How to Make a Spiral Bead Rope
The spiral bead rope is an easy and versatile beading stitch. It can be used to make bracelet and necklace chains, as well as larger items, such as purse straps. This project is fairly quick and easy to turn out a bracelet-size chain (but you can make the chain to any length you wish). You can use various types of beads to make spiral ropes, but it's easiest to learn using seed beads (not cylinder beads) in two different colors. Once you get the basics down, you can change the type and size of beads you use. That means you can personalize the chain to suit your preferences, as well as make customized chains to give away as gifts.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Beading needle
- Seed beads in two different colors (amount depends on desired rope length)
- Beading thread (amount depends on desired rope length)
- Bead cones or a clasp
Start the Spiral Bead Rope
Gather your beads in two different colors. One color will be used for the core, and the other color will be for the outside of the spiral. We will refer to them as core beads and spiral beads. (This tutorial uses silver for the core beads and dark gray for the spiral beads.)
Start by picking up four core beads and three spiral beads on your needle. Slide them down the thread, leaving about a 6-inch tail.
Make Your First Stitch
Put your needle back through the first four core beads. Pull the thread tight to form a small circle. Press the spiral beads flat against the core beads, and push them to the left side.
Add Beads for the Next Stitch
To make the next stitch, pick up one more core bead and three spiral beads. Put your needle back through the last four core beads, skipping the first core bead.
Tighten the Thread
Pull the thread tight to make another loop of beads. The photo below is what the beads look like before shifting the newly added spiral beads to the left side.
Continue With More Beads
Continue stitching the spiral rope by picking up one core bead and three spiral beads. Stitch through the previous three core beads and the one you just added.
Try to maintain good tension in the thread. It will help to make the spiral tight, and you'll avoid having thread showing between the stitches.
Repeat the Stitching
Continue stitching in the same manner. It will take at least five or six stitches before you start to see the spiral forming.
Note the Formation of the Spiral
The key to the spiral forming is that the length of the spiral beads is shorter than the length of the core beads. This causes the core to curve slightly around the outer spiral beads.
In the photo below, you can see that the ends of the core beads are forming an S shape and starting to curve as more stitches are added.
Add Stitches Until You Reach Your Desired Length
As more spiral stitches are added, the spiral effect should be more pronounced. Continue stitching in the same manner until the chain reaches your desired length.
Finish the Spiral Bead Rope
One way to finish your spiral bead rope is to use long cone findings, also known as bead cones, on the ends. Not only will they provide a finished look, but they also will cover the edges of the beadwork, which end up slightly uneven due to the spiral. You also can attach the thread to a standard jewelry clasp if you prefer.