Seed Bead Earrings Tutorial: Fall In Love With Pretty Little Hearts
Seed beads – they may be tiny, but they pack a mighty punch when it comes to jewellery-making! Why? The size of these fantastic little beads makes them so versatile when it comes to designing your own jewellery. These beads can be gathered to produce a multitude of shapes and designs, as you’ll see in this fantastic tutorial from our jewellery expert, the lovely Sarah Millsop! Here, Sarah takes you step-by-step through producing your own incredible heart-shaped earrings…
There are so many patterns, shapes and designs that can be created when you weave with seed beads, and you can have great fun designing your own once you to get to grips with some of the basic steps.
We have already gone through projects using ‘Brick Stitch’, and ‘Right Angle Weave,’ so now these cute little earrings will teach you how to Peyote stitch! As we are creating shaped pieces, I will teach you some tricky turns, as well as how to position yourself in an ‘odd’ count stitch. This should give you all the information and confidence you need to be able to design your own pieces, and bead them with ease!
Peyote will sit your beads interlocked and overlapping in rows. This can give you nice curves and a rounder edge. Brick Stitched beads will sit overlapping, just like a brick wall.
In this tutorial, I’ll take you through how to bring this beautiful beaded heart pattern to life!
When you are using a pattern that is shaped or has increasing and decreasing rows…start with the very longest section. So with our heart, I will begin through the middle horizontally.
- Seed beads (I have used size 11)
- Beading Needle
- Beading Thread
- Flat back ear studs
- Glue gel
Add a stopper bead by threading your needle through it twice. This will be removed once we have beaded two rows.
Pick up another red seed bead, miss one bead on your first row and sew through the next. So this will be the third red seed bead from your initial row. In a peyote stitch, you will always miss the bead below and sew through the next. Once you have formed two rows, these gaps to fill become very obvious.
Continue with your pattern, filling in red beads to the last space. Add a black seed bead at the end to line up with your first black seed bead. Remove your ‘stopper’ bead and tie the two threads together in a knot. This can be hidden later! Sew back down through your last black bead and this will position you to work your way back through your pattern, filling gaps in your third row.
When you reach the end of this row, you will be able to do a simple turn around. This is a simple step for rows with the same amount of beads and ‘even count’ peyote.
Simply add the bead from your fourth row and continue sewing through the beads from the previous row to secure and fill ‘gaps’. Remember to follow your pattern; halfway along this row you will need to add the ‘dip’ in the heart with a black bead.
On an ‘odd’ count, you will always have one end that will need a slightly more in-depth ‘turn around’. As you will see, when you get to the end of your row, there is no other bead to turn around with and to secure your final bead to. So we need to move in a ‘cross’ path, to add the final bead and to position ourselves in the right direction for the next row.
You will need to add your last bead, in this case 1x black seed bead, and thread your needle down the end bead to the left (so the previous row) and also down diagonally through the next 2 beads as shown in the picture. Pull tightly so the end bead will sit neatly in place.
We now move one bead over to the left of your exit bead, and thread diagonally back up through to the top. This will have formed a ‘criss-cross’ thread path, and will take us back to the top and exiting ready to start our next row.
HOWEVER… as this is now a decreased row size in our pattern, I will exit one bead short from the top. So I am stopping at the red bead, not the end black one.
Follow the pattern and add the black seed bead, and secure by sewing through in the direction for your next row.
Use this same criss-cross stitch to position yourself each time you need to decrease a row count, and to position yourself to bead your pattern.
You will need to move through beads to come back to fill the final gaps in this last row.
The top part of this heart is now finished; sew to the final beads and weave in and out of your end beads to position yourself at the very beginning. This will position you for the bottom half of the pattern.
You will need to be exiting downwards from your first bead. You may wish to sew under the knotted thread to secure, and loop through.
Continue the lower part of the heart by using the turns you have learnt. To secure your tail and working thread, tie half hitch knots, and sew the threads back into your beadwork. I would always recommend a zigzag path to ensure your threads are tightly woven and secure, before cutting the ends off.
I used a little bit of Blu Tack to sit my earring bases in, keeping them nice and flat, whilst the glue dried.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this project, it’s a quick make when you get the hang of the turns involved, and following a pattern!