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Blue rainbow - a bead embroidery and wirework tutorial for beginners - part one

These beautiful blue fused glass beads just seemed to speak for themselves when I first saw them. The dichroic sparkle and color shift is mesmerizing, and I really didn’t want to design anything that would detract from them. I finally settled on placing each bead into a simple seed bead bezel and accenting them with alternating dangles of crystals.  My friend Jeanne Kent made the beads, and I just love her style!

If this is the first time you've tried bead embroidery, I suggest that you download a free copy of the first chapter of my e-book, Every Bead Has a Story.  There are step-by-step photos, quite close up, of how to do the back stitch and edging brick stitch that are used here.

Part one covers how to stitch up the bead embroidery pieces.  Next week in part two, I'll share how to do the wirework that puts them all together!

Materials & Tools

14 2x2" pieces of beading foundation
Fabric glue
7 flat-backed fused glass beads or cabochons
7.5 gram tube each of black, silver, and blue Delica seed beads
Black Nymo 0 beading thread
6 dozen assorted beads and crystals in matching colors, 4-6mm
7 blue Swarovski crystal bicones, 6mm
36" 22 gauge sterling silver wire
6" small link sterling silver chain
9" medium link sterling silver chain
2 jump rings
7 head pins
27 sterling silver rounds, 2mm
7 sterling silver daisy spacers
Sterling silver hook
Long beading needles
Fabric scissors
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters
Measuring tape

1.  Lightly glue each fused glass bead to the center of a 2x2" piece of ultra-suede using E6000 and let them dry.

2. If they are beads rather than cabochons, stitch each down to the ultra-suede for added security before beginning to embroider. Back stitch a line of black Delicas close to the base of the bead. Run your thread through all the Delicas and pull gently to snug it to the focal bead. Using peyote stitch, add two rows of black Delicas on top of this bottom back stitched row. [Note -- Depending upon how deep your bead is, you may have to add additional rows in black. You want the black seed beads to come up almost to the top of the focal bead.]

3.  Add a third row of peyote in blue Delicas and a final row in silver so that the blue and silver beads alternate around the top of the focal piece.

4.  Back down at the base of the focal bead, add a second back stitched row, working outward from the black foundation row, this time using blue Delicas. Run your thread through all the Delicas and pull gently to snug this row as well.

5.  Clip the ultra-suede close to this row of beads, being careful not to cut into any threads. Using just enough fabric glue to create a slight tack, attach another small piece of ultra-suede to cover your stitching. The glue will only be holding them together while you do the final stitching. Don't use much or you'll stain the ultra-suede where it seeps through. Let it dry. Cut the bottom layer of ultra-suede even with the top piece.

6.  Stitch on the edging row using edging brick stitch. This technique leaves the beads standing up with their holes facing outwards.

7.  Add silver Delicas between each of the black Delicas of the edging row by weaving your needle in and out of the holes. Secure the thread in the work and clip off the end.

Part two - the assembly

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique
Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Jeanne Kent's beads are gorgeous and you've certainly done them justice, Cyndi. I'd love to see how this hangs on someone. Do the crystal dangles hang straight down or are they like rays? I hope that makes sense ;-)
Cyndi L said…
It makes perfect sense, Eileen! The dangles are stiff (gonna show how next week), so they look like rays when the piece is worn. :-)
Tammy said…
That is so me amazing beading! Love the colors.