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Beading Tutorials: Spiral Rope

Updated on October 22, 2015
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Mortira ("Sage's Cupboard") has been blogging about beadwork and design for many years.

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.

Multicolored spiral ropes
Multicolored spiral ropes

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.

Materials Needed:

  • Size 11/0 or 10/0 seed beads in two colors (A and B)
  • Beading thread
  • Beading needle
  • Scissors

If you are new to beading, here is more information on choosing beads and beading thread.

Basic Spiral Rope, Step-By-Step:

To begin:

  • 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.

Adding Thread:

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.

Materials Needed:

  • 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

Step-By-Step:

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.

Tip:

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.

Materials Needed:

  • Size 11/0 or 10/0 seed beads in two or more colors
  • Drop beads
  • Beading thread
  • Beading needles
  • Scissors

Step-By-Step:

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

Blue flowers with yellow centers
Blue flowers with yellow centers | Source

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.

Materials Needed:

  • 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

Step-By-Step:

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

The spiral rope is one of the best stitches for beginners to learn, and can be adapted in many ways as skills improve.

Some other types of spiral beading include:

Membership in Bead & Button Magazine forums is free and lets you browse through publications to find the beading project that's right for you.

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.

A second video in the series shows how to connect bands of flat spiral for wider bracelets; a third demonstrates adding a double-hole clasp to the ends to finish a bracelet.

Thank You for Visiting

What's your favorite spiral rope variation?

Please feel free to leave questions or feedback about this tutorial.

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    • profile image

      jewelry0401 4 years ago

      Great work. Please, check out my new lens I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

    • profile image

      jewelry0401 4 years ago

      Great work. Please, check out my new lens I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 4 years ago

      I love the spiral rope and the flat spiral. Didn't know to make one with a daisy pattern and some of the other options you showed me. Thank you for this wonderful lens.

    • jewellerybyjora profile image

      jewellerybyjora 5 years ago

      Great tutorials, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi All, we have some new and inexpensive designs in our Bead Scool at toocutebeads.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thank u...so appreciate it... i wanna drop everything just to make those...

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Great instructions, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Traceeshobbies 5 years ago

      I'm going to try some of these ideas. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Excellent collection of wonderful tutorial! Thanks for your generosity!

      Lori

      Capturedbylori.com

      Facebook/capturedbylori

      Artfire.com/users/capturedbylori

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 5 years ago

      I love this one. Your work is beautiful.

    • Todayhaspower LM profile image

      Todayhaspower LM 5 years ago

      Great lens. Awesome tutorial. Kudos to you. :)

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 6 years ago from Corona, CA

      Great beading tutorial. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent lense and tutorials - I love it. The jewelry pic's are BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for sharing !!!

    • mattseefood lm profile image

      mattseefood lm 6 years ago

      Great tutorial :) Thanks for sharing your skills!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      This really is a Most Excellent tutorial!

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 6 years ago from USA

      Carefully guided instruction on spiral rope beading are a joy for crafters like my daughter. Blessed by a Squid Angel ~

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      This is a great lense. I love all the variations of the spiral rope that you have shown us how to do. I have only known 1 or 2 different ways to make the spiral rope. I have definitely bookmarked this lense.

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 7 years ago from Lubbock TX

      What a great, in-depth tutorial on spiral rope! It's one of my favorite stitches because it's so versatile.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Great lens:) I've just done my own beading lens and hope you will drop by - be the first to comment maybe. https://hubpages.com/art/bead-projects

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • profile image

      dvirtualist 8 years ago

      great lens.easy tutorial. I have to try this. I'm crazy about seed beads.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      You're officially blessed!

    • BusyQueen profile image

      BusyQueen 8 years ago

      Wow, I really love the swirl photos!

    • BusyQueen profile image

      BusyQueen 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It's well done. 5 *****'s

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      SO beautiful - both, the jewelry and the lens!! Really enjoyed reading it even though I don't do this kind of crafts myself - just love wearing them... :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I love to bead! Really do need to get back to some project. Caught your tweet, I'm Tipigal on Twitter. Going over to your fan page now. I love to Squidoo!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      Beads come in so many shapes and sizes. I love the work you do with them.

    • profile image

      VeronikaB 9 years ago

      Great instructions! Thanks for sharing.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 9 years ago from Vermont

      Oh,the patience you must have - and the eyesight - to create wonderful beaded jewelry. 5*s,'rolled to Holiday Crafts on Squidoo, and emailed to my craft-designer bead-and-button-maniac DD.