How to Make Beaded Trim

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Beads are a great way to dress up clothing, housewares and crafts--but covering an entire project can sometimes be too much. Beaded trim--made separately or directly onto the item--can add a touch of whimsy or elegance without overloading the project or taking up too much time. Here is how.

Things You'll Need

  • Beads in various styles and sizes
  • Beading needle
  • Beading thread
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Graph paper
  • Markers or colored pencils

How to Make Fringe

  • Thread a needle with a long length of beading thread (fringe goes through a lot of thread very quickly), then knot one end.

  • Secure the thread to the edge of a piece of thin ribbon with a crossed stitch or two.

  • String a number of beads onto your needle and push them down to the edge of the ribbon.

  • Skipping the last bead, thread your needle back through the column of beads, coming out at the top of the column.

  • Tie a small knot along the edge of the ribbon, next to the first column of beads. Knotting between strands prevents the entire length of fringe from coming undone should one strand break.

  • Increase or decrease the number of beads per column gradually to alter the hemline of your fringe as you continue to add strands to your ribbon.

How to Make Tassels

  • Pass a threaded needle through a medium-sized bead, a large focal bead and a column of smaller beads.

  • Skip the last of the small beads, but thread the needle through the rest of the smaller beads, the focal bead and the medium-sized bead.

  • Repeat until your tassel is as full as you'd like or you run out of room in the middle of your medium or focal bead and tie off the ends of thread at the top.

How to Do Netting

  • Sketch out your netting on a piece of graph paper. This is the easiest way to see how many beads you'll need for each side of the diamond pattern and which beads act as intersections. Make a mark inside each block that represents a bead. You may find it helpful, while you're learning, to make the intersections different colors on your graph.

  • Count the number of beads needed for the first column, following the zig-zag down to the end of the first column and string them onto your threaded needle. It helps to add a bead to any hanging ends for when you make the first turn back up the net.

  • Skipping the last (extra) bead, thread the needle through the next bead of the column, and then following your pattern, add beads between that bead and the next intersection. Sharing the intersecting beads is what created the netting effect. Alternating where in the column the intersections occur is what pulls the columns apart to create the open spaces.

  • For the example given, you'd string 17 beads for the first column, then for the second column: skip the seventeenth bead, stitch through the sixteenth bead (counting from the bottom up), add 5 new beads, thread the needle through the tenth bead, add 5 new beads, stitch through the fourth bead and add three beads to finish that column.

  • Work the netting free-form to be attached to something later, or anchor the top beads of each column to a piece of narrow ribbon, spacing out the beads to encourage the netting to open up. If working free-form you may find it easier to add an extra bead to the top of the columns just as we did at the bottom.

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