Welcome back to the Herringbone portion of Bead Weaving 101.

We have covered a lot of variations of this stitch so far and today I want to talk about adding a variety of different sized and shaped beads into a Herringbone project. 

The use of different beads in your work, can add design elements such as, texture, variety, movement and contrast to your work. 


This is an advanced tutorial, as I will be assuming you have a good grasp of the stitch basics and understanding of the thread paths.

If you are new to this technique, you may want to work through the Even Count Herringbone Basics, Odd Count Herringbone and Increasing Herringbone tutorials first. Then head back here when you are comfortable with the basics. 

Tools and Materials


Now for the fun part. 

Simply dig into your bead stash and grab out a variety of beads. For purposes of the lesson, the beads do not even have to match up. 

Keep in mind that you will need to build a base of Ladder beads, to get started. We will work with 11/0 beads the majority of the time, adding in the others as we go along. 

  • 11/0 Delica Beads
  • 11/0 Seed Beads
  • 8/0 Seed Beads
  • 5 mm Bugle Beads
  • 2 hole Tila Beads
  • Long Magatama Beads
  • Spike Drop Beads
  • 5 Feet Beading Thread
  • Size 10 Beading Needle

Getting Started

I begin by building a Ladder Stitch base of beads that are 2 beads high and 12 beads long. 

The width of the base should have allowances for the size of your bigger and odd shaped beads. 


Add at least one row of flat, even count herringbone stitch to the base and step up into the new row. 

Adding Tile Beads Vertically

Add on full stitch of herringbone to the new row and step up as normal.

Pick up a tile bead and drop it into position, with the holes facing upwards or vertical.


Sew down through the second hole of the tile and the top bead of the next column on the base. 

Remember to step up into the next column before proceeding. 

Add two more regular stitches and repeat the steps for the second tile bead.

Step up and add one last herringbone stitch to finish the row. 
Step up into the new row as you normally would. 


Building up the Beads beside the Tiles


Now we need to bridge the height differences we just created by adding the taller tile beads. 

To do this, we simply need to add three more stitches to each herringbone section.

Add one stitch of herringbone. 

Reverse direction and step up through the two beads as shown.

Repeat these steps again to add another set of beads. Reverse the step up once more, through the two beads. 


As you add the third set of beads, pass down all three beads, until the needle exits the bead next to the base of the tile bead. 

Sew up the tile bead.

Pick up two beads and sew down the second hole of the tile. 

Step up into the top bead of the next column. 


Add three sets of beads to the next two columns, using the reverse step up technique from above. 

Step up into the next column. 

Repeat the steps to build up this section of beads. 

Step up into the next tile bead and add the two beads at  the top.

Repeat the steps to build up the last two columns of beads on the opposite side. 

Step up to the top. 


Now we are back in position to add our regular stitches to the bead work.

As each new row is added, the beads in the previous row get tied together with a thread bridge at the bottom. 

Adding Bugle Beads Vertically

Adding Bugles to Herringbone is relatively simple. 

Somehow, during the recording of the video, I lost the actual footage.

Add this lovely long bead to a herringbone project is exactly the same as any other row. 

Pick up two beads, sew down the top bead of the next column and up the top bead of the next.

In this sample, I started with a base of 8/0 beads, ladder stitched together, two beads high and eight beads wide. 

As you can see, each row of bugle beads, was followed by either one or two rows of 8/0 seed beads. 


Adding Bugle Beads Horizontally

We can also add these lovely beads so that they lay horizontally within the bead work.

This technique requires some measuring and counting, in order to add them uniformly to your designs. 

This bugle bead will lay along the top of the four beads beneath it. I have begun the row with two normal herringbone stitches with my Delica beads and stepped up into the next column. 

I pick up the bugle and let it fall to the bead work. I skip over two beads and sew down the fourth. Then step up into the fifth. I finish the row with two more regular stitches using Delica beads. 

As I add the last stitch, I make the turn and begin the next row. The steps are the same for the next row. 

We can use almost any shape, size or style beads in this manner. 

Adding variety to your Herringbone bead work just takes a little planning ahead. 

Let’s take a look at the video to gain more persspective. 

Long Magatama Beads

Herringbone Stitch with Bead Variations