Monday, May 9, 2011

Beading Tutorial: Nepal Chain Stitch

Nepal Chain Beadwork

Nepal chain is an incredibly easy beading technique, perfect for bracelets and delicate necklace straps. It’s also an excellent bead weaving technique for beginners, providing a beautiful but simple piece of beadwork that works up quickly. A basic understanding of tension and working with beading thread is all you need to master this stitch.

The technique itself isn’t very versatile - there isn’t much room to change up the beads or add embellishments. But you can create a lot of different looks by changing the bead colors and patterns. You can start with a simple flower palette, or experiment with unique looks by using different colors for the vines or petals.

To weave a Nepal chain strap:

Attach a stop bead to a comfortable length of beading thread, and pick up 3 vine beads and 5 petal beads. Slide them down to the stop bead.

Pass back through the 3 vine beads, and pull the thread snug. The petal beads should form a round cluster at the top of the stack.

To step up, pass back up through the top 2 vine beads and pull snug.

Nepal Chain Tutorial Nepal Chain Stitch

Pick up 3 new vine beads, and 5 petal beads. Slide them down to the beadwork. Pass back through the 3 vine beads and pull snug to form a new flower cluster with the petal beads.

This time when you step up, you will pass through only the 5th petal bead from the previous stitch. This is the one closest to the new stitch, at the center of the chain. Pull the thread snug.

How to Weave Nepal Chains Nepal Chain Stitch Tutorial

As you work, press the beadwork along the center each time you add a new flower, to keep the chain from twisting. Strong tension is important, since there are natural gaps between the stitches. Make sure to pull your thread snug and keep the beads as tight together as possible to minimize the gaps and achieve a neat beadwork chain.

Nepal Chain Stitch Flower Chain Beading Tutorial

Beading Nepal Chains

Pick up 3 vine beads and 5 petal beads, and repeat the previous stitch, stepping up through the 5th petal bead from the previous flower. The chain works in a zig-zag pattern, with new flowers alternating from side to side.

You can finish the chains just about any way that you wish. To make my Nepal chain bracelets, I added the loop half of the clasp at the working end, and mimicked the step up stitch to secure it to the beadwork with a more natural look.

Nepal chains would also make interesting fringe or dangles. You could finish off the top of the chain by adding the last flower, then weaving all the way through the previous one instead of stepping up to add a new stitch.

Nepal Chain Bracelets
Win These Bracelets

This technique is so much fun to work with - like a daisy chain, only more interesting. Once you’ve got the sequence down, stitching is a breeze.

Happy beading!

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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  1. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial! Lots of ideas for it already :)

  2. This is so pretty! Perfect for Spring-themed jewelry :D

  3. I love to do that stitch, it's perfect for a little girl's bracelet!

  4. Thanks so much for this! I can't wait to try it.

  5. Hmm... I've got a different, free internet pattern for a Nepal Chain --I believe a bit more difficult than this one. I don't have time to search for it at the moment, but when I get a chance I'll look. If I can find it, I'll post it here. It's a great pattern (as is yours!); I know I used it for a bracelet way back when I was starting beading, which might be one reason I think of it as more difficult!

  6. i love how this looks! thanks for the tutorial with such easy to follow instructions and pics. this is definitely on my to-do list this month.

  7. I knew you would be so sweet as to show us all how to work this sweet stitch! What do you think of a necklace in it?

  8. The shape doesn't quite work for a necklace. It's very similar to double St. Petersburg, and a single chain would have an unattractive twist in it if worn as a necklace.

    But, I think it could be done with two chains connected into a V. Perhaps use both tail ends to suspend a pendant - that could look really cute!

  9. Found you from Craft Gossip. Great tutorial, I am not a beader but I might give this a try!

  10. I definitely recommend it as a first-time stitch. It doesn't require much commitment, but you get a really cute design in return!

  11. At first glance, this looks so difficult, but your instructions make it seem very easy. Thank you for sharing; I can't wait to try it out myself!

  12. I was thinking - is there any way to make the Nepal chain meet in a V shape? That's how I make St. Petersburg chain necklaces.

    I'm taking this as a challenge for myself. I have to find a way to use the Nepal chain as a necklace and in multiple layers. Also with embellishments. Just to see if I can.

    Inspirational Beading lives up to its name. ^_^

  13. Thank you so much for a wonderful tutorial! I hate having any thread on the outside of any of my beads so to start the first "flower" , rather than passing down through the 3 vine beads and then back up through the top two, I added the 3 vine beads, the five petal beads then just stitched down the third vine bead(the one closest to the first petal bead, pulled tight and from there, started the next "flower" with adding 3 vine beads and 5 petal beads and proceded as in your tutorial. By starting this way, there is no thread wrapped on the outside of the first bead in my chain.

  14. What a great idea, Cindy! I know what you mean about exposed thread. This sounds like a great way to start the stitch!

  15. I Love them, what great gifts they will make. Have you considered a tutorial for the flower buttons used to close them? They really make the bracelet...

  16. I have a basic tutorial for beaded buttons with two variations, although it does not include the scalloped edge show in these bracelets. You can check it out here:

  17. Looks so pretty & very easy to make too!! Got this from bling buzz...will definitely try this one!!

  18. I am making this right now. At first I had to take it apart a few times. There is always a learning curve. It is looking very pretty.


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