You can use brick stitch to weave rows of beads on the insides of ready-made metal hoops. The embellished circles make beautiful earring drops and pendants. In this free tutorial, we make them into elegant earrings.
1. Gather Your Materials
You'll need the following materials to make a pair of earrings like the ones shown in the example.
- 130 (about 1.2 grams) size 11/0 round seed beads in galvanized gold (A)
- 26 size 15/0 round seed beads in metallic purple iris (B)
The bold capital letters above are the bead key for this tutorial.
- 2 matte 30mm gold plated textured pendant rings
- 4-pound, size B FireLine beading thread in crystal
- Hobby knife (Xacto) or children's craft scissors
- Size 12 beading needle
- Thread burner
- 2 gold-plated 5.5mm 18-gauge jump rings
- 2 gold-plated surgical steel French hook ear wires
- 2 pairs of chain nose or flat nose pliers (or one of each)
You may also want to have on hand one or more bead dishes and a bead mat.
2. Stitch the First Bead
Pull and cut an arms' span length of FireLine. (For an arms' span, pull the thread out away from the spool as wide as your arms will go.) Be sure to cut the FireLine with a sharp craft knife (Xacto) or children's craft scissors; it is too strong to cut with most regular beading scissors.
Squeeze the very end of the cut thread with your fingernails to flatten it, and thread the needle. Fold over about six inches of thread for single-strand beadweaving.
Please click on the image on the left for a full size view.
Pick up 1A and slide it down to about 8 inches from the other end of the thread. Place it beneath one of the metal hoops. Bring the needle up on the front side of the hoop, and pass back through the bead (in the opposite direction that you strung it).
Hold the bead between your fingers and gently pull the thread to take up its slack (but don't pull it through so far that you shorten the 8-inch thread tail).
The bead should now be against the hoop, with the thread looped around the hoop.
3. Tie a Square Knot
Use the two threads exiting the top of the bead to tie a square knot. This knot will help the first bead remain in position while you stitch the next few beads.
4. Stitch the Second Bead
Make sure your needle is on the back side of the hoop (the side facing away from you). Then pick up a second bead and slide it down beside the first bead. I do this by holding the second bead near the frame with one hand, and using my other hand to pull the thread through.
Hold the second bead in place with your fingers and bring the needle below the frame and up to the front side. Pass back up through the second bead, and pull the thread taut.
5. Stitch the Third Bead
Repeat Step 2 to stitch a third bead up against the second bead. Remember to always begin the stitch with your needle behind the frame, pick up the bead, and then bring the needle to the front of the frame before passing back up through the bead.
Your first three beads should look like those in the photo on the left (please click to enlarge).
6. Complete the First Round
Keep stitching on beads until you reach the beginning of the round. To make earrings just like the ones in the example, make sure that the total number of beads you have is divisible by 3. For the 30mm hoops, I stitched 39 beads in the first round.
Tip: If you use galvanized gold beads, you may encounter a few that stick on your needle because their holes are slightly too small. Set those aside and save them for another project, or switch to a size 15 needle to use them now.
As with most beadwork thread tension is important: keep it relatively tight. Also, take the time to position each bead flush against the one before it, to avoid gaps between beads.
After stitching the last bead in the round, pass the needle down through the first bead in the round, and then up through the last bead in the round again. Pull the thread taut. This locks the first and last beads together with thread.
7. Begin the Second Round of Beads
Begin the second round by picking up 2A. This is where traditional brick stitch begins. Make sure the needle is on the back of the hoop, and then pass forward beneath the bridge of thread that runs between the second and third beads along in the first round. (That is, skip over one bridge of thread and pass beneath the next one.)
Pull the thread gently taut. Then, while holding the 2A in place with your fingers, pass back up through the second of those two beads, and pull the thread taut again.
In the middle photo on the left, notice how I'm pinning the thread between my fingers toward the bottom of the photo. I do this to keep the thread tension taut so that the new bead remains in position while I pass up through it with the needle. (The needle is in my other hand.)
8. Stitch the Third Bead in the Second Round
Pick up 1B. Make sure the needle is behind the hoop, and then pass it forward beneath the very next bridge of thread in the first round. Pull the thread gently taut, then pass back up through the 1B. Make sure that your needle passes in front of the bridge of thread (otherwise, the bead will fall off).
Tip: Use the index finger of the hand holding your beadwork to gently press the bead toward you. This helps you pass the needle in front of the bridge of thread.
9. Complete the Second Round of Beads
Use this same technique to stitch beads all the way around the inside of the hoop, repeating the following motif: 1A, 1A, 1B. Be careful not to skip any bridges of thread.
When you reach the beginning of the second round, pass down through the first bead and up through the last bead again to lock these two beads together, just like you did in the first round (Step 6).
The beads may look a little jumbled because of the tight fit, but you should be able to straighten them out quite a bit with your fingertips after completing all of the stitches.
10. Weave-In the Thread
Weave-in the thread by passing down and up through the beadwork several times, and keeping the thread pulled taut. Click on the image on the left for a better view of my suggested thread path.
Remove the needle and thread it onto the thread tail. Use the same technique to weave-in this end of the thread.
11. Trim the Thread Tails With a Thread Burner
Because we're using FireLine, which is tricky to cut accurately, the best method for trimming off the thread tails is to use a thread burner.
The trick is to hold the thread out taut when you touch the hot tip of the burner to the base of the thread, close to where it exits the beadwork. I do this by wrapping the thread around my finger a couple of times, and using that finger to pull the thread taut (click the photo on the left for a larger view).
Cut both thread tails, being very careful not to touch any other threads in the beadwork -- or your fingers -- with the hot tip of the burner.
12. Assemble the Earrings
Use pliers to attach a jump ring to each hoop, and to attach an ear wire to each jump ring. Use the same technique you'd use to attach a clasp with jump rings.
Enjoy your new earrings!
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