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Making Peyote Tube Beads
Peyote tube beads are so much fun to make, they are almost addictive. Although their design is simple, it is easy to vary the width and length of the tube to come up with slightly different looks.
Of course, there are also endless design and color options. Peyote bead tubes are a great way to use up small amounts of beads from other projects.
One other thing that makes peyote tube beads interesting is that they can be made with using flat peyote and then the ends zipped together or made using tubul...ar peyote stitch. This tutorial will show you how to make tube beads using flat even count peyote stitch.
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Peyote Tube Bead Materials
Peyote stitch works best with even sized cylinder beads such as Delica beads. Delicas snap together in each row and result in consistent sized tube beads. That being said, you can experiment with any beads and may be surprised with the results.
For my tube bead, I am using two colors of 11/0 cylinder beads, Fireline bead thread and a tulip beading needle. Most types of beadwork thread and types of beading needles appropriate for off-loom stitches can be used for this project.
Start by stringing... a stop bead on an arm's length of beading thread. Leave a tail at least 4 inches long so you have enough thread to add a needle and weave it in to finish the bead.
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Start the Even Count Peyote Stitch
Pick up an even number of beads for the first two rows of your peyote tube bead. I have picked up 12 beads. My finished bead has a simple pattern of a ring of different color beads on each end of the tube.
To make the same design, pick up on gold bead, ten hematite beads and one more gold bead.
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Starting Peyote Stitch
Slide the beads down to your stop bead. The stop bead is only needed for the first two or three rows of peyote stitch. It will help keep the beadwork stitch tension consistent and keep the beads in place.
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Pick Up a Bead and Begin the Third Row
As you pick up beads and add peyote stitches, the beads on the first row will separate and stack to form two distinct rows. Pick up a gold bead for the end of the third row and stitch into the second to last bead that you just strung.
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Pull the Peyote Stitch Tight
Pull the thread tight.
You may need to move the beads a little with the point of your needle to get them to stack on top of each other like you see in the picture. You may also need to push up on the stop bead as you pull the thread to keep the stop bead from moving
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Continue Peyote Stitch
Pick up a hematite bead. Skip one bead and stitch into the next bead on the prior row.
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Pull the Peyote Stitch Tight
Continue to pull each stitch tight so each bead you added stacks on top of the bead below it and the beads are pushed tight next to each other.
Continue to pick up a bead, skip a bead and stitch into the next bead for the rest of the row.
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Start the Next Row of Peyote
When the beadwork is this small, I find it easiest to work in one direction, so I turned the beadwork.
Pick up another gold bead to start the edge of the fourth row. From here on, you will pick up a bead and stitch through the next 'up' bead on the row.
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Peyote Stitch Square
Continue the peyote stitch until you have enough rows to roll into a tube. My square of peyote has 18 rows. In order to count peyote stitch rows, you can either count the number of beads on each side and add them, or zig-zag up the first and second columns of beads.
In order to zip up the square into a bead, you need to make sure that if the bottom of the beadwork has an out bead, the top has an in bead in that same column. They need to fit together the way the teeth of a zipper do.
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Zip the Peyote Ends Together
To zip the peyote ends together, curl the edges toward each other. Insert your needle into the out bead on each side of the beadwork and pull the thread through.
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Continue Zipping the Peyote Tube Closed
Continue to stitch through the up bead on each side.
This can be a tight space to work in, so it is easier if you leave the stitching a little loose and then pull it tight and together when you reach the end.
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Knot The Threads to Complete the Tube Bead
When you have finished zipping the two sides together, the working thread and tail thread will be coming out of beads right next to each other. I will usually tie them together with a small square knot. This helps keep the thread tension and the knot is usually small enough that it can be pulled inside a bead when I weave in the thread ends.
Weave in the working thread and tail into the beadwork and tie it off with half hitch knots.
Trim the thread using sharp scissors or a thread burner.
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Spiral Tube Bead Project
Now that you've learned to make tube beads, you can make simple tube bead earrings by adding beads to the top and bottom of the tube to keep the tube beads centered on a headpin.
Making the spiral design tube beads is a little bit harder than a solid color or adding a border, but it is worth the effort..