americans in the mid-1800s, it was not until they were made smaller and in a wider variety of colors that beadwork became widely popular.

Overlaid Stitch

Overlay stitching is a popular way to create intricate patterns. It involves tacking or spot-stitching long strings of beads onto the fabric to be decorated.

This technique is particularly helpful for curvilinear designs such as flowers and allows large surfaces to be covered with relatively less effort. It is also commonly used for geometric patterns.

Lazy stitching is another popular method for creating intricate patterns on clothing and accessories. It is similar to the Loomwork Strip technique, except that it involves a single thread that is passed through short parallel rows of beads.

This Native American beadwork technique is used on items such as bandolier bags and hat bands. It is also found on cradles and moccasins where large areas of one color are to be filled in.

Raised Stitch

The Raised Stitch is a variation on the standard crochet stitches. It is worked around the stitch below rather than into it, which gives it a raised effect.

It is used in many different types of embroidery. It can be used to fill in an area or as a single isolated stitch.

This can be worked on Aida or even weave fabric and it looks great when contrasting threads are used. It is particularly useful for a border or a decorative band and can be used with or without the base ladder showing.

The stitch can be secured using half stitches to keep the beads firmly in place. You can also use padding to make the arcs more three dimensional, which makes it more interesting.

Lazy Stitch

Lazy stitch is an incredibly simple technique that can be used to create a wide variety of designs. It is often used in combination with other stitches to create flowers, leaves and other geometric patterns.

Unlike the other types of beadwork, lazy stitch uses short strings of beads that are tacked next to each other. It is often used to create geometric patterns, but it can also be used to cover curved surfaces.

This stitch can be used on a variety of different types of materials, including leather, ball caps and jean jackets. It is a very easy and relaxing stitch to learn.

When learning this technique, you should be sure to count how many rows of beads you are going to use. This is important because it will determine how wide the rows will be and what the size of the design will be. You should use a width that will fit the entire project.

Oversized Stitch

An Oversized Stitch is a bead stitch that uses two or more beads to create a ring, and is often used to highlight a focal bead. It can also be used to make a dazzling necklace, bracelet or pendant.

It can be made with any size or shape of bead, so it is a great way to showcase a variety of beads and to add a bit of dimension. In my example, I’ve used Delicas and a slender bugle bead.

When using this oversized bead stitch, it’s important to control your thread tension so that the ring stays intact and does not flop around. You’ll want to use a heavyweight thread, such as Nymo waxed nylon.

One of the best ways to do this is to reinforce your row by running your thread through your beads as you go. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how your finished piece turns out.

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