Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bullion Roses

I fell in love with bullion roses the Easter my mother embroidered them all over the cross-tucked bodice of a raspberry chambray dress for my sister. I don't remember what my Easter dress was that year, but Mac's dress is still front and center in my mind, even after more than sixty years. It's not difficult to bead embroider a bullion rose, but I couldn't find one that was made entirely of beads. It's taken me awhile to work it out, a separate rose the size of a nickel that I can use on bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, barrettes. I've taught it at the Texas and Shreveport Bead Retreats in the last couple of years and it's still one of my most popular classes at Beadoholique here in Houston. Now I think it's time that I sent it out into the world. Two of the very first ones I made are lurking in the bracelet in the header.

Materials Needed:
Two colors of 10/0 Delicas (the new larger ones)
15/0 seed beads for the inner petals
11/0 seed beads for the outer petals
Top-drilled 6mm crystal or top-drilled pearl
Size 11 or 12 needle
C-Lon, 6lb Fireline, or Wildfire (48" doubled to 24" per rose)

Note: petal = a string of beads--ten 15/0s to a petal in the first round, eight 11/0s in the second round, and ten 11/0s in the final round. There are six petals in each round.

I begin this rose as I do just about anything that's circular (In the Beginning) with this one difference: I use both colors and string them on alternating the color, so that when I pull it into a circle there's an inner and an outer circle of different colors. I usually use two colors of green, but it doesn't really matter because it won't show when the rose is complete.

I have three diagrams , and I have a lot of photos to help you understand the way I work these roses. If you are an embroiderer, you will recognize the thread/needle path as the same you would use for an outline stitch. Further, when you work the petals, you will work from the back, with the petals falling on the opposite side.

*Put ten 15/0 seed beads on your thread and take the needle counter-clockwise five beads. Go into this bead from right to left, coming toward you. Pull tight. Pick up a #10 delica to match the beads on the inner circle (+ on diagram) and take the needle through the next bead on the outer circle (bead 3).** This move sets you up for the next and subsequent petals on this first round of 15/0s. Repeat from * to ** 3 more times (4 times altogether).

For the fifth petal, place the 15/0s on the thread and take the needle under the first petal as shown by the arrow on the right. If you'll look at the larger arrow, you will see that there are two more Delicas to place on the circle, hence telling you that there are already four petals and you are placing the fifth. Take it through the bead, put on the Delica and go through the next bead setting up for the final petal.

When you place the final petal, you will take your needle under both the first and second petals before you come through the Delica. Place your last Delica and pull tight.

Here's how the rose looks after the first row of petals. The good news is that it's all downhill from here--the fiddly bit is over.



I put the center top-drilled crystal on now because it's easier than if it's left until the end. Bring your needle up through the middle, string on the crystal and take the needle through the hole in the center to the back. Turn over and pull the thread to snug the crystal into place.

Take your needle through several beads from right to left and out one of the Delicas on the top row as shown.

Add 11/0 petals in the same way as before working on the back except you won't skip any beads when you work around the circle. Follow the diagram, slipping the needle with the last petal under the first petal before taking the needle through the last bead in the row.

Here's how the rose looks now.

Turn it over and work one row of peyote with the light colored Delicas, placing your thumb in the center and pulling the thread very tight. This peyote row will shape the rose into a cone, while adding the beads where the last round of petals will be placed.

Work the last round of petals (ten 11/0 beads per petal) like the previous round, placing the last petal under the first before taking it through the final bead.

And, finally, here's your rose. While it's taken all day to write this posting, I can make three roses in an hour or less, and so will you after you've done a few. Please let me know with comments or emails if you have any questions.


  1. that is so pretty!!! thank you so much for sharing with us!!!!

  2. Your beading is amazing and thank you for posting the instructions....I will try this one myself!

  3. thank you for this tutorial,very beautiful!!

  4. Thank you for sharing...They are beautiful!!!
    (Daisywhite) a Houston, Texas beader too!

  5. c'est très joli !!!! Merci beaucoup pour ce tutoriel.

  6. Thank You from the bottom of my heart! Just what I´ve been looking for! Such a wonderful flower!

  7. Merci beaucoup
    Mamie Titi

  8. Tippy from The NetherlandsJanuary 23, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Thank you sooooo very much for this tutorial!!

    Your Bullion Roses are BEAUTIFULL!!!
    (And the tutorial is very easy!!!)

  9. These Bullion Roses are stunning and your blog is a marvelous inspiration to all of us.

  10. These are gorgeous...I remember doing them in thread years ago, but never thought to do them in beads.

  11. sweet thank you for tutorial very pretty Rose

  12. Wow!Thank you very much for such a detailed tutorial.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this! I still need some time to figure it out! I love it!

  14. I love your work. thank you for sharing.

  15. I love your work. thank you for sharing.