How to read 

beading patterns

Beading is an artwork that has been explored by people for centuries. If you ever visit a museum you will see all the beautiful beading artwork of old, carefully preserved in glass cases. The intricate work might just make you want to dip your toe in the beading pond as well. You go out, get yourself the essentials like threads, needles, and an assorted variety of seed beads. All you have to do now is put the thread through a needle, and then the needle through the beads and you're basically on your way, aren't you? Well, on the surface, yes, but it might include understanding a few steps more. While you might have been lured into the craft of beading as a hobby, it is not an easy task to transform the tiny little beads into a piece of art.

Creative beadwork can be used to create handbags, jewelry, coasters, and various other crafts. Seed beads are available in various different shapes, sizes, materials, and colours, which gives you a huge opportunity to unleash your creativity. The amount of time you need can vary based on your expertise, or the size of your project. If the beadwork is intrinsic, it can take weeks and months to get it done.

One of the most important things you need to know if you plan on getting into this craft is how to read beading patterns. If you want to create beading jewellery, knowing how to read beading patterns is a must. They come with their own set of instructions, including photos, as well as step by step diagrams. The instructions given are as detailed and informative as possible, but if you are still struggling to understand them, know that you’re not the only one. Getting into a new craft can be a daunting and confusing process. Lots of people go through the same problems that you do. So in order to understand beading patterns better and make it a little easier, we’ve got some tips right here.

Know yourself

Most of the instructions given are in a written format. But if you cannot understand them and are unable to follow them, you are definitely not to be blamed. Especially, if you’re new at this. If you are a visual person, you might find understanding beading patterns through video much easier.

So you might choose to go down the video tutorial route rather the written articles one. You can find these tutorial videos in a number of sites including, Youtube, Interweave, Craftsy, and Skillshare.

Clear instructions



Before you assume that you are the dumb one because of your inability to understand the instructions given, make sure that the problem does not lie with the instructions themselves. There are a few questions you need to ask yourself like are the beading patterns created by people that you have earlier encountered and understood, but you fail to understand anymore? Were the patterns put together by someone who is familiar to you?


Checking for reviews is also a great way to know if there are others like you who are left in the dark because of these videos, plus what did they do to understand it better. Etsy is a pretty great place to read reviews and get to know people's experiences before you invest in it. You should also check if they have different ways in which to help you understand the instructions better like diagrams and pictures that portray a step by step guide to putting together that pattern. You might want to read up on it before starting your seed beads project to know if the pattern is right for you. 


Opt for the materials that are recommended


The patterns will have a whole list of materials required. They might also have specific details that you should make sure you follow to get the best results. For example, if bugle beads are recommended it is better to opt for those instead of say seed beads, as they will give you better results. Using seed beads in such circumstances can also give you a finished product, but the look will be quite different. In addition to this, if you choose to change the design in any way, the tutorial you’re following might not be applicable anymore. If you’re unable to find the seed beads required, you can approach the designer for help in finding it. In case it is unavailable or you cannot getit anymore, the designer could also help you find different beads that might still go well with your pattern, plus direct you to the place where you could buy other materials as well. 

Inclination is important


The inclination is an aspect of beading that is rarely talked about. It is however one of the most important elements of beading, a step most beginners are bound to trip up on. If you’re trying your hand at a new pattern, you might want to take note of the inclination that the person in the tutorial holds their work. Imitate the exact way they’re holding the work when they're beading it. In addition to this, you might also want to sew and put your needle through your beads in the exact way as demonstrated in the tutorial, so as to get similar results. This might seem unnecessary to you, but they have great effect on the results, plus it will help you eliminate massive amounts of confusion later on. If you want your beading work to look exactly like the one demonstrated in the tutorial, abiding to the right inclination is the way to go.


Know your skill level


It is important to know at what point you are starting, as it gives you an added advantage in knowing which videos or beading tutorials to go for. Are you a beginner or an expert? Is your level of experience restricted to successfully weaving the thread through a needle, or can you do a number of stitches successfully? You might want to take a look at the skill level mentioned that is required to finish the pattern in the tutorial. Just in case it is not mentioned, you might need to find out. 


One of the best books available for beginners who are interested in learning to make beading projects is Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber. There is a detailed glossary that really helps you to understand all the terminology and also detailed instructions for specific techniques that you will need to know. She also provides a load of beading patterns too for you to try. 

When you first begin learning any skill, it might be tempting to skip the basics and jump to the more intricate patterns as they always seem way more fun. But this is not advisable. If you're a beginner, steer clear of advanced patterns. The creator of the tutorial will not start from the ground up, but just assume that you know the basic steps already and jump ahead. This will not only stop you from getting the desired results, but will also be discouraging. So know your level, and stick to starting from the bottom to reach the top.