Saturday, 21 December 2013

Introduction about my jewellery and beaded earrings pattern

Lately I'm often told that I've been neglecting my jewellery and it's hard to disagree with that. I love beading, both the process and the results and part of my intention when I created this blog was to share what I do and gain new knowledge - hence the name "multicrafteral". Looking back at all these doll posts, I understood it was about time to start mixing in some beading, but first I want to explain where I'm coming from in the world of jewellery making. If you're visiting from Pinterest, the earring pattern is at the end and you can skip to it. Big pictures ahead, open the full size :)

I started tackling seed beads in school. It's a widespread and cheap material and it's easy to compose letters and drawings on a simple grid weave - much like cross stitch embroidery. I used the cheapest kind of beads, plastic and uneven and I didn't have a needle. I painted the end of my thread (fishing line) with bright nail polish and pushed the hardened tip into the beads. It was long before beading needles started to show up in my country. Not much can be done without needles so when I discovered beaded beads through the Internet I was so eager to try them that I filed down a sewing needle until it could fit into my beads.

Finding supplies around here is a frustrating quest. In my head, jewellery making was reserved to very few people and whatever I, and other people who lurked around the seed bead aisle were doing was nothing more than a children's craft. I had no idea of the availability of supplies in other countries. Okay, I had seed beads, now what? To make earrings I had to break an old pair for the wires. I gathered glass beads from broken necklaces. Nobody was selling findings and other necessary supplies

In 2007 I went to the USA for the summer and I was shocked to discover handmade jewellery at a fair. The artists used gems, silver wire, polymer clay, artistic clasps. They simply bought all those and assembled them into jewellery - how wonderful! Back at home, I was growing increasingly displeased with the lack of jewellery in my taste (and price range!). I learnt the names of the basic tools and supplies and started looking for them. It was a very long way but now I have most of the things I'd need to whip up a piece of jewellery whenever inspiration finds me and thankfully many things are now popping up in local stores.

The difficulty I had in gathering some of the supplies still makes me cringe at cluttered patterns with many expensive glass pearls or crystals. My favourite patterns are the ones that produce the best looking piece of jewellery with the least amount of materials, especially costly ones. This is why I still hold a soft spot for seed beads (although now I use Czech! no more plastic.). You can make many things out of seed beads. One time, while I was waiting for my crystals to arrive in the mail, I experimented about a Gothic choker from seed beads alone:

I had the base figured out and I'm pretty sure the dangles could be done too but meanwhile my beads and wire arrived and I was able to make it the proper way. I did make a couple of chokers from seed beads unrelated to the design above, recently I found out this style is called "beaded lace". Makes sense, no? I like beaded lace better than fabric, because it's durable and washable. The earrings I'll show today are lacy too, made to look like 3D flowers.

The earrings

For the flower part you need seed beads in one size
(one colour or more), beading thread and needles, scissors and you can use nail polish to seal the thread.

I know normal beaders use Nymo or other proper beading thread but I stick with my fishing line because I'm paranoid any fibery thread will get filthy and unwashable. It's crazy, but I can't get over it. Use whatever thread you're comfortable with.

To make the rest of the earrings, you'll need:
- 2x ear wires
- 2x head pins
- small matching pieces of wire
- a set of jewellery pliers
- pretty beads (whatever your heart wishes), preferably teardrop or elongated.

The pattern is beaded in two parts - first the barrel base and then a "skirt" of petals. The white earrings below don't have the skirt so they look like closed flower buds:

The flower starts like any beaded bead, with a circle. It will have 5 petals, 1 bead for each, 1 bead in between, that makes 10 in the initial circle. Tug.

Tie a knot and go around adding rounds of circles. Continue with 10-bead circles, but since the first bead is there from before, add 9 more and close the circle. I'm bad at explaining so just follow the pictures.

Faded pink marks the beads from previous steps
Add 7 beads in the next circle, because 2 beads are already in place, 1 from each of the previous circle. Don't forget the last bead that connects those two. If you're doing everything correctly, a little triangle should form where the circles join.

Another circle:


The circle that closes the round: string one bead, connect to the adjoining circle, string 5 beads, connect to the previous circle, string one more bead. Bring the needle to the edge of the beading for a next round.

Continue adding circles in the same manner (pictures enlarge):

Last one:

There are no spaces in the beading! At this stage you should have something like the ivory earrings from the beginning of the tutorial. Knot and tie the extra thread.

To add the layer of petals, look for the highlighted beads. You'll be beading off them:

Tie the thread in the correct spot and bead this shape around the base. Look at the orientation of the bead holes. This part is beaded like netting, not in spirals like the previous barrel shape.

Let's see again where to start beading the second part. I simply put the two pattern pieces in one image:

I coloured a pattern to show one of the possibilities of introducing colour into this design. Experiment! Bet you could make a daffodil if you made the inner part yellow with a red fringe and the top and skirt white.

Use the flower shape you just made to create the earring. The chart below shows how I assembled mine, I wanted them extra-dangly but you can omit the middle segment and just use a long head pin.

Or you can use a wire with loops on both ends
and dangle more dangles from the dangle, like I did

Use a headpin with pretty beads to dangle out of the flower, fill to the desired length with seed beads, loop with pliers, hang another loop from a piece of wire, stick through the top from the inside of the flower, add a bead to stop the earring from riding up, loop the wire at the other end, add a ear wire and the earring is done! Now all that's left is to make a matching one ;)

Take a closer look at the flower centre. You can clearly see 2 rows of 5 petals each.

It wasn't so hard, was it? It's harder to explain than to make. I really hope this tutorial was useful. Photoshop's pen tool is a nightmare, reason why my pattern book is hand drawn and looks like this:

These are doodles for a friend's wedding necklace.
The necklace was made a year ago.
The pattern has yet to be properly drawn.

Do you have any suggestions or software for drawing beading patterns? I'd like to put up clean patterns more often but it's exhausting to draw them, really! What do you think of the tutorial style? Do you prefer a step-by-step or just the beading chart? Your feedback affects what I'll post in the future!

Homework for my readers

There are these little snowflake experiments I started last November, out of which I wanted to make doll jewellery and the rest were to go on my holiday tree. I never finished the project, but now you can help me by choosing the one you like for the doll's pendant! (I plan to make the earrings from the tiny clear beads alone). The white beads are pearly and the grey ones are AB. #1 has tiny AB clear bicones. Which is your favourite?

I'm looking forward to your answers and I hope finish the set this year. You can also take a look at my jewellery Pinterest and tell me which patterns you'd like to see sooner. Have an inspired and productive weekend!

The Black Kitty (^^)~~~


  1. Nice! This is beautiful ! As a beader who is now exploring other techniques of jewellery making , I loved the tutorial and am going to try my hand at making it ! Thanks to post...

    jewelry making

    1. I'm glad you like it! What do you usually make? Wigjig wire jewellery?

  2. Wow! Your patience do to all these beautiful works (specially in the beginning with all the lack of materials), and the tutorial, is impressive! I was specially amazed by the tutorial and the amount of work you put in it. *O* I also LOVE the snow flakes and the tree, but I can't decide between 4 and 6 (probably 6), I like that both have the 3 colors and the clear ones in the outer part, which gives a realy beautiful effect. =) Any chance you could maybe make a snowflake tutorial? *__*

    1. Sure I'll make a snowflake tutorial! It will take me much less work than this one. I'm glad you reminded me about this project, I really need to finish it while it's still winter. So you liked the tutorial, huh? I was sure nobody would read the "history" part, usually when I start talking about it people start yawning. I guess only we crafters can understand each other :)

    2. You know, the history part is usually my favorite one, specially when it has to do with overcoming obstacles or lack of materials. And since in our countries we have a bit of trouble to find supplies, we value more the work we put into adapting things to our needs. And creative solutions (and creativity in general) always fascinate me.
      And I'm happy you'll do the tutorial! Yay! Thanks a lot! :D

    3. I'll try to do it this week. The winter is almost over! If I leave this for the next year, I don't deserve a place on this Earth T_T


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