Welcome to the beaded ball bracelet pattern instructions! If you have any difficulty following this tutorial, please post a comment at the bottom of the page and one of us will get to you as soon as we can.
Before you begin ...
~0.5 meters of fishing line per beaded ball
Enough elastic string to wrap around your wrist and make a knot (with a little extra to account for the beads strung)
12 to 14 beaded balls, each consisting of:
30 x size 6/0 seed beads (large seed beads) or crystals or round beads
60 x size 11/0 seed beads (smaller seed beads) - note that you can use any size seed bead that is smaller than 6/0, like 8/0 or 15/0, but 11/0 has the best contrast while providing a good ball size; the bigger the beads you use, the bigger each ball will be
Optional - one large wooden or plastic bead to insert inside your beaded ball so it becomes rigid; not necessary, but otherwise your beaded balls will be compressible if pressed on; size needed will depend on bead sizes used, but for the recommended bead sizes, a 10mm or 15mm bead should do the trick
For the earrings, you can replace the size 6/0 seed beads with 3mm bugle beads, as they will look daintier this way. You should insert a large pearl in the earring to make it look more feminine.
Time required:~5 to 10 hours in total (for the bracelet) - one advantage to using bigger beads is that the balls are bigger, so you fit less balls around your wrist (ie, saves you time)
Techniques: Beadweaving, right angle weave
Step 1: We are going to go through the steps of making one beaded ball, then I'll show you how to attach them together to make the bracelet. Start at bead 1, using fishing line, thread on beads 2 to 5, crossover threads at bead 4. This is the first bead circle of the smaller sized seed bead. Next, string a large bead (bead 6), small bead 7, large bead 8, small bead 9, large bead 10, and cross strings through bead 10. You've just made a circle of alternating bead sizes. Make sure that every alternating size bead circle in your pattern consists of 3 large beads and 3 small beads (6 beads total). Every circle of small beads should consist of 5 small beads. The entire pattern will consist of these two types of bead circles. So after crossing at bead 10, string through bead 3 with the black string (this bead is already in your pattern), and to the red string, thread on beads 11 to 14, crossover strings at bead 14. Continue in this manner (following the diagram arrows and bead numbers) until you have fully made a row of alternating size bead circles around your initial small bead circle. Cross strings at bead 25, where we will start the next row of bead circles in the next diagram.
Step 2: This step is very similar to the first one, even though it may look different in the diagram. We are still making the same types of bead circles, but in this row of beads, we are going to make 5 small bead circles, and 5 alternating size bead circles. The beads from step 1 that are no longer in use are paled out for clarity. However, some of the beads from step 1 are used again (you'll string through them). Those beads are labelled with the same bead numbers as in step 1, so look back at the first diagram to see where they are. They are beads 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 25. Bead 25 is where we are starting in this step, and it is exactly where we left off in the previous step. The bead numbering is going to continue from 25 upwards (until bead 55, the last bead in this step). So, from bead 25, we are going to make an alternating size bead circle. To the black string, add beads 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30. They are all new beads in the pattern. Cross over your strings through bead 30. Now, here's where we reuse old beads. With the black string, thread through beads 23 and 21, which are already in the pattern. Thread beads 31 and 32 onto the red string, and cross over strings through bead 32. You've just made the first small bead circle of the row. Continue beading in this manner (making an alternating size bead circle, then a smaller size bead circle) until you've completely encircled the previous row, following the diagram carefully. Cross strings through bead 55, then thread the black string through bead 53, and the red string through bead 27, both of which are in your pattern.
Step 3: This row of beads is made in a very similar way to the previous row. The diagram looks a bit different because you're starting from a small bead instead of a large one, and because we're moving upwards, which can't be shown in 2D, so I had to show it going outwards instead. But your beaded ball won't actually be getting wider at this point. It will be growing upwards. As before, there are some beads faded in this diagram because they are no longer used in this step. As well, there are some beads that are reused from the previous step, because you'll be stringing through them again. They are labelled with the same bead numbers as in the previous diagram, so have a look to see where they were. They are beads 27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, and 55. Bead 55 is our starting bead for this diagram, and the beads are numbered upwards from there. Starting at bead 55, thread beads 53, 56, 57, and 58 onto the black string. Thread through bead 27 with the red string, then cross both strings through bead 58. We have just completed our first alternating size bead circle of this row. Next, string through bead 28 with the black string. Thread beads 59, 60, and 61 onto the red string, then crossover through bead 61 with the black string. I know it's hard to see in the diagram, but you've just made another circle of small pink seed beads. Continue this way, making one alternating size bead circle and one small bead circle, until you have completely encircled the previous row of beads. Your beaded ball should be getting more spherical and 3D now. If you want to insert a large wooden bead, pearl, or plastic round bead into your beaded ball, insert it now. We'll be beading right over it in the next and final step to enclose it.
Step 4: This is the final row of our beaded ball. It's easier to make than the previous two rows, so if you've made it this far, you're sure to make it to the end! This step is very similar to the first step. What we are going to end up with is a mirror image of the first step. It doesn't look like it in our diagram because we've been building it outwards, but really the beads will be coming together in your real beadwork. Again, there are some beads faded out in this step because they aren't used anymore. And there are some beads reused from the previous step, as we'll be stringing through them again. They are beads 57, 59, 60, 62, 64, 65, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 77, 79, and 80. Sorry about the bead numbers being hard to see in this diagram. Basically, those are the inner beads all along the border of the faded beads. We're starting where we left off, at bead 80. We're going to be making only alternating bead size circles in this row, just like in step 1. String beads 81, 82, and 83 onto the black string. Thread through beads 57 and 59 with the red string, and cross through bead 83. String beads 84 and 85 on the red string, and thread through beads 60, 62, and 64 with the black string. Crossover through bead 85. Continue in this manner, making alternating size bead circles, until you have crossed over through bead 90 (small pink seed bead in the bottom right corner of the diagram). At this point, we no longer add any new beads to the pattern, but we must string through the last circle of 5 small seed beads at the very top of your beaded ball, to enclose it. Take the black string (either string will work, but I used black in the diagram) and string right through all 5 small seed beads at the top of your beaded ball (in the diagram, beads 82, 84, 86, 88, and 90). You will be stringing right back through bead 90 again (making a loop) to join these 5 beads together. Although these 5 beads look very far apart in my diagram, they are actually forming their own circle of 5 beads, and in reality are right next to each other. To see what I mean, look at the next diagram (step 5 diagram) in the very center of the diagram, you see a circle of 5 small pink seed beads. That is the same 5 beads. That's how they should look when you pull tight (closely knit together in a circle). Okay tie a knot with your fishing line, you're done your first beaded ball. You can make it into an earring, or you can continue making more balls to make a bracelet.
Step 5 - Optional: Note, this step is optional. This is just one method of attaching the balls together. You have two options. If you plan to make each ball separately and then string them together using elastic string, then skip this step. If you plan to use a loop clasp to close the bracelet, then use this method to attach the balls together as you make them. As well, if you plan to seamlessly attach the last ball back to the first one (you'll have to make the bracelet wide enough to roll over your hand in that case), use this method as well. Basically, with the attachment method, you don't make individual balls, but one continuous bracelet, building each ball onto the previous one, via the very last bead circle in the ball. I've shown it in the diagram by showing you the very first bead circle of small pink seed beads, because these are the last beads from the previous beaded ball. The rest of the beads in the new ball are a different colour because they are new beads that you will add onto that first bead circle to complete the second beaded ball. If you are planning to use a loop clasp (ie, make a loop of seed beads on one side and loop it through the ball on the other end to close the bracelet), you can just keep beading the balls on the previous one until you get to a bracelet length long enough for you, and then bead a little loop of seed beads onto the end and you're done. Otherwise, if you want to seamlessly blend the last ball into the first one so you can't tell where the bracelet begins and where it ends (note, make the bracelet wide enough to roll over your hand, or make the whole thing out of elastic string), I've also shown you how to attach the last ball back to the first one (in the diagram). Basically, look at the outer small pink seed beads in the periphery of the diagram. Those beads represent the first circle of small pink beads from the first ball of the bracelet. As you are stringing together the last beaded ball, when you get to those pink beads in the diagram, don't add new beads like you usually do, but rather string through the corresponding beads in the first circle of small beads in the first ball (on the other end of the bracelet). This probably sounds challenging, and I won't lie that it's not the most comfortable technique in the world, but I've done it before and it works. If you can't get it to work, don't worry about it, just make all your beaded balls individually, and string them together at the end with elastic string. That is the easiest method. And then if you have extra ones left over, you can make matching earrings out of them! If you make enough of them, you could even string a necklace out of them.
Elastic Knot: This is a picture of how to tie a knot with elastic string, should you choose to string together your beaded balls with elastic string. Basically, after stringing through all the beaded balls with the elastic string, take the two ends together in your hand and hold them together against each other (parallel to each other). Then, holding them together, make a loop and then tie a knot. This contrasts to the knots you make with fishing line, where you don't have to hold the two ends together while you're making the knot. As an extra tip, after you've made the knot, to get it as close to the beads as you can get it (to make the bracelet tighter, rather than too loose), insert a toothpick, cue tip, or beading needle into the loop that you've made (as shown in the picture) and pull the knot tight around the needle/toothpick. Once the knot is down to where the elastic string comes out of the beads, quickly yank out the needle/toothpick. Hope this helps!
Another beaded ball bracelet: The possibilities of colours and styles are endless, and here's another example of a ball bracelet. In this bracelet, each ball is beaded separately with about 1 meter of fishing line, and then all 12 balls are strung together at the end with elastic string. I doubled the elastic string for extra security (strung through twice). I used 0.5mm diameter clear elastic string. Before closing each beaded ball with the fishing line, I inserted one 10mm diameter white glass pearl in order for the ball to keep its shape and hardness. You don't have to attach this bead, just insert it into the ball before weaving each ball shut and tying off the fishing line. When you are stringing the elastic string through each ball, use a needle to guide the string through the ball, because you will have to line up the hole of the pearl inside with the holes of the beaded ball. I used one of the holes created by a bead circle of 5 small seed beads ("the little coloured flower") as my hole through which to string the elastic string.
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