Monday, May 09, 2011

Beading Tutorial: Ropes

Bra straps covered with Ropes in alternating colors.

Here is a tutorial for one of the most used beading techniques on Bellydance costuming, The Rope.  Ropes are used to trim edges, outline designs, and add texture to your bead work. Ropes can be combined with other bead techniques to add interest to a design.

You will need:

  • Thread
  • Beading needles
  • Scissors
  • Rocaille beads, seed beads, or bugle beads
  • Tray/lid (to hold your beads)
  • Thimble (for pushing needle through thick layers of fabric, optional)

Start your Rope by threading and knotting your needle. Pull the thread up through the material where you want to begin your Rope. For this tutorial I am using Rocaille beads. Load the needle with as many beads as you like. I usually stick to 6, 8, or 10 per Rope. It doesn't matter as long as you are consistent. Slide the beads down flat against the fabric and insert the needle where the last bead rests on the fabric. This is your first Rope in a series.

Bring the needle back up approximately halfway back down the length of the Rope. In this case I used 8 beads so I counted back 4 beads and pulled the needle through the fabric only. It does not have to be perfect and you may have to try a few times to get the spacing you desire.

Reload your needle with the same amount of beads you used for the first Rope (8) and continue the process by laying the second Rope flat and inserting your needle into the fabric.

Continue laying Ropes and a twisted pattern will begin to emerge.

You can add a bumpy texture to your work by inserting the needle much closer to your starting location which causes the Rope to make a little arch and stand away from the fabric. Continue following the usual Rope technique only arch the Ropes instead of laying them flat.

It is a little hard to see in these pictures, Arched Ropes on the left and regular Ropes on the right.

An example of Ropes used to outline a flower design.

We will do much more with Ropes on the next tutorial. Have fun and Good Luck!



Lilith Noor said...

I have been all over the internet trying to track down a tutorial for this technique, and finding naught but endless jewellery-making courses.

So, so glad someone has finally posted it up, and in such a clear and concise manner as well! I know what I'm working on this weekend!

Najla said...

I love all of this, I had to learn all these things through trial and error so I'm really happy that someone finally spent some time detailing the techniques. Yippee!!!

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