- Arts and Design
Russian Beaded Earrings
Make 3-D Russian Beaded Earrings
These beaded earrings are made using a stitch I first encountered in Russian and Ukrainian beading. The stitch itself is flat, but when you pull the beadwork together you get an elegant curved three-dimensional shape that resembles a leaf. These are instructions for making two-tone Russian beaded earrings, with pictures of what the earrings look like in solid colors or what you get if you extend the stitch to make a necklace.
Materials for Russian Earrings
You'll need one or more colors of beads, a beading needle, and findings for making earrings.
- 10 grams size 11 main color seed beads
- 10 grams size 11 contrast color seed beads
- beading thread (I used size D black Nymo thread)
- beading needle (I used a size 10 beading needle)
- a larger bead or button or a clasp to close the necklace
You can use any beading needle or beading thread. I recommend using a strong beading thread so that you will get jewelry that resists wear (e.g., size D thread rather than size B). Some beaders use fishing line, which is very strong. That can work very well, though I prefer nylon because the resulting necklace is very fluid and flexible and because it is easy to weave in a new thread in the event it becomes necessary.
Find Seed Beads Online
Beginning Your Beaded Earrings
Cut about a meter of beading thread. You can use whatever colors you like. Just substitute your colors for the black and silver in these instructions. To make the earrings as shown, start by stringing on black, silver, silver, black.
Secure the Thread
Go back through the first black bead so that the thread enters and exits through the same side of the bead.
Pull It Tight
This is what you'll get after you've tightened the thread.
Build the Backbone
Center of the Earring
On one side (doesn't matter which) string: S, B, S, B, S, B, S, B, S, B, S, S
Work the Black Side
Using the other thread (not the one with all the silver and black beads), string on a black bead and go through a black bead.
Zip It Up
Continue in this way, adding 1 black and passing through a black, until you get to the end of the beads. At the end of the row you will add 1 black and past through the silver bead on the end. See the zipper shape the beads make?
Another Row of Black
Add a single black bead and pass the needle through the top black bead of your pattern. Now you're going to work down the zipper the same way you worked up.
When You Get to the Bottom
The bottom of each row ends when you get to the third bead from the end. Here is where you turn around. Add a silver bead and a black bead and pass the needle back up through the black bead that sticks out on the zipper or brick shape.
Add a black and go through the next black until you are at the top again. Do you see the pattern?
Find More Beading Projects
This book features another popular Russian and Ukrainian beading stitch, netting. The projects are elegant and look complicated, though they are actually easy to achieve.
From the Top
When you're at the top again, add a black, silver, black and go back through the top of the first black you added.
Just Making Sure You've Got It
Add a black and go through the black sticking out in the zipper, until you are through the 3rd black bead from the bottom of the pattern. Add a silver and a black and pass the needle through the black that sticks out of the zipper.
How You Know You're Done
When you get to the point where there are 7 silver inner edge beads and 7 outer edge beads, pick up the silver and black like always, but use silver beads to fill in the pattern.
The End of Side 1
Now you're done with one side of the earring pendant. Let's move to the silver side.
Make a V-Shaped Necklace
If you keep extending the pattern, you'll get a 'V' shape that can be used to construct an interesting beaded necklace.
Russian Beaded Necklace
The Silver Side
This works exactly the same, except all of the beads are silver. Add a silver bead. Pass through the second silver bead (the first bead of the backbone).
The Same Thing, Only Different
Add a silver bead and pass through a silver bead until you are 3 beads from the bottom (1 black and 2 silver beads). Add 2 silver beads.
Go through the outer silver bead and add a silver, pass through a silver until you are at the top of the pattern again; Add 3 silver beads, pass through the first of them, then add a silver, pass through as ilver until you are at 3 beads from the bottom.
Add 2 silver beads. Pass through the outer silver... continue the pattern until you have 7 silver inner edge beads. It's a little harder to see than with the black pattern, but the edge beads tilt at an angle.
Add the Earring Finding
String on a silver bead, your earring finding, and another silver bead, Connect the two sides of the earring.
Tie It Up
The pattern has been flat so far, but when you pull the ends together it will bow out to form a three-dimensional shape. You can tie a knot if you like, but you should get a secure joining simply by weaving the threads in and out of the beads. Snip the threads when you are satisfied with your work. Now make a second earring!
A Finished Russian Beaded Earring
If you like, you could hang a charm or pearl in the opening left below the earring finding.
Green and Gold Beaded Earrings
Did you try this project? Did you like it? I tried to find a balance between giving you enough photos to show you how to do the project while trying not to overwhelm you with repeats of steps. If you've tried this project or would like to see other beading projects like this, be sure to let me know.