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Bugle Bead Chain
Bugle beads are often overlooked in traditional beadweaving. They can have sharp ends that cut thread, but that is easy to remedy by culling through your beads before you start beading or filing the ends smooth by using a nail file.
This easy bead chain will make you glad you took the time to dig through your bugle beads. It uses a variation of right angle weave to create a sturdy beaded chain. The chain make a beautiful necklace or bracelet, but also works well as a beaded strap for a purse... or amulet bag.
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Bugle Bead Chain Materials
The double bugle bead chain uses bugle beads and two commonly available sizes of seed beads, size 11 and size 15. You may be able to substitute different beads than the ones used here. If you use the same beads listed here, be sure to use a 6 lb thread and a size 11 or size 12 needle so it will fit through the size 15 beads.
As noted earlier, bugle beads can have sharp edges, so a strong fishing line type of thread will work better than a nylon thread. It is suggested you use, FireLine, WildFi...re, or PowerPro over nylon thread that requires conditioning like Nymo.
This project uses black bugle beads, size 11 round Toho semi glazed rainbow turquoise beads and size 15 Opaque lustered dark beige Tohos.Continue to 3 of 17 below.
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Pick Up Beads to Start
To make an 18 inch necklace, you will need two full arm spans of thread. Add a stop bead to the end of the thread, leaving an 8-10 inch tail for adding the clasp.
Pick up one size 11 bead, one size 15 bead, a bugle bead, one size 15, one size 11, one size 15, another bugle bead and another size 15 bead as shown in the picture.
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Stitch Back Through the First Bead
Pass back through the first size 11 bead you picked up. It is important that you put your needle through in the opposite direction that your needle originally went through. If you simple pass through, each beaded unit will be slightly offset and crooked from the prior one. There is an example of this later.
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Pull Thread Taut
With the thread coming out the bottom, pull taut to draw the beads into a small cluster with the two bugle beads side by side.
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Stitch Up Through the Bugle Bead
Put your needle through the the last size 15 and bugle bead that you just strung. Hold the beads so they don't separate as you pull the thread through.
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Stitch Back Down the Bugle Bead
Skip the next size 15, size 11 and size 15 beads and stitch down through the next bugle bead.
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Stitch Back Up the Bugle Bead
And one more time, skip the size 15, the size 11 and the size 15 beads at the bottom of the bead group and stitch back up through the bugle bead on the other side.
The last step is going to be to reposition your thread by going through the size 15 and size 11 beads at the top, so if it is easy to stitch through those beads in this step at the same time, go ahead and do it. It is usually easy to stitch through the size 15 beause it aligns on top of the bugle bead, but the size 11 is turned to... the side so it isn't as easy to stitch directly through it.
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Position Thread for the Next Stitch
Pull the thread taut and stitch through the size 15 and size 11 beads at the top of the unit if you have not already done so.
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Pull thread taut and align the beads. You are now in position to start the next bead unit. Be careful to keep firm tension but do not pull too hard. Even after culling and filing the bead ends, bugle beads may still have sharp edges that can cut your thread.
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Pick Up Beads for the Next Stitch
Pick up the beads for your next bead unit.
- 1 size 15 bead
- 1 bugle bead
- 1 size 15 bead
- 1 size 11 bead
- 1 size 15 bead
- 1 bugle bead
- 1 size 15 bead
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Stitch Back Through the Prior Beads
Repeat the same steps as before by stitching back through the size 11 bead from the last bead unit.
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Pull the thread to form a group with the new set of beads. Stitch up through the size 15 and bugle beads you just added, then down through the first bugle bead and back up the second bugle bead you strung in the group.
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Complete the Stitch
Pull the group so there is no loose thread showing and stitch through the size 15 and size 11 beads at top of the bead unit to position the thread to add more. Continue stitching in the same manner until your bugle bead chain is the desired length.
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Adding a Clasp
When your bead chain is long enough, pick up 5 size 15 beads, a clasp or jump ring and another 5 beads. Stitch through the size 11 bead at to make a loop. Turn the thread by going down through the size 15 bead on one side and back up the size 15 bead on the other side. Go back through the size 15 bead loop holding the clasp a couple of more times to make sure it is secure and strong.
Weave back through the bead chain tying half hitch knots periodically to secure the thread. When you are... satisfied it is secure, make a final half hitch knot, stitch through a bugle bead and cut the thread end using embroidery scissors or a thread burner.
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Double Bugle Chain Tips
A couple of tips:
Pulling to tightly on the thread may cause it to break. If it does break, undo one or two units and add a new thread in one of the units under the breakage using half hitch knots. Weave through the stitch and continue beading.
I found that in order to have the bead units fall in a straight line, it is important to pass back through the size 11 bead when joining the beads into a cluster. If you go through the bead in the same direction, the bead units will be slightly... mis-aligned like the first four in the picture. If you look carefully, one bead unit is slightly high, the next is slightly lower, the next is slightly high, etc.
The last four units in the picture are straight. The difference is minor, but noticeable.Continue to 17 of 17 below.
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Finished Double Bugle Chain
The finished double bead chain is perfect to wear alone or with a pendant. It can also be used as a bracelet chain or to hold an amulet bag or beaded purse. This is a very simple and versatile design, so be sure to try it with a variety of colors and even different sizes of beads.