Beading Tutorials: Spiral Rope
How to Create Beadwork Spiral Chains
Spiral rope, or spiral rope chain, is a popular beading technique that is great for beginners and experts alike. The basic stitch is simple to do, and incredibly easy to adapt, allowing for endless design possibilities.
Starting with a basic spiral rope chain, change the number, size or type of beads to create beautiful jewelry, accessories, decorations and more.
Basic Spiral Rope Tutorial
In this first tutorial, you use just two different colors of beads. The Color A beads will become the core of the spiral, and the Color B beads will make up the spiral rows. These directions use groups of four beads in the core chain; if you use more than four, be sure they are large enough that the thread can pass through them an equal number of times.
- Size 11/0 or 10/0 seed beads in two colors (A and B)
- Beading thread
- Beading needle
Basic Spiral Rope, Step-By-Step:
- Pick up five Color A beads and five Color B beads.
- Slide them down the thread, leaving an eight-inch tail.
- Then stitch back up through the Color A beads and pull tight.
You should now have two stacks of beads side-by-side, as in Picture 1 above.
Now the repeating sequence begins.
- Pick up one A bead and five B beads.
- Stitch back into the main beadwork through the top four Color A beads, as shown in Picture 2 above.
- Pull tight.
The Color A beads, holding multiple threads, will become your core.
Then stitch through the last A bead you added and pull tight, as in Picture 3 above.
Repeat the last two steps pictured above (Pictures 2 and 3) until the rope is the desired length.
Right after stitching through a stack of four beads (Step 4 above), with about a six-inch tail of thread remaining, stitch back into the last stack of Color B beads added, and follow the thread path into the core. Stitch back through the beadwork, tying knots along the spiral if desired.
Attach a stop-bead to the new thread, leaving a six-inch tail. Stitch into the core beads, at least six beads away from the end of the rope. Exit the last core bead and stitch into the Color A bead remaining from the last stitch. Continue stitching the repeating sequence.
To End the Thread:
Finish the ends as desired, secure the threads, and trim.
Basic Spiral Rope Chain Variations
- Use larger beads in the core row, spiral rows, or both.
- Increase the number of beads in the spiral rows, one at a time, and then decrease to create an undulating spiral.
- Include charms or drops in the spiral rows at regular intervals, or just use one in the center for a focal piece.
- Create three or more small ropes and braid them together.
"Chunky Bead Soup" Spiral Rope: A Random Bead Variation
This free-form style of spiral rope is great for using up beads left over from other projects. If you are using large or heavy beads, such as stones or fire-polished beads, it is recommended that you stitch with a braided line such as Fireline 6- or 8-pound test.
In the spiral ("B") rows, for the best drape, you should use at most 10 beads, although you can increase the number of B's per pass if your core ("A") row uses more beads or larger beads. One bugle bead counts as four to five seed beads.
- Size 10/0 or 11/0 seed beads in one color (A)
- Seed bead mixture, including different sizes, styles and colors of beads (B)
- Beading thread
- Beading needle
1. Pick up four A beads and six or more B beads. Slide them down the thread, leaving an eight-inch tail.
2. Stitch back up through the A beads and pull tight.
3. Pick up one A and six or more B beads.
4. Stitch into the main beadwork through the top four core (A) beads. Pull tight.
5. Stitch through the last A bead added and pull tight.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until the rope is the desired length. Vary the number of B beads in each row, if desired, to create an even more eclectic look.
7. Finish the ends as desired, secure the threads, and trim.
If you use bugle beads in your spiral rows, use seed beads as "bumpers" to prevent the threads from fraying. The more seed beads you add on either side of the bugles, the more smoothly the beads will drape along the spiral.
Spiral Rope Bracelet: A Slightly Different Technique
The tutorial video above by Beadaholique shows how to weave the spiral rope using 6/0 seed beads, with the same number of core beads as the outer spiral. This video demonstrates a slightly different approach to a traditional spiral rope, in which the core beads are added before the spiral sections.
The video also shows a fun variation with pearls, and how to turn your spiral rope into a simple bangle bracelet.
Spiral Rope with Spikes or Drops
In this variation of the spiral rope, drop beads are used in the spiral rows to create texture. Drop beads placed at regular intervals support the rope like tiny feet.
- Size 11/0 or 10/0 seed beads in two or more colors
- Drop beads
- Beading thread
- Beading needles
1. Pick up six "core color" beads and six "spiral color" beads. Slide them down the thread, leaving an eight-inch tail.
2. Stitch back up through the core beads and pull tight.
3. Pick up one core bead and six spiral beads. Stitch into the beadwork through the top five core beads. Pull tight.
4. Stitch through the last core bead added and pull tight.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 five times, then do steps 5 and 6 once:
5. Pick up one core bead, three spiral beads, one drop bead, and three spiral beads.
6. Stitch up into the beadwork through the top five core beads and pull tight.
Continue adding rows in this manner, with a drop bead on every sixth row, until the rope is the desired length. Finish the ends as desired, secure the threads, and trim.
Patterned Spiral Ropes
Daisy-Pattern Spiral Rope
Add flowers to a basic spiral rope. The example above has blue flowers with yellow centers; the instructions below give you white daisies.
- Size 10/0 or 11/0 seed beads in dark green, pale green, white, and yellow. The dark green will be your core, and the three other colors make your flower pattern.
- Beading Thread
- Beading Needle
1. To begin the first row, pick up five dark green beads and five pale green beads. Slide them down the thread, leaving an 8-inch tail.
2. Stitch back up through the dark green beads and pull tight.
3. To begin the second row, pick up one dark green bead, one pale green, two white, and two pale green beads.
4. Stitch back up through the top four dark green beads in the core and pull tight.
5. Stitch up through the last dark green bead added and pull tight.
6. To begin the third row, pick up one dark green bead, one pale green, one white, one yellow, one white, and one pale green.
7. Repeat steps 4 and 5.
8. To begin the fourth row, pick up one dark green bead, two pale green, two white, and one pale green.
9. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to complete the set.
Continue adding sets of four rows to create a spiral daisy pattern. When the rope is the desired length, finish the ends, secure the tail threads, and trim.
Beaded Spiral Pattern Ideas
Try adapting these patterns for simple spiral ropes.
Beaders may copy or print the above patterns for personal use. Simply right-click on the picture for options.
More Advanced Spiral Rope Techniques
Flat Spiral Stitch Tutorial
This video tutorial from Auntie's Beads demonstrates how to create a bracelet using the flat variation of the spiral rope technique. The stitch is simple and uses seed beads and crystals or other beads in two sizes. This video also shows the half-hitch knot technique used to add and end thread in most types of beadweaving.
Thank You for Visiting
What's your favorite spiral rope variation?
Please feel free to leave questions or feedback about this tutorial.