Open Backed Peyote Bezel Tutorial

  • 01 of 11

    Getting Started

    For this project,you will need the following materials:

    • A gemstone or glass cabochon, no larger than 30mm round or 30mm x 22mm oval
    • 5 grams of Japanese cylinder beads in a color to match or contrast with the cabochon
    • 1 gram of size 15 seed beads in a color to match or contrast with cylinder beads and/or cabochon
    • Thread of your choice
    • Size 12 beading needle
    • Optional: size 12 sharp (short) beading needle and flat nose pliers or needle grabber

    Materials Notes:

    • It is easier in the beginning to use...MORE smaller cabochons, as this will allow you to get the "feel" of shaping the beadwork with your fingers as you stitch. Once you are familiar with the technique and have bezeled several smaller cabochons, you can stitch larger cabs up to 75mm or larger with this technique.
    • Choose a cabochon with a low dome. Cabochons that are very thick and have a high dome will be harder to stitch, and you may not be able to get the bezel to fit correctly.
    • Thread is a personal choice, but I have found that the best thread for this technique is Wildfire by Beadalon. It offers a thread-like feel with all the strength of a stiffer thread such as Fireline. Nymo is also an acceptable thread for this technique, however, because it tends to split when pierced with a needle, it does not necessarily create as strong a bezel as Fireline.
    • A size 12 sharp (short) needle can make it easier to pass through the tight spots when stitching a bezel. Additionally, a pair of flat nose pliers or needle grabber can also be of great assistance when trying to get a needle through a tight spot. However, if in doubt, don't force your needle! You may break a bead which will result in a weaker bezel.
    • This technique also works well with buttons and donuts with a flat edge.

    Resource List:

    • Gemstone Cabochons: Fire Mountain Gems or Gary Wilson Stones
    • Glass Cabochons: Beads Forever by Linda Roberts
    • Ceramic Cabochons: Artisan Clay by Kristie Roeder or Lisa Peters Art by Lisa Peters
    • Cylinder beads and size 15 seed beads: WhimBeads
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  • 02 of 11

    Pick Up the Initial Ring of Cylinder Beads

    On a comfortable length of thread (about 5'), pick up the initial ring of an even number of cylinder beads. This number will vary depending on the size of the cabochon and how tightly you stitch the bezel. The cabochon used in the photos is about 30mm x 22mm, and used a ring of 50 cylinder beads. Always make sure that you pick up an even number of cylinder beads!

    Pass needle through the first bead in the ring and pull tight. You can tie the ring of seed beads into a knot before passing the...MORE needle through the first bead, if desired.

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  • 03 of 11

    Check the Ring of Seed Beads for Fit Against the Back of the Cabochon

    To make sure that you have a sufficient number of seed beads, hold the ring up against the back of the cabochon. You should have no more than 1/8" around the outside edge of the cabochon. If your seed bead ring is too small, the bezel will not fit correctly. It is usually better to have a few extra beads than to have too few. A slightly large bezel can easily be tightened using a row or two of size 15 seed beads, but a bezel that is too tight will be impossible to fit correctly.
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  • 04 of 11

    Stitch the First Round of Peyote Stitch

    Working in tubular even count peyote stitch, stitch the first round. Keep the work flat with your fingers as you stitch, and make sure that you make the step up at the end of the round. Double check the size by holding the completed first round up against the back of the cabochon. If you have more than 1/8" of space between the edge of the bezel and your cabochon, you will need to tear the work out and add more seed beads to make the bezel larger.
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  • 05 of 11

    Stitch the Second Round of Peyote Stitch

    Stitch a second round of peyote stitch, keeping the work flat with your fingers. At the end of the round, make the step up and check the size against the back of the cabochon. With the opening of the bezel centered against the back of the cabochon, you should be very near the edge.
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  • 06 of 11

    Continue Stitching Around the Cabochon

    Continue to stitch around in tubular peyote stitch, making the step up at the end of each row. You will probably have to stitch a total of about 7 or 8 rows until the beadwork starts to show around the back of the cabochon as in the photograph. Remember to keep the work flat with your fingers.

    If some thread starts to show between beads and stitches, don't worry about it - it will mostly disappear when you cinch the bezel around the cabochon later.

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  • 07 of 11

    Fitting the Bezel Around the Cabochon

    Once the beadwork starts to show around the edge of the cabochon, you will hold the bezel against the beadwork as you stitch the remaining rounds. To make this easier, hold the beadwork and the bezel in your non-dominant hand while you stitch with your dominant hand. At this point, you can start to tug slightly as you stitch the rounds. The work will start to curl up around the edge of the cabochon.
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  • 08 of 11

    Tighten Your Tension as You Stitch

    For the next two or three rows, tighten your tension as you stitch. The peyote stitch should start to curl up around the edge of the cabochon and will eventually hold the cabochon without any assistance from you.
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  • 09 of 11

    Complete the Stitching

    Stitch one or two more rows around the bezel once it starts to come up over the top edge of the cabochon. If the work starts to buckle or warp as you stitch, you have stitched too many rows and should tear out the excess rows.
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  • 10 of 11

    Tighten the Front of the Bezel with Size 15 Seed Beads

    To tighten the front of the bezel, add a row of size 15 seed beads in a matching or contrasting color.

    If the back of the bezel seems loose, you can also add a row of size 15 seed beads using the tail of the thread and pull snugly.

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  • 11 of 11

    The Finished Peyote Stitch Bezel

    Weave the ends of the thread into the beadwork, knot, weave in a bit more, and trim thread close to the beadwork.

    Once you are finished with the bezel, you can embellish it however you desire with fringe or embroidery. Add a strap for a necklace or a couple of strands of beads on either side with a clasp for a bracelet. Smaller cabs can be turned into earrings with the addition of a small seed bead loop at the tops of the cabochons.