Monday, May 18, 2009

The Basic Bead

The time has come to turn to beaded beads. Other than the versatile bead, I haven't posted any new beaded beads in many years, so I have a large backlog to share with all of you. But first, I want to return to the basic bead which I'm still using as the base of my embellished beads, mainly because we have new beads we didn't have ten years ago. Probably my favorite of all is the new 10/0 Delica (Miyuki DBM designation), sometimes referred to as the medium Delica. I still use the 10/0 twisted hex which has been a mainstay of mine for many years.

The necklace above is about 8 years old and has been worn at least several hundred times. When I was still working, I wore a lot of black and this was my standby. It didn't hurt that it was also one of my favorites. The beads are built on a basic bead that is five beads around and from eleven to twenty-one rows, not counting the two beginning and two ending rows. I always start and end the basic bead with 11/0 Delicas to ensure a small hole, and I use two different beads in the main part to make it easier to place the embellishment. I'm going to make a bracelet, so I'll be building these beads on a 4-bead basic.

Materials Needed
11/0 Delicas
10/0 Delicas
10/0 Twisted Hex
15/0 Seed Beads
*4mm Fire Polished (FP) Rounds (which are really ovals)
3mm drop beads (these are 3mm Tojo Mags)
C-Lon, 6lb Fireline, or Wildfire
#10 or #11 Needle

*Sixteen FP beads needed for a 4-bead basic, Twenty for a 5-bead basic

Thread your needle with 60" of thread and work with it doubled. Begin the bead in my usual manner by stringing eight 11/0 Delicas, bringing the needle around and going through every other bead before pulling the beads into a nice tight circle. Begin the tubular peyote by working one round of 10/0 Delicas, making sure to step up at the end of the round, and one round of 10/0 twisted hex.

Work around in tubular peyote until you have seven rows of 10/0 delicas and six rows of 10/0 twisted hex. Finish with two rounds of 11/0 Delicas, taking the thread through the last row a second time to close up the top of the bead. Move the needle through an 11/0 Delica on the next row (the first row of 11/0 at this end).

**Load two 15/0 seed beads, one 4mm FP, one drop, one 4mm FP, and two 15/0 seed beads on the thread, bring the needle around and take it through the same bead the thread is exiting from. Take the needle through the 10/0 Delica and through the next 11/0 Delica.*** Repeat from ** to *** three more times. The blue beads in the diagram show where the four elements are placed.

Walk the needle and thread down one of the columns as shown in the photograph until you reach the 11/0 Delica at the end of the column. **Take the needle through this Delica and load on two 15/0 seed beads and one FP. Take the needle through the drop bead in the top element directly above. Load on one FP and two 15/0 seed beads before bringing the needle back through the Delica you exited to begin this element. Pull tight, ensuring the drop bead is turned out. Take the needle through the 10/0 Delica and through the next 11/0 Delica.*** Repeat from ** to *** three more times.

Walk the thread down a column to the center and tie off with a square or surgeon's knot. Cut the thread leaving about 1/16th inch tail. Burn the tail with a thread burner or a match. Tie off the starting thread at the other end in the same manner if you haven't done so already.

I used to use a toothpick as a mandrel when I made the basic beads, and you may find this helpful. I've made so many beads in the last ten years that I no longer need a mandrel. Also, I've either gotten better about making the initial circle very small or toothpicks have gotten fatter. Now I need to make four more beads, so the next posting can feature a bracelet made from these beads.

This bead is 14mm around x 17mm tall.


  1. Beautiful!! Thankyou pattern!!!

  2. Very nice!
    Thank you for the pattern!!!

  3. Thank You. This is a beautiful and very helpful site. God Bless Barbara