Spiral Peyote Tube Bead Earrings
Learning to make peyote stitch tube beads is a great beginner beading project. They don't require a big stash of different sized and colored beads–nor do they require a lot of any one type of bead.
These spiral tube beads are a great introduction to learn how to read and use a peyote stitch pattern. Chances are that you can figure out the design on your own, but having a pattern to get started really helps to keep it clear and make sure you don't make any mistakes.
Spiral Peyote Tube Bead
This tutorial will show you how to make a spiral peyote tube bead like the one in the picture. If you follow the same pattern a second time, you will have two identical tube beads to make your earrings with.
When I was making these earrings, I made what turned out to be a happy little accident and rolled my peyote tube in the opposite direction from the first one. That resulted in a tube bead that spiraled in the opposite direction–which is perfect for these earrings and is what you see in the first picture.
Start the Flat Even Count Peyote Stitch
This spiral tube bead uses flat even count peyote stitch in four different colors. The colors I used are Matte Metallic Light Aqua, Opaque Pink Champagne AB, Matte Grey/Purple AB, Opaque Light Smoke AB. I am using Wildfire bead thread in green.
To get started, string a stop bead. Pick up sixteen beads, four of each color. The pattern I am using is Smoke, Aqua, Pink, Purple.
Easy Start Peyote Stitch
Beginning beaders often say that starting the first several rows of peyote stitch is the hardest part. To make it easier, I use an extra needle to separate the first two rows of beads (the sixteen beads you just picked up are two rows).
Just put the needle between every other bead, starting with the last bead strung to separate the rows.
Stitch Into Up Beads on Each Row
Pick up a bead and stitch into the Up beads on the row, following the pattern on the last slide.
The word pattern is also available on my personal blog.
The pattern is not complicated, though–so one thing that may help you is to notice that you are always picking up two beads of each color in a row. They are sometimes separated (the first bead is at the beginning of the row, the second bead of that color is at the end), but aside from the starting row, you are never stitching more than two beads of the same color on a row. That was helpful for me when I was making the pattern.
Flat Peyote Square
When you are done with the flat peyote square, it will look like this picture.
Zip up the Tube Bead to Get the Spiral Pattern
Zip up the flat peyote stitch into a tube. This is done by making sure the two ends will match together with an Up bead in the column on end having a Down bead on the opposite side of the beadwork. If they match, then stitch in zig-zag motion through the Up beads and pull the thread tight to pull the ends together.
Repeat to make a second tube bead.
Plan the Earring Design
In order to make earrings from the tube beads, you will need headpins, some beads (flat spacer beads or bicone shapes work well) and two earwires. Thread a bead, the tube bead and then another bead onto the head pin until you are satisfied with the design.
I am using corrugated silver bicone beads, but 4mm bicone crystals work very well at the end of the tube beads.
Add Support Inside the Tube Bead
You may have noticed that your tube bead is a little floppy. If you squeeze it, you can flatten it. How easy it is to flatten will depend on the type of thread you used, but even with stiff thread like Fireline, your tube bead will still need support.
I find that Miyuki size 8/0 beads fit perfectly into these tubes. They are snug and need a little pushing, but they keep the beads tubes perfectly round. You can use any beads that fit inside the tube as filler.
A lot of people like to use plastic beads because they are lighter. For small tube beads like these, I don't think it matters, but if they are larger that is definitely an issue. Another option is to cut a piece of plastic straw slightly shorter than the tube bead, slit it down the middle and roll it tighter so it fits inside the bead.
Push the filler into the bead. For me, I put the beads on the headpins as shown in the picture and gently pushed each bead one by one into the tube. After feeding in about five beads, I pulled out the headpin with beads and repeated from the other side of the tube. Since the fit is snug, it was easier to do it this way then try and move all the beads in place from one side.
Start an Open Loop
Add the beads to a 1.5-inch long headpin. Make an open loop by bending the end of the headpin at a ninety-degree angle just above the last bead.
Complete the Open Loop
Use your round nose pliers to grasp the end of the headpin and roll it into a loop. You may need to do one as practice to find the right area on your round nose pliers to get the right-sized loop. If your loop doesn't close all the way or leaves too much of the headpin exposed, just cut it below the head and remove it and try again.
Spiral Tube Bead Ready for Earwire
Here is the spiral tube bead ready for an earwire. To add the earwire, bend the loop on the earwire open to the side and then add the loop for the tube bead component.
Close the loop on the earwire by sliding it back into place.
Spiral Tube Bead Pattern
Here is the pattern for the tube bead. The pattern is written assuming you will stitch from left to right and bottom to top.
Spiral Peyote Tube Earrings
Here are my completed tube bead earrings. As I mentioned earlier, I accidentally rolled the peyote bead in the opposite direction and that resulted in a mirror image bead.