Making beaded earrings can be a very easy project, especially after you've made a set or two and gotten the hang of it! In this beaded earrings tutorial I'm going to cover 2 types of beaded earrings: the fringe type and the coral type (that's my description. I did a lot of SCUBA diving when I lived in Florida and these earrings remind me of coral. I don't know what they are actually called).
I know it's cliche to say the possibilities are endless, but they really are when it comes to fringe earrings. There are 2 parts to these earrings: the pyramid part and the fringe part.
The Pyramid Part
The 2 earrings above were made with the same size seed beads. The green earring was made with brick stitch, the red earring was made with 2 drop brick stitch (2 beads at a time instead of one) which creates a more elongated pyramid.
The same with the 2 earrings below, the difference is that these were made with 11/0 Delicas.
So, the first question to answer, how do you want the pyramid part to look? You can also square off the bottom of the pyramid by adding the same number of beads in the row with ladder stitch. These rows would look more like the fringe and would help stabilize everything.
The Fringe Part
You can see in the picture above how adding a couple of rows to the 'bottom' of the pyramid squares it off and would allow the fringe to hang straighter.
Speaking of getting fringe to hang straight, let me give you a few pointers:
1. TENSION, TENSION, TENSION - especially if you are using Delicas. The reflex is to pull the string really tight, however, that causes all those little Delicas to bunch up together and get all crooked. Pull on the bottom and leave yourself a little room. The bigger the seed bead, the less of a problem it is.
2. Use beading thread like Nymo instead of Fireline. Fireline is stiff which works great for everything else, but not fringe. It's also great because you only need white and black to do just about anything. If you must use Fireline then use the 4lb so it won't be as stiff.
3. The longer the fringe, the less of a problem it is, I guess the weight of all those beads helps.
So now we move on to the fringe. Do you want to keep is simple like the red ones or get more complicated like my purple mountains pair? I tried doing a butterfly design, first with Delicas and then with seed beads. (I spent 8 days in bed with COVID so I had lots of time on my hands.)
Let's just say I won't be selling that pattern! I then decided to try something a little simpler.
Then a quick tour around Pinterest for inspiration and the ombre fringe is everywhere, so here's my version. I love ombre because it's always super simple and looks like a million bucks.
Another decision with fringe is how to end the strand. (if you are new to beading, the issue is that when you string all those beads together, you need to run the thread back up through them to get to the next strand. You need something at the bottom to "catch" the thread, otherwise the thread is going to come out.) With the ombre earring above, I had purple #15 rocailles that matched perfectly. In the red seed bead earring above, they have a gold sheen and I happened to have gold seed beads that matched, so I did a 7 bead loop at the bottom.
Now that we have talked about the 'pyramid' part and the fringe part, it's time to start designing. Believe me, if you want to do something complicated, you need a pattern, hence, I created this template. You can doodle on it with crayons or you can open it in MS Paint and doodle on it in there.
The pattern has a pyramid part that is done with brick stitch, and the fringe part which is just beads strung together. Remember that what looks like the first row of fringe is actually the last row of brick stitch. (It looks thinner than the fringe rows) Each row of fringe is going to come out each bead of this row. You can also add the first couple of rows of the fringe with ladder stitch to let the fringe hang a little better.
Let me show you how I created the flower earring.
I opened the file in Paint and started doodling. The flowers were too close together. Instead of starting over, I just went to the other side of the template.
It's like coloring on the computer.
I am not an expert in Paint. The erase feature put a white dot instead of 'erasing' but I could work with it.
I wanted to make sure I had the flowers spaced nicely. At least with Paint, you can back out of the last few steps if you don't like the way it's going.
Adding leaves and deciding how long the fringe should be.
Filling out the flowers...
Giving it a background color and it's done!
The video below touches on the highlights of how to make these earrings if something isn't clear to you.
The second design in this beaded earrings tutorial is the "coral type". It is way more freehand.