It’s absolutely amazing that little old you can sit down with a needle, thread and some beautiful beads and create a beaded net that would make a Native American proud. Bead netting is almost as old as civilization which makes it pretty darn old. But it can be as new as your next piece of jewelry. Or a stunning piece of wall art. A fashion statement sewn onto a dress or a vest.
Bead netting has been documented as embellishment on ecclesiastical clothing as far back as 1100 AD. Native Americans throughout their history have used bead netting to make ornaments, and to decorate clothing. Way back in the 1800’s, bead netting was used as adornment on head dressing made by the Yoruban people. Maybe you’re not into head dressing or ceremonial clothing (or maybe you are?) but you can still appropriate that lacy, mesh look that sparkles with beads for your own unique creations.
Make this Bead Netting Sampler
To make the sampler in the picture exactly as shown, buy these supplies from your local beading store. (Of course you can change the three bead colors for any others you like.)
Lined Dk Blue AB #086 (color 1)
Opaque Turquoise AB #164 (color 2)
Matt Black #310 (color 3)
Size A” Silamide thread in #944 Ash Gray or equivalent beading thread
Size 12 sharps or beading needles
Scissors Step 1: String 27 beads in color 1 for the beginning line, using the beading needle and thread.
Step 2: String 5 beads in color 2, then string 1 black bead which is color 3, working down. Do the exact same thing three more times going down the same row. End the row by stringing 3 beads in color 2 and 3 beads in color 1. Leave the last 3 beads in color 1 as dangles. Right above them, run your needle and thread back up through the row (through the bead holes), starting beneath the 3 beads in color 2 and ending after the 1 black bead in color 3. Bring your needle and thread out. (It seems complicated but after you do it once, you’ll have a eureka moment, and it will begin to flow.)
Step 3: Work up now by stringing 5 beads in color 2 and 1 bead in color 3, then 5 beads in color 2. Bring the needle over and through the black color 3 bead, and stake the needle through the color 3 bead in row 1 and out. Still working up, string 5 beads in color 2, 1 bead in color 3, 5 beads in color 2. Next you go sideways to the right, skipping the first 3 beads of the top horizontal beginning line and taking your needle through the next 3 and out. Now you’re ready to work down again making row 3. The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th rows are identical and so are the even number rows.
Step 4: String the third row to make it identical to the first row, working down. All the other uneven number rows will be identical too.
Step 5: String the fourth row to make it identical to the second row, working up. All the other even number rows will be identical too.
Step 6: Finish stringing the tenth row and then take the needle through the last 3 beads of the beginning top line in the opposite direction and stitch in loose thread so it doesn’t dangle. So, now you have a ten row piece of bead netting. You can frame it, sew it below the neckline of a shirt, sew it onto a clutch purse, or as mentioned before, make it into a ceremonial head dressing. (The only problem with that is coming up with someplace to wear it, unless your tribe is still having formal ceremonies.)
You can make the netting as long as you like, just by adding more bead groups to the rows. Or make it as wide as you like, by simply doubling the top beginning line. If you want to get tricky, just make the beginning line divisible by 3, with an uneven number for the total number of beads. (Just as the original is 27 beads wide, an uneven number divisible by 3.) You can change the color scheme of the netting in dozens of ways. For instance make color 1 yellow, color 2 orange and color 3 black or navy blue.
Any questions? Click on the link for more instructions and different patterns. Warning: Making bead netting is addictive.
Bead netting instructions for differnt patterns