Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Bracelet a Week: Bugle Beads

Egyptian Inspired Bugle Bead Palette

Before I share this week’s bracelet design, I have a beading confession to make. I am terrified of bugles. Or at least I was before I tackled this project and faced my fears.

Since I started bead weaving, my experiences with bugles have not been ideal. I had begun to think of them as evil little beads that would cut even the strongest of threads at the first available opportunity. Some part of me knew that these disasters were mostly caused by the fact that I was using the most dangerous breeds of bugles - silver-lined Czech glass of questionable quality. You can actually see the razor-like glint on the edges of those beads.

I have been avoiding bugles for anything but stringing for a long time, knowing that I was missing out, since there are plenty of beadweavers using bugles with success. It wasn’t until I decided to explore different Egyptian beading possibilities that I decided to give bugles another chance.

The first step was to purchase some bugles that would be gentle on threads. I chose matte and opaque colors that would fit in with my Egyptian palettes - nice smooth edges all around.

At first I thought I would make something with all three of the colors I had picked: matte blue raku, jet and cream. But as I sat down to plan out a design, I realized that two colors were better than three.

Egyptian Turquoise Bugle Bead Cuff

I needed to choose a stitch that wouldn’t put the thread and bugles too close together. I wanted stripes and neat rows of bugles, so ladder stitch seemed like an obvious choice. But since I wanted parallel rows of bugles, with protective seed beads in between, I had to think of something else. Two stacks of tall beads just wouldn’t be sturdy enough with ladder stitch.

Instead, I went with square stitch. If you think about it, square stitch is really just an elaborate variation of ladder stitch, where rows go up and down as well as side to side. It gave me the shape I wanted for the bracelet, and plenty of strength to hold the piece together.

The bracelet turned out better than I had hoped. Even more important: I have rediscovered the beauty of bugles. I can’t wait to design with them again!

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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  1. Great bracelet! I think you were right, two colors looks perfecgt!

  2. HI:-)
    Very nice idea!Also simple enough and the effect is miraculous!
    Best Greetings-Halinka-

  3. Your bracelet is lovely! I've made similar ones using bugles and embellishing the edges with picot and embellishing the middle with Swarovski sew on stones. I've also used bugles in combo with liquid silver for great color effect in necklaces. Have ~FUN~ with your bugles :D

  4. I must confess, I too am moderately terrified of bugles. They are just flat out scary (so scary, I even bought Kevlar thread for them) However, they're beads, and I can't keep away from them forever. I might have to give them another chance :)


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