How to Make Beaded Amulet Bags

Written by katherine kally
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Throughout history, beaded amulet bags have been made and worn by Native Americans to carry herbs and other natural substances, primarily for medicinal uses. Today's bead artists make beaded amulet bags to wear as jewellery with the added benefits of a pouch. Amulet bags are small enough to wear around your neck, often falling close to the wearer's heart. There are many ways to bead an amulet bag. Techniques include working a tubular peyote stitch or an even count peyote stitch to make the desired size of the bag.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Waxed beading thread
  • Beading needle
  • Size 11/0 seed beads in 2 colours
  • Jeweller's glue

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  1. 1

    Thread 24 inches of waxed beading thread through the beading needle. The even count peyote stitch works on a single strand, so do not double the thread. Pull the thread through the needle until the loose end is about halfway down the length of the working thread. As you bead, the loose tail will become your working thread.

  2. 2

    Thread 50 size 11/0 seed beads in one colour, colour A. Slide the beads to within 6 inches of the end of the thread. Bring the tail of the thread to the top of the bead strand and tie a double overhand knot to form a circle of beads. Insert the needle through at least four beads in the circle so that the knot disappears.

  3. 3

    Pick up a different colour size 11/0 seed bead, colour B. Skip a bead in the circle and insert the needle through the second bead from the one where the needle exits. Continue to work your way around the circle, adding a B bead, skipping a bead and passing through the second bead over. When you've come full circle, step up to the next row by passing your needle through the last A bead on the circle and through the first B bead that you added.

  4. 4

    Pick up another B bead and pass the needle through the next B bead. Notice that you are filling in a space left from the last row that you made. Continue to work around the circle, adding a B bead and passing through the next B bead. Step up when you reach the end of the circle.

  5. 5

    Create the next row with A beads, adding a bead to fill the space, and then passing the needle through the next B bead. You are actually following the same pattern as you did in Step 3, but the beads you are skipping appear lower than the row you are beading. Continue around the circle, adding beads, skipping the next one to fill the space, and then passing your needle through the next B bead.

  6. 6

    Continue stepping up to make circular rows to the desired height of your beaded amulet bag. Alternate a different colour for each row. Finish by working the thread back down into the beading.

  7. 7

    Close the bottom of the amulet bag by stitching the beads together across the bottom row. A simple in and out stitch will work to connect the beads together, but work your way back and forth across the bottom several times to make sure that the bag seam is strong. Tie a knot to the tail left over from the first circle. Cover the knot with jeweller's glue.

  8. 8

    Thread the beading needle with another 24-inch strand of waxed beading thread, single strand. Add one seed bead, any colour, and slide it to within 2 inches of the end of the strand. Pass the needle around and back through the bead several times to secure the bead on the strand. This bead is a stopper bead.

  9. 9

    Insert the needle through the top two beads inside the amulet bag on the vertical row at the side. Pull the thread until the stopper bead stops against the inside of the amulet bag. Add as many seed beads as you like to the thread in order to make the desired length of the necklace, or handle, of the bag. End by inserting the needle back down through the first few vertical beads on the opposite side of the amulet bag. Add another stopper bead inside the bag to secure the strand.

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