Bead Embroidery Butterfly Headband - Jewellery Making Tutorial | beadsdirect.co.uk
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Bead Embroidery Butterfly Headband - Jewellery Making Tutorial

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Bead Embroidery Butterfly Headband - Jewellery Making Tutorial

Designed by: Julie Dudley

Difficulty: Expert

Rating:

How lovely are these beaded embroidered butterflies? Julie Dudley has done a fantastic job creating these butterflies, she has adapted the design to create a key ring, bag charm, hair clip and a headband. In this step by step tutorial Julie will show you how to create the butterfly and then the choice is yours as to what you would like to turn your beautiful butterfly into. Happy Beading!

You can add all the items you need to your basket by clicking the box in the 'Products used' section above, or you can let your imagination run wild and choose your own materials from the links below. Please note that the colours for the products illustrated in the image above may not match the 'Products List'. 

Depending on what you are making you may need: 

X0239• Bead caps/ cord ends antique silver 17mm (for tassel ends on bag charm)
X0278• Silver tone/ large lobster keyring clasp
X0015• Silver tone hair comb decorative edge 

Remember - our tutorials are for inspiration and learning purposes. They include links to the relevant categories for you to choose your own colour combinations and we positively encourage you to experiment with different shapes, sizes, finishes, composition and texture. Why not choose your own beads and colours to achieve something in your own style? Let your imagination run wild and make your dream jewellery.

Designed by Julie Dudley - July 2021

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You can make your butterfly any size, but if you want to go for the same size as mine, measure two small lines 8cm apart, also put a mark at the 4cm/halfway mark. Draw a semi-circle from one line to the other. From the centre point start drawing a horizontal line then curve towards the top point but just before you get to the top flick the corner out like a leaf shape. Do the same from the centre to the bottom tip. About half way up the outside of the top half, draw another small line like the tip of the first one, then from the tip of that line draw a curve in line with the first to meet up with the middle of the semi-circle.

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Put whichever style of cut out butterfly shape you have decided to make onto your felt or beading foundation, and draw around it twice (I just used a ball point pen which shows up well). You can then copy the design of the butterfly roughly onto just one of the pieces of felt. These pen lines won't be visible on the finished piece. Cut out your felt butterflies. Take out two of your acrylic flat backs. These ones have ridges, so I have lined up the ridges to go in the same direction as the lines drawn on the butterfly wings. Glue the flat backs onto the piece of felt with the full butterfly design on, and leave them to dry completely.

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Meanwhile, take eight of your 4mm mustard glass beads, some flexrite and three crimp beads (or if you have made a smaller or larger butterfly than mine you will need to adjust the number of beads and flexrite to create a body that works well with your wings). Cut between 8-10cm of your flexrite (I have used 8cm and won't have much waste, but if you are less confident, use more and cut away any left-over pieces). Bend the flexrite in half, and thread both ends through one of the small crimps, then push it almost to the bottom so that there is a small loop. Using your crimping pliers (or just squeeze in your flat nose pliers), squash the crimp in the inner section of the Crimping pliers, which will make a slight U-shape in the crimp. (I didn't need to squash in the second section of the crimping pliers for this part) Thread on your eight beads. Take another of your crimp beads and put it onto one of the ends of your flexrite, take into consideration how long you want the butterflies antennae to be and then squeeze the crimp in the inner section of your crimping pliers at that length. Then move the crimp to the outer section of your pliers and squeeze again. Finally, if it's not squashed down fully you can use the very tip of the pliers. Repeat on the second antenna, and trim off any excess flexrite.

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Once your glue has dried, take your felt butterfly, needle and thread, and brown seed beads (I chose this dark colour at this point as we are using them to create the lines which you drew on). Thread as much thread onto your needle as you feel comfortable with, and tie a single knot in one end (I have about a metre of thread). Firstly, we are going to create a border around the top flat back that you glued on. Bring your needle up underneath the butterfly, slowly through the felt next to part of the flat back (I say slowly, otherwise the knot will just pull through the felt). Pick up two of your brown seed beads and drop them right down the thread. Lay them next to the flat back where they will sit and sew straight back down after the second bead. Bring your needle back up through the felt between where you just sewed the beads, and pass your needle through the second of the beads added.

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Pick up two more beads, and lay them sitting just after the last two, then sew back down through the felt just after the two beads  Bring your needle and thread back up through the felt in-between the two beads just added, then sew through the last bead.

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Repeat step 5 until you have sewn beads around the whole of the flat back. Sew just through all of the beads again, passing through several at a time (This helps them to sit straight), then sew back down through the felt.

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Don't worry about cutting your thread if you have enough left to circle the next flat back. Bring your needle up through the felt next to the bottom flat back (don't pull hard, as you don't want the thread on the back of the butterfly top pull it out of shape). Repeat steps 3 and 4 to create a circle of beads around the bottom flat back. Whenever you need more thread during this design, just sew the ends of the last piece through the back of the felt a couple of times, trim and then start a new piece as before.


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We now need to sew beads over the rest of the drawn lines. Bring your needle up through the felt at the end of one of the lines, near where your thread is already located. On straight lines i tend to pick up three or four seed beads each time instead of just two, as the straight lines of beads are easier to get to sit neatly. Pick up three seed beads and drop them all the way down the thread and lie them in place on the line they are going to cover.  Sew down after the last of the three beads. Bring your needle up through the felt between the last two beads, then pass your needle and thread through the last bead. Keep adding beads in this way until you get to the end of the line you are covering. You may only need to add one or two beads to the end of a line depending on space. If it isn't sitting as neatly as you would like, come back through the felt with your needle at the beginning of that row, and pass your needle through all of the beads.

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Repeat step 6, sewing down your brown seed beads over the internal drawn lines of your butterfly. You may find it easier to add two beads at a time on the curved lines, and three or more on the straight lines.

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We are now going to start filling in the spaces between the lines of the scalloped sections. Put a pile of each colour of your beads down on your beading mat. I am starting with the sherbet purple, and I am going to alternate each scalloped section in colour, but you can fill in any way you choose. Bring your needle and thread up into the top or bottom edge of one of your sections, I am starting at the top. Pick up three of your seed beads as before and drop them down your thread. I have filled in the lines going in the direction of the length of the wing. Take your needle back down through the felt after the last bead in the line as before.  Come back up through the felt directly before the last bead added, and pass your needle through that bead. Pick up three more seed beads, or as many as you need to finish your row. Keep repeating adding beads exactly as you have before, until you have completely filled in the first scalloped section. If any of them aren't sitting straight, neatly sew through them again along with neighbouring beads.

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Keep repeating step 10, filling in each scalloped section with lines of beads in alternating colours.

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Now we need to fill in the outer edge of the wing and the tip of the second wing. I have chosen the sherbet yellow beads for the wing edge. Keep adding beads exactly as before in straight lines towards the edge of the wing. It can be harder to get the beads to sit straight near the edge, so if you firstly do two rows, then without going through the felt, pass your needle through the first row of beads in the opposite direction, this will help to pull the rows together. Then once the wing edge is finished, fill in the second wing tip. I used the sherbet purple for this, adding the beads outwards towards the wing tip, and the following rows sitting next to them in the same direction.

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You still need to follow steps twenty-three and twenty-four to sew together the wings and attach the body. You can use most styles of hair band for this technique. Cut a small rectangle of your felt, approximately 2x2.5cm (or if you have made a different size butterfly cut a piece that will fit your work) Wrap the rectangle tightly around the hair band you are using then tack it together with your thread a few times, then place your bead embroidery in the direction you would like your butterfly to sit, then sew it down firmly between the underside of the loop and the back of the butterfly, tack down further if it is loose fitting. You can either use glue to stick the felt loop to the hairband so that the butterfly is in one place permanently, or leave it as I have, so it is adjustable across the hairband. Then I took a satin flower with an openwork design and loop end, and held it in place where I wanted it to sit, and sewed it down in a few places including through the loop, until it is firmly attached, then cut away any excess thread.

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Step up by taking your needle and thread through the next purple bead that you added in row one. Pick up a purple seed bead, and take your needle through the next purple seed bead. Again, pick up a purple seed bead, and pass your needle through the next purple seed bead. Repeat, picking up a bead, and passing through the next, until you have filled in all of the gaps.

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Sew around all of the purple beads you just added again, to tighten everything up.

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Repeat steps 13, 14 and 15 again, around the other flat back in your design.

Now you can choose how to use your butterfly embroidery

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Step 17 (to make the handbag charm tassel)

You will need: yellow and purple sherbet seed beads, thread, one of the bead caps/tassel tops, flexrite and one of the 4mm glass beads, and crimps.

Thread your needle with about one metre of thread. Cut two pieces of flexrite 7cm long. Knot your thread in a double knot onto the centre of the two pieces of flexrite. Pick up 18 seed beads in alternating colours. Miss the bottom seed bead and sew back up through the rest of the seed beads up to the flexrite, make sure your beads are tight and knot again to the flexrite. Repeat making three more rows of 18 beads. Sew through all of your rows of beads again to strengthen, knot again a couple of times and trim away your thread.

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Pass all of the flexrite ends up through the bead cap and through one of the 4mm beads. Take two of the ends of flexrite and add a crimp bead leaving a bit of a gap between the bead and the crimp and squash together in your crimping pliers, or pliers.  Repeat on the other two ends of flexrite and add a couple more crimps if you have room, but you need gaps between, because that is how we are going to sew it down. Because this will all be sewn inside the two parts of the butterfly, it doesn't have to be neat.

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Now to make the clasp end, which you can do in the same way, no matter which style of keyring design you choose. Cut two pieces of flexrite 10cm long. Add 24 alternate colours of beads onto both pieces of flexrite together ( we are using two lengths of flexrite for strength because this is the area that is likely to get pulled). Pass through your keyring clasp and double over to bring all of the ends together. Feed a crimp bead onto all four flexrite ends and push down towards the beads, and crimp together. Add another crimp bead further up the ends for extra security. Again, all of this will be hidden inside the butterfly so doesn't need to be perfectly neat.

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Now to sew all of the final components together. Take your needle between two of the threads of flexrite, between the 4mm bead and a crimp, tie a double knot so your thread is firmly attached to the flexrite. Take the tassel end and hold it onto the back side of the main butterfly, so that the 4mm bead sits just under the tip of the bottom wing. Take your needle through the felt to the front of the butterfly, then back through to the back through the gaps in the flexrite again. Repeat several times back and forth through the felt making sure you are sewing the flexrite down extremely firmly. It doesn't matter what your sewing looks like on the back, but be careful not to create big loops or visible stitching on the front. If when you come out to the front, if you sew back through in a similar place, your stitching should be hidden in your beadwork.

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Now we are going to do the same to attach the clasp to the top. Take your needle and thread and pass it through the flexrite under the crimp and beads, and tie a double knot. Hold it next to the tip of the biggest top wing of the butterfly, with the beads sitting just above the felt. Start sewing back and forth the same as before in-between the flexrite to hold it all securely. The more you sew the stronger it will be, as this is where the strength needs to be. As you can see, the back doesn't look too pretty, but now we can cover it up.

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Take both of your butterfly pieces, and attach your needle and thread to the edge of one side of the butterfly. Hold both pieces together in line and see through to the other side. When you come out of the blank side of felt, take your needle back through in a similar place to where the thread exited, so you don't end up with stitches showing on the back, but angle the needle to take it back through to the beaded side, so you are moving slightly further along each time. That way you keep moving ahead but not creating big visible stitching. As you go along, make sure your pieces are aligned, as because one piece is beaded it can changed its shape slightly.  If you bend the pieces at times, you should be able to get the edges to meet. Sew all the way around both pieces, and if you feel you need to trim the felt slightly then do so carefully.

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Step 23

Lastly, we need to attach the body. Take a length of thread on your needle and knot at the end. Take your needle and thread through the edge of the middle of your butterfly wings where the body needs to sit. Lay the body in the spot you want it to sit, and wrap the thread around under a central bead and sew through the edge of the body. Sew in this way, around just two or three central beads in this way, making sure that they are pushed together and sat straight each time you stitch. Once you think it is secure enough, sew a few times through the felt underneath the body, and trim off your thread.

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Step 24 to make the hair comb

Sew around the butterfly wings as in step 22, but start sewing above the halfway point of the semicircle curve. Sew all the way around anticlockwise to the bottom wing tip and insert your chosen hair comb. Carry on stitching the edge of the butterfly but now you are stitching in the hair comb at the same time. Attach the body as in step 23.

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Step 25 to make the hair band

You still need to follow steps 22 and 23 to sew together the wings and attach the body. You can use most styles of hair band for this technique. Cut a small rectangle of your felt, approximately 2x2.5cm (or if you have made a different size butterfly cut a piece that will fit your work) Wrap the rectangle tightly around the hair band you are using then tack it together with your thread a few times, then place your bead embroidery in the direction you would like your butterfly to sit, then sew it down firmly between the underside of the loop and the back of the butterfly, tack down further if it is loose fitting. You can either use glue to stick the felt loop to the hairband so that the butterfly is in one place permanently, or leave it as I have, so it is adjustable across the hairband. Then I took a satin flower with an openwork design and loop end, and held it in place where I wanted it to sit, and sewed it down in a few places including through the loop, until it is firmly attached, then cut away any excess thread.

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