|Beaded Tea Ball Ornament|
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A long time ago, on one of the bead lists, someone was looking for a mesh potpourri ball for a particular project. Having never seen a mesh potpourri ball, this tea ball looked like it would work for the project. The picture doesn't quite do the beaded ornament justice, but will at least give an idea of what the finished product looks like.
What You'll Need:
- Mesh Tea Ball, 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter
- Size 12 or 13 beading needle
- Size B Nymo
- 2 6mm red druks
- Size 11 seed beads in red, white, and green
- Size 6 seed beads, silver-lined green
- Size 8 seed beads, gold lined clear
- Tiny teardrops in red with gold lustre (these can be tiny tims, magatamas, etc.)
- Black permanent ink pen (I used a Sharpie)
This chart shows the placement and direction of the beads on one sixth of the ball, do not rely on the bead count shown because it is not accurate. With bead embroidery, which is what this basically is, bead counts are useless, instead simply string on enough beads to fill the space you need to fill.
Start with a row around the edge. Choose two adjacent holes as near to the edge as possible and come up from the back (inside) through one, down through the other, up through the first and repeat a couple of times to secure the thread. Then, pick up one green size 6 and one white size 11. Skip the white bead and go back down through the green bead and the hole you came up through. Don't worry if you can't quite see well enough to go back down through the exact same hole, the holes in the mesh are so small and numerous that it's almost like working with fabric. If you go down through the hole next door that's fine, as long as you are not way-off, perfect accuracy is not important. Come up a few holes over leaving enough room for the next size 6 to lie flat next to the first one. Continue adding sets of one green and one white in this manner until you've made a row all the way around the edge of the mesh ball.
Next, come up through the first green size 6 that was added and the white bead on top. String on a tear drop and go through the next white bead over. Continue adding tear drops between the white beads all the way around. This has the advantage of hiding most of the metal lip that circles the ball.
Now, add the radiating gold lines. Start from the edge at the end of one of the black lines that were added at the beginning. Pick up 4 gold size 8 beads and push them down to the base of the thread so they lay against the ball following the black guidelines. Go down through a hole in the mesh at the edge of the 4th bead, then go back and come up through the mesh at the intersection of the 2nd and 3rd beads. Go forward through the 3rd and 4th beads again.
Now, eyeball the remaining space from where the beads end to the center, remember to leave room at the center for the big red bead. If you can fit another four beads before it's time to add the big red bead, do so in the same manner. Then add however many more beads are needed to fill the gap to the center (probably around 2) and the 6mm red bead. Go down through the mesh and come up behind the red bead and go through it again. Repeat this once more to stabilize the large bead. Then complete the line of gold beads following the black line to the other edge of the ball.
Go up through one of the green beads at the edge and thread through the outer row of white beads and tear drops to get to the beginning of the next black line. Back stitch gold beads along the black line to the center, skip under the big red bead and complete the line on the other side. Thread to the beginning of the remaining black guideline and complete it the same way.
Now, come up through an adjacent hole and thread up through your line of gold beads to get to the center. Go down through a hole at the end of the line then come up through one between the two gold lines. Backstitch a line of 5 gold beads or so between each set of long gold lines.
Now start filling in the spaces between each set of gold lines from side to side with size 11 red seed beads. Fill in to the bottom of the shorter gold lines, then add one more row that reaches from one long line to the next. Then, add two more red beads at the center and one more bead below and between them. The stitch goes like this: come up through a hole next to the gold bead at the edge of the space to be filled, pick up enough beads to fill the space and go down through a hole next to the gold bead on the other side of the space. Then come up through a hole below the one that was entered with the last stitch, pick up enough beads to fill the space and go down on the other side. This stitch is similar to Lane or Satin stitch.
Now fill in the remaining space from top to bottom with size 11 green beads. The stitch is the same, except the rows will run vertically from the bottom of the red beads to the edge of the ball.
Adding bells to the ornament makes them a bit more festive. Other possibilities are potpourri (cinnamon or pine scented) a small gift , a picture (kinda like a locket), or anything else that will fit in the space. These beaded tea ball ornaments make delightful holiday gifts.
Try out your own designs, the possibilities are endless! Go with something more complex or simplify this design even further. Concentric rings of large beads, or spikes of seed beads would be neat. A snowflake design would look great. It would even be possible to do a small counted cross stitch design in beads, if you can see the holes well enough. A magnifier would help a lot in that case. Whatever bead embroidery design you choose, have fun!