Just Bead It: How to Crochet with Beads
Ready to move from plain old crochet to a sparkly masterpiece? Learning how to crochet with beads can open up a whole new world! Discovering how to crochet with beads doesn’t require any special tricks. If you’ve mastered the single crochet and have some pretty beads on hand, then you’re ready. We’ve got the down-low on how to crochet with beads, including choosing your supplies plus some amazing patterns for inspiration.
Photo via Craftsy member Nezjewelry
Threading your beads
The first step for nearly every bead crochet project is to thread your beads. If you’re using a pattern, check it for instructions on supplies you’ll need. Winging it on your own? Here’s how to thread your beads, including choosing supplies:
Choosing a needle
There are many sizes of beading needles to choose from. What type of beads are you using for your project? This will determine what size needle you need. You’ll obviously need to make sure the bead will fit over the needle. For extra small beads like seed beads, I love Beadalon collapsible eye needles. These needles are flexible so that you can pull a small bead right over the eye of the needle, and the eye will spring right back into place once the bead passes.
If you prefer the bead crochet techniques with needles that are more similar to sewing needles, Beadalon also has hard beading needles that work well for beads with larger holes.
If your bead is large enough, sometimes you don’t even need a needle! Check out the chunky beaded wrist cuff pictured above — proof that any size bead can make a statement. See how large the bead holes are? The yarn just slips right through them! If this might be the case with your bead crochet project, see if you can easily string the bead without using a needle before you go through the hassle of threading.
Beads come in many different shapes and sizes. To take on the overwhelming task of choosing beads, first take a look at your yarn. Are you using a bulky yarn? Or is your yarn thin? Maybe you’re using crochet thread. You’ll need to first make sure that your beads and yarn pair well together. Keep in mind that a heavier bead may not work with a thin yarn, and a smaller bead may not work with a bulky yarn.
And most importantly, make sure it’s possible to thread the bead onto the yarn or thread before you get started. I’m totally guilty of planning a project only to find out that I can’t squeeze my thick yarn through such a small bead!
Also think about what style your bead crochet project will have. Are you going for a delicate look? If so, seed beads paired with a fingering-weight yarn might be a good idea. Check out the close up shot of Craftsy designer The Blue Brick‘s bead crochet techniques for Lisa’s Shawl above. This shawl uses a fingering-weight yarn paired with small beads to give it an elegant look that you wouldn’t get from larger, bulkier beads. And while you’re at it, go and download the pattern for Lisa’s Shawl — it’s FREE!
Threading is the first step before you even chain the foundation row. If you’re using a pattern, it will tell you how many beads to thread before you get started. However, take caution: it’s always smart to thread several extra beads in case the other beads break off unexpectedly.
Once you’ve threaded your beads, you’ll then slip them one at a time close to your hook and attach them as you crochet. A pattern will give you very specific instructions for placing the beads; however, if you’re designing on your own, you might want to think about planning ahead so that your beads are spaced evenly. Graph paper is a nice option for crocheters who need to visualize the placement.
Bead crochet patterns
Now that you’ve thought about your beads and needles, what will you make? Get inspiration from some of these Craftsy bead crochet patterns:
These beaded crochet flower dangle earrings work up quickly and make great gifts for all the gals in your life.
This summer beaded clutch uses a beaded single crochet stitch to add these fun beads to a simple clutch. The beaded single crochet stitch simply combines a regular single crochet with a bead so that you attach the beads as you go, rather than sewing them on separately after you’re finished.
The simple beaded crochet bracelets pictured above are made using slip stitches and just three rows of crochet. You’d never guess this was crochet by just looking at it, would you?