How to Make a Spiral Bead Rope

spiral bead rope

The Spruce / Lisa Yang

Overview
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5

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.

spiral bead rope materials
The Spruce / Lisa Yang

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Beading needle
  • Scissors

Materials

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.

    beads on a string
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  2. 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.

    first stitch for bead rope
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  3. 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.

    adding more beads
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  4. 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.

    tightening spiral
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  5. 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.

    continuing spiral bead rope
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  6. 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.

    adding more beads
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  7. 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.

    spiral forming
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  8. 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.

    longer spiral forming
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang
  9. 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.

    two finished spiral bead ropes
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang