Introduction: Learn Beadweaving (Brickstitch) With a Beaded Earring Tutorial

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Many Native American and other heritages are rich with fine woven beadwork. This tutorial teaches a stitch called Brickstitch, which can be used to make everything from these earrings to more elaborate shapes. Start by practicing these instructions, and soon you'll be able to make so many beautiful beaded items.

Materials you will need:
  • Beading needle
  • Seed or Delica beads in the colors of your choice
  • Beading thread: either pre-waxed, or waxed with a lump of beading wax. Alternatively, I have heard waxed dental floss may work well, though I haven't tried it.

Step 1: Preparation and Start

Cut approximately one yard of thread; wax if necessary by pulling the thread over the wax. Thread needle.

Thread 7 beads on thread, as shown in Picture 1.

The beads should fall like on Picture 2 on the thread. Let them fall to about halfway down the thread.

Step 2: Up and Over

Now bring the needle back under and through the top bead, as shown. Pull it taut.

Step 3: And Again

Bring needle under bottom of next bead on thread. Pull it up through. It should wind up next to the first bead, as shown in this diagram.

Step 4: Finish the Row

Continue to the end of the row. It should end up like this, only with the thread more taut. Don't worry if the row isn't perfectly even; it should even out as you add rows, and it will also get better with practice.

Step 5: Start Row 2

Now pick up a bead with your needle and let it slide down the thread. Bring needle under the thread bridging the last two beads, then up through the bottom of the bead you just added. Pull taut; it should wind up like this diagram.

Step 6: And Again!

Do the same with the next bead.

Step 7: Finish Row 2

Now complete the second row the same way.

Step 8: More Rows

You now know enough to complete the top part of the earring to this point. Just keep on going.

Step 9: Loop-de-Loop

Now we will make the loop for attaching the earring. Pick up six beads with your needle.

Bring the needle down through the right top bead, then back up through the left top bead. Run the needle and thread on this loop several times for strength. The loop is shown, but the thread shouldn't show on your earring.

Step 10: Tie Off the Loop

Bring needle down through next bead. Then bring it under a thread connecting any two nearby beads. Run around and through loop to make a small knot; pull it tight, but not too hard. It should disappear into your weaving. Run the needle through more beads at an angle to the bottom; pull out and cut this thread.

Step 11: Upside Downsy

Turn earring upside down, and thread needle with the trailing thread. Add bead as you did in Step 5.

Step 12: Bead Up the Other Half

Continue beading until the earring is finished. Run thread through beads and tie off, as in Step 11. Thread will run through center of beads like in the path shown in this picture, though the path doesn't have to be the same as this. Again, the thread won't show. The knot should again disappear into the weaving.

Step 13: Finished!

Your earring is finished! Now make another, or use this one as a pendant.

Step 14: What's Next

Once you have mastered this, you can move onto more advanced techniques. Each of the designs below is an original design I made with this stitch as the starting point. You are only limited by your imagination to create a multitude of beautiful designs. Use the idea of a pixel as a bead, and bead-weave your pixelated object. I used bead paper to draft my designs. This site has a variety of bead graph paper you can download and use for free.

Enjoy, and please post your creations here!