Use this free beading pattern as a guide to making your own unique pair of bead embroidered earrings. These earrings use a vintage Lucite button as their focal point, and are embellished with vintage glass nail heads and a vintage Lucite drop. Change the materials and colors to suit your own preferences for a pair of unique beaded earrings!
To make these bead embroidered earrings, you will need the following materials:
- 2 vintage Lucite shank buttons, Lemon Moonglow, 15 mm
- 8 vintage glass nailheads, 5 mm
- 1 gram size 15 Japanese seed beads
- 4 grams size 11 Japanese seed beads
- 1 gram size 8 Japanese seed beads
- 2 vintage Lucite drop beads, brown, approx. 15 mm
- 4 gold filled round beads, 3mm
- 1 gram size 11 Delica cylinder beads
- 1 pair gold filled or sterling silver post earrings, 8mm pad
- 2 gold filled head pins, 2 1/2 inches long
- Scrap of Ultrasuede in bright orange or yellow
- 4" square of Lacy's Stiff Stuff
- E6000 or other glue
- Nylon beading thread
- Size 12 beading needle
- Scissors or thread cutter
- Flat nose or chain nose pliers
- Wire cutter
All beads and materials: Beadin' Path
2. Getting Started
Cut a small square of bead embroidery medium so that there is approximately 1 1/2" around the Lucite button.
Push the Lucite button into the center of the bead embroidery medium so that it leaves a small mark. Nip this mark with your scissors to create a small opening.
Use a small amount of E6000 on the back of the Lucite button, spreading it evenly with a toothpick or craft brush, and press the shank of the button through the hole in the bead embroidery medium. Wipe away any excess glue with a toothpick and allow at least 1 hour for the glue to dry.
3. Stitch a Beaded Bezel Around the Button
Using beaded backstitch, stitch a row of Delica beads around the button. Make sure that there are an even number of beads around the button. You can do this by always adding two beads at a time. If you find that you only have enough space at the end to add one more Delica bead, squeeze in an extra bead - it's better to have one extra bead than to have one less than you need. When you complete the bezel, stitching with a moderately tight tension will make that extra bead fit right into the bezel.
Pass needle through the first Delica bead added.
Stitch one more round in tubular even-count peyote.
5. Make the Picots
To add the picot edging to the peyote stitch bezel:
Add one size 15 bead as you normally would. Pass down into the Delica bead bezel, then up so that you are exiting in the center between the next two size 15 beads from the previous row.
Repeat around the entire bezel, pulling snugly.
Weave thread down through the bezel, through the Stiff Stuff, and trim the thread.
6. Add the Nail Heads
Start a new thread, tying a small knot in one end.
Pass up through the Stiff Stuff close to the beaded bezel.
Pick up a nail head and lay it down against the beadwork so that it is lying perpendicular to the beaded bezel. Look for the point where the thread exits the nail head against the Stiff Stuff, and pass needle down into the Stiff Stuff.
Repeat the thread path two or three times for security - nail heads can sometimes have rough edges that may cut through nylon beading thread.
Add the remaining three nail heads at the 3 'o' clock, 6 'o' clock and 9 'o' clock positions around the beaded bezel, making sure that each one rests evenly up against the beaded bezel.
7. Work Backstitch Around the Nail Heads
Using the size 11 seed beads, work one row of beaded backstitch around each nailhead.
8. Add a Row of Seed Beads Between the Nail Heads
Using the size 8 beads, stitch one row of beaded backstitch between each nail head, along the side of the button.
After you have finished the last row of backstitch using the size 8 beads, weave the thread into the beadwork, tie a few half-hitch knots and add a drop of glue if desired, and trim the thread close to the beadwork.
9. Trim and Add the Earring Finding
Carefully trim the Stiff Stuff close to the bead embroidery, taking care to avoid cutting any threads.
Apply a small amount of glue to the earring pad and affix it to the back of the bead embroidery. Wait at least one hour for the glue to dry.
10. Add the Fabric Backing
After the earring post has dried in place, take a small piece of the Ultrasuede and gently push the earring post through the fabric. Use a small amount of glue to attach the Ultrasuede to the back of the bead embroidery.
Note: Because you have not removed the shank from the button, there will be a small bulge in the fabric. Take this into account when trimming the fabric around the bead embroidery.
Carefully trim the fabric around the bead embroidery, leaving approximately 1/8 of an inch as a border.