How To: Native Beadwork Lanyard

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Things You'll Need

  • Seed beads

  • Felt fabric

  • Beading wire

  • Scissors

  • Superglue

Native American beaded lanyards feature flat weaving and colorful patterns created by the beads. Unlike contemporary macrame Native American beaded lanyards aren't meant to hold things. They're usually chokers, bracelets, earrings or patches for vests and moccasins. You can make some yourself to embellish an old pair of jeans or a beloved jacket.


Step 1

Arrange your seed beads in a Native American pattern on a piece of felt. Your design should be flat and square around the edges. The pattern itself should be geometric with some arrows and lots of blocked colors. You may edge the pattern in colors or stretch the pattern out to the edges of the piece.


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Step 2

Cut a piece of beading wire about six times longer than your lanyard will be. To make a 6-inch lanyard, for instance, you need a 3-foot piece of beading wire.

Step 3

String the first row from your seed bead pattern onto the center of your beading wire. String the second row onto the left side of the wire backwards. It must be backwards or your pattern will not turn out the way you want.


Step 4

Fold the second row of beads to the right so it lies parallel and below the first row of beads. Slide the right side of the wire through the row of beads to the left.

Step 5

Continue adding rows of beads this way until you reach the end of your pattern. Feed any extra wire back into the last row of beads and secure the wire with superglue.


You don’t just have to make straight, rectangular patterns with your Native American lanyards. Try making diamond patterns by stringing a rows of two, three, four and five beads, one right after the other. Subtract a bead from each subsequent row until you’re back down to two, then bring it back up to five.



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