Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beading Tutorials: Peyote Tube Beads

Peyote Stitch Beaded Beads

Making beaded beads is a skill that most bead weavers hope to develop. There’s something so exciting about creating your own unique components using your favorite beads. The easiest and most logical place to start is with peyote tube beads.

These simple and versatile beaded beads are very easy to make once you get the hang of flat peyote stitch. The best thing about them is that you can adjust the size of your beads simply by increasing the number of peyote rows and columns. They are great for mixed media designs that use wide cords and fibers, like hemp macramé.

To make a basic peyote tube, start by weaving a panel of even-count peyote:

Peyote Stitch Tutorial

Cut a comfortable length of beading thread, and string on a stop bead, leaving a 6 inch tail. Stitch up through the bead again and pull the thread tight to lock the bead in place. Peyote stitch relies on a sturdy stop bead, so if it’s too slippery, try adding a second stitch.

Pick up an even number of seed beads, and slide them down to the stop bead. These beads will make up the length of your peyote tube.

Peyote Stitch Tutorial

Flip the thread so that the stop bead is facing away from you. Pick up one seed bead. With your off hand, hold the first strand of beads gently with your thumb and forefinger, with just enough room to needle through.

Skip over the last bead strung, and stitch through the next bead in the strand. Gently pull the thread snug, while holding the beadwork, until the new bead clicks into place. Your bead strand should now have a little ‘foot’ of two beads, side by side.

How To Even Count Peyote Stitch

Pick up one seed bead. Skip the next bead in the stack, and stitch through the following bead. Pull the thread snug. Continue adding one bead at a time to every other base bead, until you exit the other end of the stack. Don’t worry if the beadwork seems to be curving a bit. It will straighten out as you complete the next two rows.

Flip the beadwork again, so both threads are facing you. Pick up one seed bead. Stitch up through the first raised bead - the last bead added in the previous row. Pull the thread snug, so the new bead clicks into place.

Even Count Peyote Stitch

Continue adding a new bead between each raised bead, and exit from the other side of the beadwork. Add each new row with the same method, until your panel has reached the desired width. Periodically roll up the sides of the panel to see how wide your beaded bead is.

A Strip of Flat Peyote Stitch

The sides of the panel must be even to continue. Your peyote strip is finished when the working thread exits from the opposite side as the tail thread.

To zip up the sides of the panel, hold the beadwork in your off hand, with the working thread facing your stitching hand. Gently fold up the sides of the panel so that the edges meet. You should be able to see how the “up” beads alternate on either side, like interlocking teeth.

How to Zip Up Peyote Stitch

Stitch through the first raised bead on the opposite side of the panel as the working thread, and needle through the following raised bead on the first side. Gently pull the thread snug.

This zipping motion follows the same thread path as your previous stitches, but instead of using loose beads, you are using those already in the beadwork.

Zipping Up Peyote Stitch

Continue this zig-zag motion across the gap in the tube, two beads at a time, until you exit from the opposite end.

Finishing a Peyote Tube Bead

Flip the tube so that the threads are facing you. You should be able to see the gap between the last beads in the zipped rows. Stitch up through the bead next to your thread to close this gap, and retrace the thread path along the bead tube.

Weave in both threads, and trim them as close to the beadwork as possible.
Now you have a peyote beaded bead!

Peyote Stitch Beaded Beads

Peyote tubes can be made with any bead you would normally weave with. Both 11/o seed beads and Delicas can make fantastic tube beads. Try experimenting with different patterns and colors to make your own unique components.

Happy beading!

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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  1. another great step by step! I think you really have a grasp on teaching!

  2. Thank. You. SO. Much.
    I have been beating my head against the peyote stitch wall, following every tutorial I could find and getting nowhere. Tonight, I found yours and it clicked. Thank you! :D

  3. You're very welcome! Even though peyote is one of the simplest techniques, it's also really tough to master. It took lots of practice before I made a piece that I was really happy with.

  4. Hi, great then would one use tube beads in jewellery making?

    1. You can use them just about any way that you would other tube shaped beads. They're great for stringing as accents or spacers, and for earrings. You can ladder stitch several tubes together, add them to a herringbone bridge, or include them in fringe. Nancy Zellers has an entire book devoted to making designs with beaded tubes!

    2. Great inspired me and helped me get back in beading. I do and use the tube a little differently I think. I actually bead it right around, say, a feather's been 25 years since I was doing my first is a little out of whack and certainly a long-way from being anywhere perfect...but I am not discourgaed... back then, I thought this was the hardest thing to do...and now I am learning there is a whole book that's been written on the peyote tube we grow older, we keep learning how much we don"t know, more and more and more >+< :-)

  5. Thank you for this! This is the tutorial I reference when making these.

    1. You're most welcome! I'm glad that you liked it.

  6. Worked great! I used it to bead over some cording and made a handle for my handmade needlepoint tapestry purse. Finished off a 3 year project professionally & gorgeously! Thanks, Kitty

    1. I'm glad that you liked the tutorial - and congrats on finishing your project!

  7. I have some bracelets that I adore and have been trying to figure out how to make them myself. The beads are oriented differently than the tubular peyote weave. Your method is how they were made! YEA!!!! I am going upstairs to make it your way now!

    Thank you, thank you!!

  8. I'm having hard getting started I'm confused on how to do it lol... Help!

    1. If you're just starting out with peyote, I definitely recommended practicing the flat stitch quite a bit before you try variations like zipping up. Check out the Mastering Peyote Stitch article for some tips on getting the best results from your first attempts, and just keep at it!


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