Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Cap and Finish Herringbone Ropes

When it comes to creating beadwork jewelry, it’s the little details that can make or break a piece. Finishing designs - adding fringe, clasps, and other components - is just as important as the main beadwork stitches, color choices, and focal elements that make up a whole piece.

Capped Herringbone Rope with Button Clasp

Recently a reader asked about my finishing technique for herringbone ropes. I use tubular herringbone for necklace and bracelets quite often, and with a metal-free approach, adding clasps requires a little extra stitching. This is the most common technique that I use to finish a rope with a smooth transition to a button or toggle clasp.

How to Cap a Herringbone Rope with a Round Bead

Druks are my favorite beads to use at the ends of a rope, but you can use other beads that match the rest of your design, so long as they can handle multiple thread passes. Freshwater pearls and crystals aren’t recommended, but just about anything else goes. You could also skip the picot embellishment and use disks or other bead shapes that cover the ends of the rope.

Start by weaving a dummy round at the end of your herringbone rope to connect the final stitches together - weave through the top row as usual, without picking up any beads. Exit from the top of the rope, and pick up 3 seed beads in the same size as your main beadwork. They can be matching, or use contrasting colors for extra interest.

How to Add Picots to Tubular Herringbone How to Embellish a Herringbone Rope

Stitch down through the next bead in the rope end, and pull snug to form a picot. Repeat all the way around the tube until each pair of herringbone columns is covered with a picot.

Stitch down about a centimeter into the rope and exit through a bead. Pull your thread snug, then needle into the rope, under the beadwork threads, and exit from the center of the tube. Do not pass through any beads, and be sure not to snag any threads with your needle.

How to Cap a Herringbone Rope How to Finish a Herringbone Rope How to Add a Clasp to Tubular Herringbone

Pick up your cap bead, and slide it down to the beadwork, testing the fit. It should not be small enough to slip inside the rope, and not so large that it doesn’t fit neatly into the picots.

Add your clasp beads as desired, and pass back through the cap bead, and into the center of the rope. Exit between two herringbone beads, a few rows down. Pull snug, then check the fit and length of your clasp to make sure you’re happy with the work before you continue.

Herringbone Rope Clasp Tutorial Secure a Clasp to Herringbone Rope How to Embellish Herringbone Rope

Stitch down through a few beads in one herringbone column to secure the thread. Stitch up through the following column, leaving a little space between your stitch and the end of the rope, then pull snug. Pass through the center of the rope and stitch around your clasp again to strengthen. Stitch down into the rope, and secure the thread within the herringbone rope again.

Stitch up through the beadwork, and exit from the picot ring at the end of the rope. Weave through the picots again with a dummy herringbone stitch to tighten them around your cap bead. Add a single seed bead between each picot if desired - this gives a pretty crown shape to the embellishment.

Crown Picot Embellishent Tutorial Adding a Cap Bead to Tubular Herringbone

When you’re happy with the cap, weave in your thread and trim, then embellish the other end of the rope.

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  1. Oh thank you sooo much! I just made a herringbone rope bracelet and tried to embellish the ends the way you do, my result looks almost same but the stitches were a lot difficult.

    Now I'll follow this tutorial and hopefully I'll get better results! Thanks again!

  2. This is great, Morti. I love herringbone and this a great technique that I'll be using for sure! Thanks.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I'm learning how to bead and your blog Ihas been an amazing resource. The books that I have came highly recommended and are in fact very good, but your blog is better!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! You're always welcome to share your creations or beading questions on the Facebook page.

  4. There are not words to thank you for this very helpful tutorial. I love your ideas and it gives inspiration for new ideas.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I'm glad that you found it helpful.

  5. Can you give me some suggestions on how to finish tubular pearl netting? I've made a bracelet but I have no idea how to finish the ends!

    1. Once you've finished the final row, you can use a technique similar to the herringbone one, weaving from inside the tube to secure the beads. You could also string your netting onto beading wire and use crimps to attach additional accents and a clasp.

  6. Do you have a tutorial on how to make the pretty beaded button you show on the other end of the beige herringbone bracelet?

    1. Hi, Terri. I do have a compilation tutorial that features all of my favorite beaded clasps. You can find it in my shop here:


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