Beautiful Bells
A Beading Workshop
designed by
Lydia F Borin
The Beadwrangler

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Beautiful Bells – A Beading Project

This is the most viewer requested project for the workshops at Beadwranglers.  Bells was the number one project requested via email this year.    Here are beautiful bells in more than one size beads for your beading pleasure.

These elegant bells are very easy to make and can be used as decorations, pendants at the end of necklaces and as embellishment to other artwork.    Examples are made of 11/0,  8/0 and 6/0 beads.

General Supplies
Size 11/0, 8/0 or 6/0, two colors
1 8mm bead
Silamide thread
sharps needles, size #11or #12
Bell Ringer Supplies
SoftFlex wire .014
2 crimp beads
wire cutters
crimp forming pliers

General Information
The bells begin with square stitch and then netting is worked off the square stitch.  This stitch is also known as circular loop.  After the square stitch is complete, 11 rounds of the same netting width is worked and then the last 2 rounds are increased to make the bell flounce.   Beads are strung on a piece of SoftFlex wire and brought through the bell with crimp beads on each end, one having a loop and the other an 8mm bead for the bell ringer.   SoftFlex handles the hanging bell weight and offers great strength in comparison to using thread or other fibers.   For size 11/0 beads, use single thread for beading and when the bell is finished, weave the needle back and forth through the beaded bell to stiffen the shape.  Add additional thread as needed to make the bell stand firm.  For size 8/0 and 6/0 beads, use doubled thread and when finished, go back through the bell with additional doubled thread.

Bells made of size 11/0 and smaller beads are very light weight, bells of size 8/0 and 6/0 will be heavier.    You can make smaller bells to hang with size 11/0 and even 8/0.  For size 6/0, turn it upside down and make a vase instead.  You can even layer a size 11/0 bell inside a size 8/0 bell inside a size 6/0 bell as a small sculpture.

If you are making a vase, you do not need the SoftFlex wire, crimp beads, wire cutters or crimp forming pliers.  An extra round of square stitch is added when making a vase which forms a ridge to set the vase flat.   Bells can be made with or without the added square stitch round.  With the extra round, the bell becomes flatter at the bell top and has a ridge.  The bell is rounder at the top when the extra square stitch round is left out.   Examples:  The silver bell nor the gold and silver bell have the ridge.   The red bell does have the ridge.  All vases have the ridge.

Beginners should use 2 colors to make it easier to keep track of the rounds and use the large blue and gold vase of 6/0 beads as the example to follow. Colors are identified as color 1 and color 2.  For the blue and gold vase, color 1 is blue and color 2 is gold. 

 
nested bells
Step by step instructions are provided below for making the bells along with photo images of the steps involved.   If you are new to beading, I have included basic illustrations of square stitch (circular loop) worked in the round that is actually from my basket workshop.  These illustrations are just for visual information.  The number of beads and how many added are just an example.  For exact steps and number of beads for this project, follow the instructions below.  Click here to review the Circular Loop Primer .

If  bead netting is new to you.  You can refer back to my Beadwork Samplers, Bead Netting, "Circular Flat Bead Netting," for netting basics worked in the round.  Each netting round is listed below for the netting portion  of the bell.   Use the sampler illustration as an example only for those new to beading.

top view
 
vase

Square Stitch Rounds

figure 1 Round 1/color 1 beads    String 6 beads and make a knot leaving 3" loose thread to weave back in.  (See image 1)
figure 2 Round 2/color 2 beads    Bring the needle through one of the strung beads and pull taut.  String two color 2 beads and bring the needle back through the bead the thread is coming from in the opposite direction, making a loop around that bead.   The two color 2 beads should be setting on top the one color 1 bead of the first round.  (See image 2)
figure 3 Take the needle through the next bead and repeat the  process, adding two beads on that bead.  Repeat this process around and you should have 12 beads setting on the 6 beads when finished.   (See image 3)
figure 4 Bring the needle through all 12 beads and pull taut.  The original 6 beads in color 1 will scrunch up a little.  (See image 4)
This is the 2 beads on 1 bead process.

Round 3/color 1 beads    Bring the needle out one of the 12 strung beads.  String 2 beads on each of the 12 beads and bring the needle through all 24 beads.

Round 4/color 2 beads    Round for a vase shape, forming a ridge at the bell top.  Do not use this round if you want the bell rounded at the top and no ridge.   String 1 bead on each of the 24 beads of the previous round and then bring the needle through all 24 beads.  Bring the needle through one of the 24 beads.   This is the 1 bead on 1 process.

Netting Rounds
Use the same color sequence for rounds 1 through 11, rounds 12 and 13 will include an increase of beads.

Round 1    String two color 1, one color 2, two color 1 beads, skip next 2 beads and bring needle through next bead of that round, pull taut.   A bead loop should now stick out.  Repeat this process around, stringing the same sequence of beads, skipping two beads and taking the needle through the next bead.

figure 5 At the end of this round, with the last loop of 5 beads on the thread, skip 2 beads, take the needle through the color 2 bead of the previous round and the first 3 beads of the first bead loop strung.  That means taking the needle through 4 beads after finishing the last  bead loop.    The color 2 bead is the center bead of each bead loop in the netting. (See image 5)

Round 2    There should be 8 bead loops around. The needle should be through the first 3 beads of previous bead loop and coming out of the center bead.   String 5 beads and take needle  across and through the center bead of next loop, repeat this process around. The last round looks like a ruffle, once this round is added, the netting begins to take shape.

After you have strung the 5 beads between each center bead and have 7 netting sections finished, string the last 5 beads for the for the 8th netting section.   Skip the next 5 beads (two color 1, one color 2, two color 1) and take the needle through the next color 2 bead and 3 beads of the first bead loop strung, bringing the needle through the center bead.   The netting will begin to cup up at the end.

Rounds 3 through 11    Repeat the steps for making the bead loops with five beads, skipping 5 beads at the end, taking the needle through the next center bead and then stringing 5 beads and working across from center bead to center bead.

Round 12    Increase each netting section by 2 beads, making the combination three color 1, one color 2, three color 1.  Repeat this color sequence in the bead netting sections around.  Skip 5 beads, take the needle through the next center bead and 4 beads of the first bead loop strung.

Round 13    Increase each netting section by 2 beads, making the combination four color 1, one color 2, four color 1.  Repeat this color sequence in the bead netting sections around.  Skip 7 beads, take the needle through the next center bead and 5 beads of the first bead loop strung.


Finishing Touches

Weave in the excess thread, back and forth through the bead netting until the bell is stiff.  Cut off excess thread.  If you made a vase, it is finished.  If you made a hanging bell, take out SoftFlex wire and string 1 crimp bead, 1size 8mm bead and 7 size 11/0 beads.  Take the end of the SoftFlex wire with the 11/0 beads through the 8mm bead and the crimp bead.  Pull taut.  Use a crimping tool to crimp the crimp bead.  Cut off the excess wire sticking out the end.  Now the SoftFlex wire has a crimp bead and extending below it is the 8mm and the loop of 11/0 beads attached.  From the other end string about 25 size 11/0 beads, then take the wire through the bell center and pull the wire up so the strung beads are sticking up next to the bell center where the square stitch portion is located.  The 8mm should be barely visible below the last of the netting at the wide bell opening.  If it is not, take off a few beads, leaving the number of beads that has the right effect and then stick the wire back through the bell center.  From above the bell, string 1 crimp bead and then 20 to 25 size 11/0 beads and bring the wire through the crimp bead and out.  Pull taut.  (See image 6)    Clapper Attachment

Crimp the crimp bead and cut off the excess wire.  The bell is now ready to hang.  When hanging the bell on a necklace, make sure the loop is big enough to accommodate that necklace width.  These bells look great on bead crochet garland and on bead strung necklaces.  Bells can also be made with Delicas, E beads and any other type bead as long as the bead hole will accommodate the thread.  Size 14/0 Japanese beads can also be worked as bells, however, more care is necessary with thread build up when working with size 14/0 Japanese beads.  Many small bells could be worked on a beaded necklace or garland or combined with larger beaded bells.


Color Combinations: You can work the whole bell in one color or a bead mix, more care will be required as you step from one round to another because you do not have a contrast center bead in the netting as a guide.  For a very beautiful combination, make one round of the netting one color and the next another.  I made one bell with matt green rainbow and the next Montana blue silver lined and alternated the rounds with those colors making an attractive bell.  You can also make each round a different color, starting with a light color and working down to dark or vice versa, or work them like a color wheel as you work down.  Experiment with a variety of colors for unique effects.  Bells in white pearl beads would make a stunning addition to the bride's corsage.  A group of red bells hanging on the outside of a valentine gift would be a delight.  One or more bells of green and red or gold and silver make great holiday gifts.  Bells of  black or mixes of black beads would be romantic and mysterious.  No matter what color or combination you choose, it will be an enjoyable experience.

 

This design is the property of Lydia F Borin and is for personal use only. No part of this project may be used as part of another project, magazine article, book or other printed or electronic publication without the written permission of the owner.  For further information contact lydia@beadwrangler.com

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