I want to discuss various stitches that are used in beading. There are so many kinds of stitches that can be applied and intermixed with each other to create a variety of looks. Not all of them are easy to learn, but, if you keep trying, eventually it will all come to you, and you’ll be a beading fiend.

Ladder, Brick and Square Stitch

These three stitches are my recommendation for learning a new way to bead, first. They are the easiest stitches to learn, and they all are “building” stitches. By “building”, I mean that they create width, like a band. These stitches make great bracelets, chokers, and anklets. They also are easy to incorporate a color pattern, like diagonal lines. I’ve made several bracelets, that incorporate a flower every 5 to 7 rows. Very attractive look. If you are following instructions from an online website, these instructions are usually accompanied with step by step pics, and very comprehensive.

Peyote stitch

This is a lot more complicated, and involved, but is also one of the most popular stitches, as you can create just about any and every shape with this stitch. When look up Peyote Stitch on the internet, you will find that there are two different kinds of Peyote.

  1. Even Peyote Stitch
  2. Odd count Peyote Stitch

These can be difficult to learn at first, but if you push yourself, and keep trying, the creativity of beading, is endless. These stitches are used a lot in making earrings, or bracelets and necklaces.

Right Angle Weave

This is a stitch which uses 2 needles at the same time, with one at each end of the thread. It can be difficult to learn, and may involve involuntary punctures to your fingers while learning. However, if you can learn it, it makes beautiful pieces. There is a modern Right angle weave that requires only one needle, but, it doesn’t look as tightly put together. But, still makes fine artwork. Most people who use the modern concept, usually use embellishments added to the work, to hide the obvious gaps that using this method, leaves. However, if you want to learn this particular craft, starting with the one needle would be a great stepping stone towards learning the proper right angle weave. So, it might serve a good purpose to learn the modern approach first.

Herringbone Stitch

Also known as the Ndebele Herringbone stitch, as it is believed to have originated from the Ndebele Tribe of South Africa. It’s called herringbone, because it has double columns of bead work that resembles fish spines.

If you have ever seen tubular bracelets, or necklaces, these are made by using the Herringbone stitch. It’s a difficult one to learn, but the possibilities are endless with this stitch as well.

For the beginner, there is an easy flat herringbone stitch that begins with a row of ladder stitch to get your bead rows started. If you want to learn this particular bead art, I suggest you start with this one. Then once you get down the actual Herringbone stitch, you can start your piece in the raw form. Either way is an elegant look.

There are many other varieties of stitches, and other forms to incorporate beads. The above mentioned are just the most commonly used.

There is also bead looms, bead crochet, bead embroidery, lace beading, and the list goes on. There is 2 and 3 drop Peyote stitch, Odd count tubular Peyote, and more!

You can either buy books with instructions in them, or you can find directions online for free. There are tutorials on You Tube for all the bead stitches that you could imagine. I prefer to try finding them with step by step pictures and instructions, so that I am not constantly pausing and rewinding any videos. But, that’s just my preference. Everyone learns things their own way, and have their own preference.

I highly suggest that you start with one of the first three stitches I mentioned. They are easy to learn, and will get you started on creating a variety of pieces to offer either family and friends, or to potential clients, if you’re selling your jewelry. Once you get comfortable with those stitches, then you can try a new one.

Don’t get discouraged if it’s difficult to learn, or your piece doesn’t come out right. Try again, and again, and again if needed. The more varieties of beading you learn, the more expansion for your inventory. And the more creativity you can apply to your own designs. Don’t expect to learn every stitch overnight. It won’t happen. But, don’t quit either. Some of them just take some getting use to, as they all are different.

I hope this has been informative, and given you some knowledge as to what is available to you. You’re an artist. So, take advantage of these free tutorials and expand your horizons!

Happy beading my friends!

Machele (Shelly) VanVoorhis

Machele VanVoorhis


  1. Great article! It reminds me of all the various embroidery stitches. I studied them for a while, then got sidetracked with my websites. Your stitches just make the beads come together so prettily. I wish you the best as you keep stitching!

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