How to Make Native American Bead Designs

    CRAFTS CLASSES
    TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY
    by Katherine Kally

    About the Author

    Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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    Many Native American bead designs are constructed using a peyote beading stitch. If you know this simple stitch, you can create a variety of bead designs including pictorial wall art, purses, pouches, belts and headbands. Peyote stitch beading typically uses size 10 and 11 seed beads available in a variety of colors at your local craft store. You can find free beading patterns from online resources to create a variety of designs with the peyote stitch.

    Things You'll Need

    • 2 colors of seed beads
    • Beading needle
    • Waxed beading thread
    • Scissors

    Cut a 2-foot length of waxed beading thread and thread your needle. Leave an 8-inch tail from the needle. Thread on one seed bead to the end of the thread. Insert your needle around and back through the seed bead to secure it on the thread.

    Thread on seven more beads the same color as the first. You now have eight beads in your first row. Consider them numbered from one to eight, with eight being the last bead you added.

    Thread on one different colored seed bead. This is the first bead on your second row. Insert your needle back through bead seven on your first row, or the second bead from the end of your first row. Pull the thread taut so that the last bead you added sits atop bead number eight in the first row.

    Add another bead and insert your needle through bead number five on your first row. Pull the thread taut so the second row of beads sits above the first row. Add another bead and insert your needle through bead number three on the first row. Pull the thread taut. Add another bead and insert your needle through bead one on the first row.

    Add a bead the same color as the beads on your first row. This is the first bead on your third row. Insert your needle through the last bead you added to the second row. Add another bead and insert the needle through the next bead on the second row.

    Continue to add one bead and feed the needle through the beads on the second row, one bead at a time. When you reach the end of your third row, add a bead the same color as the beads on your second row and repeat the process outlined in Steps 5 and 6. Continue practicing the stitch with alternate colors until you are confident that you can follow a colored pattern to create Native American designs. If you run out of thread, add another strand by tying a knot. The knot will disappear into your beadwork.

    Find a color pattern design that you like online, in beading books or other written material. Peyote stitch patterns are visual, not written. The patterns correspond to different colors of beads that you add during the course of working the peyote stitch. Each time you add a different colored bead, you create a design in the pattern.

    • After mastering the flat stitch, move on and learn tubes and circles.