1. Gather Your Materials
You'll need the following beads and supplies to make one pair of earrings.
- 10 Chinese crystal 4mm bicone beads in light Siam luster (A)
- 50 size 15/0 Japanese round seed beads in opaque black (B)
- 14 Preciosa Twin beads in opaque black (C)
- 10 Chinese crystal 4mm bicone beads in sun luster (D)
- 64 size 11/0 Japanese round seed beads in opaque black (E)
I purchased the crystal beads in this tutorial at U Bead It.
The capital letters above make up the bead key, which is used to identify particular beads in the following steps.
- 6-pound FireLine beading thread in black
- Children's craft scissors or hobby knife
- Size 10 beading needle (I used an English beading needle)
- Thread burner
- Other recommended beading supplies, such as a bead mat and bead dishes
- Chain nose pliers
- Ready-made French hook ear wires (I used gold-plated surgical steel 21-gauge hooks from Fire Mountain)
2. String the Initial Circle of Beads
This pattern begins with the circle of beads at the center of each earring.
Start by pulling and cutting about three feet of FireLine thread, and threading your needle for single-strand beadweaving. Remember to use kids' craft scissors, a hobby knife, or another rugged tool to cut the FireLine, and not your regular beading scissors.
Pour out each bead color and size into a separate pile or bead dish compartment.
Use your needle to pick up the following beads:
1A, 1B, 1C, 1B, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1B, 1D, 1B, 1C, and 1B.
Slide those beads down to about six inches from the end of the thread. Holding the beads in place with your fingers, pass again through the first 1A that you strung (in the same direction). Pull the thread taut to create a beaded circle.
3. Stitch Another Round
Stitch beads all the way around the outside of the initial circle as follows:
Pick up 2E and pass through the empty hole in the next C in the circle.
Pick up 2E and pass through the next A. Hold the beadwork between your fingers and pull the thread taut.
Pick up 2E and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 2E and pass through the D in the circle. Pull the thread taut.
Pick up 2E and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 2E and pass through the first A in the circle and through the first 2E that you picked up in this step. Pull the thread taut again.
4. Make the Top Loop
Pick up 2E, 1A, and 7B, and slide them all the way down.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
Hold the 1A between your fingers and pass back through it with the needle (in the opposite direction). Pull the thread taut.
Pick up 2E and pass down through the next 2E in the second round of the circle, and all the way through the next A in the circle and the next 2E in the second round of the circle. Pull the thread taut again.
At this point, the beadwork already forms a cute earring drop. In the following steps, we'll add some embellishment.
5. Stitch the First Row of the Bottom Embellishment
Pick up 1B, 4E, 1C, 1B, 1D, 1C, 1A, 1C, 1D, 1B, 1C, 4E, and 1B and slide them all the way down on the thread.
Pass the needle up through the 2E on the opposite side of the circle that match the 2E that your thread exited at the end of Step 4, and then pass up through the next A, all the way up and through the top loop, and down the other side of the top loop and circle. To do this, pass through several beads at a time, stopping to tug the thread taut after each pass.
Bring the needle out through the second E that you picked up in this step, and pull the thread taut again.
6. Stitch the Second Row of Embellishment
Perform the following stitches, pulling the thread taut after each stitch:
Pick up 1B, 1E, and 2B, and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 1E, 1D, 1B, and 1E, and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 1E, 1A, and 1E, and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 1E, 1B, 1D, and 1E, and pass through the empty hole in the next C.
Pick up 2B, 1E, and 1B, skip the next 2E in the previous round, and then pass up into the next E and into the beadwork.
7. Weave-In the Thread
The pattern is now complete, and it's time to weave-in the thread.
Pass through a few more beads and make a half-hitch knot. You do this by passing the needle beneath the thread that runs between two adjacent beads, and pulling it slowly to create a small loop. Pass the needle through that loop, and pull the thread to tighten down the knot.
Pass through a few more beads and make another half hitch knot.
Pass through several more beads, pull the thread gently taut, and remove the needle.
Thread the needle on the 6-inch thread tail that you left at the beginning of the pattern, and use the same process to weave it in. Try to use a different path than you used with the first thread.
8. Trim the Thread With a Thread Burner
Because FireLine beading thread is so strong, it can be challenging to cut with accuracy. The easiest way to trim it from your beadwork is to use a thread burner.
Wrap one of the thread tails around a finger, and use that finger to pull the thread outward so that it's taut. Then use the thread burner in your other hand to melt through the thread close to the beadwork. (Be careful; the tip becomes red hot.)
Repeat this process with the other thread tail.
9. Complete Your Earrings
Repeat Steps 1-8 to complete a second earring drop.
Use chain nose pliers to bend open the connector loops on the earring findings and attach them to the beaded top loops on the drops. Use the pliers to bend the connector loops closed again.
Remember that you can make this pattern using different colors of beads, as long as you use the same bead shapes and sizes.
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