Cellini Spiral Tutorial

Cellini Spiral Tutorial

The Spruce / Lisa Yang

The Cellini spiral stitch is a variation of the tubular peyote stitch that uses graduated bead sizes to form a unique spiral shape. The Cellini spiral stitch is most often used to make ropes for necklaces, purses, and bangle bracelets. 

Though the Cellini spiral looks complex and difficult to make, it's easier to learn than it appears. If you're familiar with an even or odd count tubular peyote stitch and have a few different sizes of beads on hand, you can learn the Cellini spiral stitch. 

Tips and Tricks for Creating a Cellini Spiral

To finesse the technique you use to create a Cellini spiral, consider the following tips:

Bead Quantity

The quantity of beads needed depends on the size spiral you are planning to make. For a spiral about 8 inches in length (for a bracelet), plan on using about 5 grams of size 8 seed beads, 10 grams of each of the two sizes 11 seed beads, and about 10 grams of cylinder beads.

Thread Choice

Your thread choice will make a big difference in the flexibility of your spiral. Heavier threads like WildFire or Fireline combined with tight thread tension will result in a stiffer spiral. A lighter nylon thread like Nymo or Silamide will result in a softer, more flexible spiral.

Tight or Loose Stitch

How tightly or loosely you stitch will also have some effect on the finished spiral. Stitching tightly will cause the larger beads to "pop" more and will result in a more dramatic spiral. Looser tension will mean a softer and more flexible spiral. Try using a wider range of beads for a more dramatic spiral, starting with tiny size 15 beads and ending with a size 6 or larger bead.

Types of Beads

You can use a variety of beads in your Cellini spiral. Use gemstone chips as your largest bead for a rustic-looking spiral. Small pearls, crystals, and round gemstone beads (try 4mm beads to begin with) can give your Cellini spiral an added air of elegance.

Cellini Spiral Materials

Materials used to make a Cellini Spiral
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

To make a Cellini spiral like the one above, you will need the following beads (labeled with letters for easier use during the tutorial) and materials:

  • One color of size 11 Japanese cylinder beads such as Delicas, Treasures, or Oikos (labeled A)
  • Two colors of size 11 seed beads (labeled B and C)
  • One color of size 8 seed beads (labeled D)
  • Beading thread such as Fireline or Nymo
  • Beading needle
  • Wooden dowel or pencil (optional)
  • Embroidery scissors or thread burner

String Beads for a Cellini Spiral

String the Beads for the First Two Rows
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

Cut and, if necessary, condition a comfortable length of beading thread.

To start your Cellini spiral, pick up beads for the first two rows just like you would in tubular peyote. The beads are picked up in graduated size order. Pick up the exact number of beads in the following order as indicated in these six steps:

  1. Six cylinder beads (A)
  2. Two of the first color size 11/0 beads (B)
  3. Two of the second color of size 11/0 seed beads (C)
  4. Two of the size 8/0 beads (D)
  5. Two more of the second color size 11/0 (C)
  6. Two more of the first color 11/0 seed beads (B)

Start a Cellini Spiral With a Ring of Beads

Tie the Beads Into a Ring
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

Make a circle with the beads. You can tie a square knot and then pass through the first two-cylinder beads or just pass through the beads to form a circle. At this point, you may want to slip the ring onto a wooden dowel or pencil to hold the beadwork until the spiral begins to take shape.

Work the Cellini Spiral Stitch

You May Bead on a Dowel If It Makes It Easier for You to Hold
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

Now that you have your base ring of beads tied together, begin working in a tubular even count peyote stitch. To pick up the beads to make the spiral, remember this rule: the next bead you pick up and stitch will be the same color as the bead that your needle is coming out of. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Pick up one cylinder bead (A), skip the next cylinder bead, and pass through the next bead in the ring.
  2. Add two more cylinder beads in this manner.
  3. Pick up one 11/0 seed bead of the first color (B), and stitch through the next bead in the ring.
  4. Pick up one 11/0 seed bead of the second color (C), and stitch through the next bead in the ring.
  5. Pick up one 8/0 seed bead (D), and stitch through the next bead in the ring.
  6. Pick up one more 11/0 seed bead of the second color (C), and stitch through the next bead in the ring.
  7. Pick up one 11/0 seed bead of the first color (B), and stitch through the next bead in the ring.

Continuing Stitching Cellini Spiral Rounds

Stepping up in Cellin Spiral
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

At this point, you will need to make the step up for tubular even count peyote.

As you stitch the remaining rounds, remember to always pick up the same type of bead as the bead that your thread is coming out of.

To make your spiral take shape, keep a relatively tight tension. Pulling snugly on each bead as it is added will make the beads cup into a tight spiral tube.

Holding the Cellini Spiral

The Spiral Is Beginning to Take Shape
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

Remember to comfortably hold the Cellini spiral while working on it. It can be a great help when you are trying to keep an even tension. There are a couple of ways to hold tubular beadwork while the tube is starting to form. One of these two ways may work best for you:

  • Hold the beginning of the spiral just by hanging on to the tail thread.
  • Slide the beadwork onto a wooden dowel, stick, or pencil while you're working on the Cellini spiral.

If you use a dowel, make sure the beads are not tight on the wood. Being able to control the tension is important when working a Cellini spiral. It will be difficult to do this if the beadwork is too tight around the dowel.

Finishing a Cellini Spiral

You Can add a Filler Like This Glass Tube Bead to Center the Cellini Spiral
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

To seal off the ends of your Cellini spiral piece, begin to decrease at either end until the center hole is covered. To decrease, add a bead as you normally would, then skip the next space where you would add a bead. Instead, pass your needle and thread through space and pull tightly to pull the two beads close to each other. Add another bead as you normally would. Repeat this until you have sealed up the ends of the Cellini spiral.

You can also leave the ends of the spiral open. To do this, run your needle and thread through all the "up" beads on either end of the spiral. Then pull tight to move the beads close to one another.

To finish, place a curved glass tube bead in the center to give it a more defined and finished shape.

Three Other Ways to Finish a Cellini Spiral

  • Thread a piece of ribbon through an open Cellini spiral it and tying the ends for an instant necklace.
  • Use large bead caps on either end of the Cellini spiral, open or closed, to use it as a centerpiece or focal point for a beaded necklace.
  • Use memory wire or beading wire to make a bracelet. (Make a Cellini spiral bracelet a little longer than you normally would to ensure that it fits completely around the wrist.)