3D Beading Instructions

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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3D Beading Instructions
Three-dimensional beading project. (Beaded flower image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com)

Three-dimensional beading projects can look difficult. Often you will see small animals, flowers or objects made entirely of beads. While each project is somewhat different in colour of beads and the actual pattern, underlying the differences is a fairly simple beading principle. Once you see how the basic three-dimensional form is made, it will be much easier to follow the patterns people offer for free online and make the designs you want. You will also be able to invent your own unique designs and share your patterns with others.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Seed beads
  • Fishing line
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Buy an assorted package of seed beads. Seed beads are the small, inexpensive beads that are used in most bead work. Purchase transparent beading cord or fishing line. Do not use wire. When you try three-dimensional beading with wire, you quickly discover that your animals or objects look flat.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of beading cord 16 inches long. In most cases, your cord will be much longer than this in order to bead your entire project.

  3. 3

    Pick up five beads on your cord. Bring the beads to the centre of the cord. Thread one end through the last bead on the other side of the cord. Pull on both threads, and you will have formed a small bead circle. This bead circle is the basis for all three-dimensional beading. Your next step would be to pick up five more beads.

  4. 4

    Look at your original circle of beads. Skip the bead next to where your cords emerge and thread your new beaded cord through the next bead over. Pull your cord tight. Pick up four beads on your other cord. Your cords are now going to share beads. Bring your cord through the first bead the other cord picked up. Thread the cord through the bead you skipped in the original circle and back up through the last bead the first cord picked up. Pull tight.

  5. 5

    Alternate your cords as you move around your original circle of beads. As you can see, each cord will go through the first and last bead of the new circles being made, and each cord will go through one bead on the bead circle of the row before it, skipping one bead. Once you complete your original circle, your two cords will be facing away from each other on the outside of a larger circle. This circle will naturally try to form into a ball.

  6. 6

    Modify your basic pattern by only completing part of your original circle. This might happen when you are making a purse shape. Add different colours and sizes of beads to indicate eyes or other features. Because the objective is to make three-dimensional forms, the circle pattern works well because it will naturally curl.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with simple patterns first until you understand how to expand and contract your pattern to get the form you want. Make legs and other features using bugle beads in rows.

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