Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to Crochet a Bead Rope

Even if you've crocheted for a long time, using beads creates a whole new dimension. Here's a little (umm...not really. I'm sort of known for being big on the details...) photo tutorial for how to crochet a bead rope.

If this is the first time you've tried this, feel free to start with larger beads strung on yarn until you get the rhythm of it. It may save your eyesight (says the woman that diligently wore reading glasses while figuring this out).

What you'll need:
Size 10 crochet thread
Small crochet hook, whatever is comfortable for you or recommended by the thread. I used a Size 7 hook that (I think) used to belong to my great-grandmother.
Size 6/0 Seed Beads (larger or smaller depending on your desired finished product)
Tiny needle or Wire needle (This will be very helpful for stringing your beads, but it is not a necessity. I'm too cheap to get the right-sized needle, so I've strung all my beads straight onto the thread. Yep, I'm a freak.)
Some sort of clasp or ribbon for your finished product.

How to:
Begin by threading the beads. It is best to start with a pattern of 6 colors repeating. This will help you as you go to make sure you're working with the right bead in your previous row. It will also create the pretty spiral pattern. My first project included 65 repetitions of my 6-color pattern, and my finished rope is 8" long. My second one was to be a necklace, so I did 150 repetitions of a (different) 6-color pattern, and the finished rope is 19.5" long (not including the clasp). For my picture examples here, I only strung 5 repetitions of 6 colors.
(Warning: Objects in photo appear larger than life)

Ch 6, sl st in first ch to create ring (the Magic Ring won't work here).

Now you'll begin to work in the beads. Insert hook in ch, YO behind the bead (see pictures below)...

...pull through ch and then pull through the loop on the hook (you have essentially done a sl st with a bead). Photo here shows just before pulling through final loop on hook.

Stitch complete: (ugh...these hands are getting embarrassing!)

You will soon see the general direction your rope will be growing (toward you), so at some point, make sure your thread "tail" is not being worked into the center of the Bead Rope. This "tail" will be helpful for attaching whatever clasp you choose to use when it is complete.

Continue with 5 remaining colors. Your first row is done.

Now that your first six beads are on, you will begin to work in what is called the Bead Stitch: the thread that is going through the bead on the previous row. You will always work with the thread inserting the hook on the LEFT side of the bead, shown here:

Then take your working thread (that has the beads on it) and draw it over the bead that is next to the hook; YO behind the next bead of the same color. This is where it is very helpful to use a 6-color pattern so that you know you are using the right bead in the previous row because it coordinates with your next bead on the working thread.

Pull through the bead stitch...

...and the loop on the hook.

One more time, now with the peach:
Insert hook to left of bead, YO behind next bead.

Pull through Bead Stitch...

...and loop on hook. Your newest bead will land on top of the previous row.

Continue until you have used all the beads you have strung (or the rope is long enough, or your eyes fail you, or you are cursing the day you attempted this...but I hope not!).

When you have crocheted on your last bead, your rope will look something like this:
Notice that the top row of beads has the hole going horizontally instead of vertically like the rest of the rows. To fix this, you'll do one final row of slip stitches.

Still insert the hook to the left of the bead...
...and pull through both loops.
Continue around for all 6 beads. Here, as I'm going through the green Bead Stitch, notice that the rose and peach beads are already vertical:

And here is your completed project!

At this point, I crocheted a couple chains and strung on my clasps on both ends so that it was nice and sturdy.

I hope this helps make a little sense of crocheting with beads! It's really fun. If I've confused a point or not explained something clearly, please feel free to ask! I'll do my best to clarify anything. And as always, if you try it out, send me pictures! =)


  1. I hope I have time to try this sometime this winter! We're leaving for a road trip tomorrow and this blog has inspired me to bring yarn and a crochet hook along!

  2. Yeah! I'm so glad!! You'll have to let me know what you make.

  3. Thats really cool! thanks for the great tutorial

  4. WOW! I am not sure if I have ever seen this before. It looks really cool. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Amazing... and such a great tutorial!

  6. I've never worked beads into my crochet, but you make it look so simple. I hate working with thread, so not sure this is something I'll attempt or not.

    Maybe I'll try the larger beads with yarn on a hat or something. I seem to be on a hat kick right now.

  7. Thanks everyone!

    Marie Anne--It's much easier to start with larger beads and yarn. I hope you try it! It would be really cute on a hat! If you end up liking it, you can go a little smaller. =)

  8. Your tutorial is an awesome inspiration! Many thanks for sharing. I would like to feature your designs at

    Contact me here if you have a concern.


  9. Mindy, this tutorial is just great. I have used larger beads in hats, baskets and scarves but somehow I've never made a bracelet or a necklace. Well, it seems like it is the time to give the bracelet a try. I'll write and let you know how it turns out, or send you a photo if it turns out good. Thanks for such an easy tutorial to use. Chat later, Molly

  10. I wonder if I could be successful making anything like this!
    You should link it up in my Handmade linky page on my blog. Then I can easily find instructions if I decide to be brave enough to take this one :)

  11. thank you sooooo much for this tutorial. I have one that is antique and broken (from the 1920's is my estimate> I dont think i will be able to repair the one I have but I am working on making one of my very own....almost 100 years later. Until I stumbled upon your blog I didnt even know how to describe how it was done or think of how it was made.thanks sooo much!I

  12. Thankyou so much for your tutorial on bead crochet :))
    I love working with beads, and can see myself making this for my all my girls.. :))

  13. I have tried making this but it ends up coming out wrong. I've done everything the directions has said but it come out wrong.
    It is hard to tell which bead is on top. I'm using 2 different colors. A purple then 2 clear, a purple then 2 clear. I start out alright then when it is time to start the 2 row, etc. it becomes uneven and hard to see which bead is on top.


    1. It will sometimes look kind of 'loose' as you are going, but each row tightens the one before. As long as you are inserting your hook into the stitch with the same color as the bead you are about to use, you are on track. Also, always make sure that your working thread is coming over the TOP of the bead of your previous row. As you get 4 or 5 rows completed and it's easier to hold it, that also helps it to keep its structure and shape better.
      You are set-up as a 'no-reply blogger' so I can't reply directly to your email, but if you are still having trouble, email me at justforthis917 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Unfortunately, I will not have access to email tomorrow (Saturday), but I will try to get back to you as soon as I'm back online.
      Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  14. Mindy you make it look so easy !! I have tried a few times...but am still determined ! Thank you VERY much for sharing this with us !

    1. Way to go! I hope it works for you.

  15. I've made this with the beads that look like white pearls and variegated cotton twine and it was stunning,,,it changed colors because of the colors in the thread and I didn't have to worry about a pattern of stringing the beads in any order,,,I used about 1500 beads and made a loooooong rope necklace and didn't have to use any kind of findings it was long enough to slip over my head...I made a lot of these over the years because the ladies in my church wanted them,,,You should try this method just once to see what a difference the variegated thread makes.

    1. What a great idea! I can't wait to try it--thanks!

  16. I made one but it got to 6 inches and it was not at all flexible. How do you get it to bend to make a necklace or bracelet?

    1. Thanks for asking! I'm so glad you've given it a try!
      I've definitely loosened my stitches over time to make it more flexible. My first ones were more stiff, but they'll still bend enough to make a bracelet or necklace. If you want it to be VERY flexible, then keep your slip stitches looser as you go rather than pulling it tight around each bead.
      Hope that helps, and if not, just ask!


I love your comments and questions! I'll reply as soon as I am able. Thanks for visiting!