Working With Seed Beads

MandysJewelrySet2014-2Working with seed beads is hard work and time-consuming. The results of your labor can be very satisfying. I don’t like to work with seed beads because they are so small and it is difficult to work with them as my eyes are getting bad and my hands don’t want to cooperate very well. But if I work on them when I am relaxed and in a creative mood the results have been stupendous. I also recommend that you use a clean white cloth under your working area as seed beads have a tendency to fall from your hands, flip off the wire and generally make a nuisance of themselves. And, of course, when stringing seed beads you really want to start by using the thin gauge wire. I haven’t done the needle and string method yet so I can’t say that it is any better. The jewelry created using seed beads looks delicate and quite lovely. Granted, I would rather work with at least 4mm beads but I wanted a different kind of look for my pieces and I wanted to create some choker necklaces and anklets.

What I have done is take twice the length of wire that I would normally use, a small handful of 4mm beads as well as the seed beads and strung them together in a circular pattern. For instance, bend the wire in half, place a 4mm bead then three, four or five seed beads on either side. Then string another 4mm bead through one side and cross the other side through the same bead. Gently pull the two sides of the wire apart and when you have it fully extended you will have a circle of beads. Then continue on putting the seed beads on each side and then the 4mm bead and crossing the wire again. As you can see you will use up to two or three times the wire and beads that you would normally do for a single strand. Once you have gotten the length that you want it you just place a crimp bead on the ends of the two wires, pull it down to the end of the wire on top of the last 4mm bead; clamp it tightly and cut off the excess string. You can then attached a jump ring to both ends along with your desired clasp. You can use larger beads for this technique as well. By changing the number of beads on either side of the connecting bead you can make the circles bigger or smaller. Experiment with this using various sized beads and color combinations. I even made some smaller pieces for earrings and key chains.

I am a largely self-taught crafter and most of my ideas come from watching the extremely informative and helpful videos available from our fellow artisans on YouTube. If you have a few minutes, actually 30, you can watch this beginners video below to get you started.