Saturday, October 6, 2012

How to Make a Rainbow Twist Beaded Bead

I just recorded a new Doceri video on how to make a Rainbow Twist beaded bead, but I'm offering you more than just a video.
Here is the Rainbow Twist as a PDF file. Below the video, I give you the script I used in the video, along with a Doceri drawing of each complete slide in my presentation.  Doceri software allows me to be multimedia in all of these different ways, so I'm doing it.  I have to admit that the teacher in me is pleased with so many delivery options. 

And now for the lesson...
The Rainbow Twist: A beaded bead made with peyote stitch, by me, Gwen Fisher of beAd Infinitum.  This lesson is made with Doceri software, which is the premier software suite for hand drawn communication of all forms, designed specifically for teachers.

Here you can see three views of the rainbow twist.  Although it might look huge on your computer screen, its biggest length is just one inch, or 24 millimeters, so about the size of a quarter dollar.  It makes a cute little pendant, and if you’re so inclined to make a matching pair, it’s even small enough for an earring.
The Rainbow Twist might look like a Mobius band, but actually, it’s a little different.  Like a Mobius band, it’s a strip with a twist, but this one has a full twist and a Mobius band has only a half twist. You can tell by looking at the edges.  When we trace out the edges, we can see that there are two of them, and they cross each other twice. This shows that the rainbow twist has 2 edges and 2 faces.  In contrast, a Mobius band only has one edge and one face.

These are two more Rainbow Twists I made. 
The one on the left has 10 different beads in it, and the one on the right uses just 6 different beads.  You can make one with as few as 3 different beads, but in any case, you need seed beads in sizes 15, 11, and 8 to make a Rainbow Twist.

In particular, the materials you need include 4 feet of beading thread. 
You’ll need size 15 seed beads in three colors.  These itty bitty beads lie right in the middle of the strip.  There are size 11 seed beads in 4 colors, but I cheated and just used three here because I didn’t have the right purple, so I used the pink twice, and size 8 seed beads in 3 colors.  These are the big ones on both edges. You also need a beading needle, or maybe two because we will be working from both ends of the thread, but you can get by with one if you’d rather thread your needle a couple extra times than get out of your chair.  As my dad used to say, only you know what’s best for you.

To start beading, pick up 32 size 15 seed beads, ABABABAB and so on, until you have 16 pairs. 
Pass through the first bead to make a loop, and then center the beads on your thread.
For Step 1, use peyote stitch to add size 15 seed beads in color C between the size 15 seed beads in color A.  By “Peyote stitch” I just means that you pick up a bead, and then sew through a bead, pick up a bead, and sew through a bead, pick up, sew through, pick up, sew through, and so on.  Notice we always skip the green beads and sew through the yellow beads. Go all the way around like this until you get back to where you started.

In Step 2, you need to step up to the next round, and what I mean by THIS is you just pass your needle through the next B bead, which gets you ready to start the next row of peyote stitch.  Normally the “step up” means that you sew through the first bead in the last round you added, like the C bead, but this first time, things sit better if you step up to the other side. It’s a tension thing.  Just go through the B bead.  Trust me.

For Step 3: Use peyote stitch to add size 11/0 seed beads in color D between the size 15 seed beads in color B.  Be sure to stop right before the last stitch. Notice how the beadwork in this photo is lying in a flat circle, hence the name “circular peyote stitch”.  This is also called tubular peyote stitch.  Tubular, the Californian in me is pleased.
Now we need to add a twist.  Here you can see a half twist.  Notice that when I trace the edges, they cross each other once.  That’s how I know it’s a half twist.  If I joined the ends this way, I’d have a mobius band. 

But what I really want is a full twist, like in this second photo.  I can see it’s a full twist because when I trace the edges, they cross each other two times.  Also, the green beads match up with the greens, and the oranges match up with the oranges.
So in Step 4, you twist the beaded ribbon 1 full twist, and you’ll probably need to pass your needle through the hole in the center.  Or maybe the tail end, depending upon how you twist it.  Now you can add the last D bead between the B beads, and then step up by passing through a D bead.  This is a normal step up.

For step 5, thread the tail end of your thread onto a second needle.  If you have a second needle for this, you won’t have to thread any more needles. 
Then step up through a size 15 seed bead in color C.  Then peyote stitch by adding size 11 seed beads in color E between the size 15 seed beads in color C. Be sure to step up by passing through a size 11 E at the end of the round.

Before doing Step 6, let’s look at what we have so far.  We did rounds A and B together.  Then added C to A,  Then, D to B where we did the twist, and then we added E to C. 
Staying on the E side, now add F to E, which you can see here on the beadwork.  More specifically, peyote stitch by adding size 11 seed beads in color F between the size 11 seed beads in color E.  Be sure to step up by passing through a size 11 F at the end of the round.  Continue using peyote stitch to add more rows to the edges of the beads. Add G to D; H to G; I to F;
and J to both I and H.

Here are labels for the bead sizes.  So, if you really understand how this whole thing works, this chart is all you need to make rainbow twists.

There’s one optional step at the end, which is to make exactly one J bead shared by both edges.  I’m not sure exactly how I found the middle to make it symmetric, so I can’t explain it to you.  You’ll just have to figure out that step for yourself, or leave it out entirely.  You might not even want it there anyway. 

Step 7 is tightening the last row on each edge and then tying off.  That’s it, you’re done.

One last note on twist: On the left two pieces, you can see the twist has the same handedness.  Yarn spinners call this S twist. 
On the right is a Z twist.  You can’t turn an S twist into a Z twist without cutting the beaded bead or passing it into the fourth dimension, which is hard to do without super powers.  So if you’re making a pair of earrings, you probably want to make one of each.  Enjoy, and as always, if you make something nifty, please show me what you make!  Bye now.


  1. Gwen, that is awesome. I can't wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  2. Thank you again for giving us this treat. I urge everybody to watch the video, though; you don't get the canine commentary in the other formats. :-)

    1. Ha! I'll let Walter know you appreciated his additions. :)

  3. Thank you so much for this fabolous bead!!!! Tomorrow I will search some beads to try it!!! ;-))

    Many greetings from Austria,

  4. Thank you very much, dear Gwen, for your generosity to share this great tutorial with us,your fans!
    Send you my best wishes and greetings from Lower-Austria:

  5. Thank you for learning me sb new! I can't wait to try it!

  6. thank you for the pattern, this piece looks really lovely.
    lg from austria

  7. Thanks for sharing the pattern Gwen, I've just had a go and it was a lot of fun!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...