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Bakelite delight earrings

Combine bead embroidery with chunky vintage findings

Lightweight Bakelite is a perfect material to use for earring designs. You get a heavy-duty fashion statement without the weight, while preserving a bit of the past.

SUPPLIES

clear-crystal earrings 4 in. (10 cm) 

  • 2 1 1/4-in. (3.2 cm) square Bakelite components (agrainofsand.com)
  • 2 16 x 12 mm vintage sew-on crystal mirrored ovals (agrainofsand.com)
  • 4 3 mm rose montees (red)
  • 3–4 g 11/0 seed beads (Toho, silver-lined black)
  • 2 g 15/0 Charlottes, color A (gunmetal)
  • 3 g 15/0 seed beads, color B (Toho 25D, silver-lined ruby)
  • pair of oval lever-back earring findings
  • Fireline 4–6 lb. test
  • beading needles, #12
  • 2 pairs of pliers
  • E6000 adhesive
  • fabric dye (optional)
  • Lacy's Stiff Stuff beading foundation
  • Ultrasuede 

black-crystal earring colors: 

  • 35 mm stone rings, in place of Bakelite components (black)
  • 14 x 9 mm sew-on crystals, in place of 16 x 12 mm vintage sew-on mirrored ovals (Swarovski, jet)
  • 11/0 seed beads (Toho 711, nickel-plated silver)
  • 15/0 seed beads, in place of Charlottes, color A (Toho 329, African sunset gold-luster)
  • 15/0 seed beads, color B (Toho 25D, silver-lined ruby)

INSTRUCTIONS

Bakelite delight earrings Photo A
PHOTO A
Bakelite delight earrings Photo B
PHOTO B
EMBROIDERED DANGLES
1. Cut a piece of beading foundation about 3⁄4 in. (1.9 cm) larger than the sew-on crystal.

2. Put a dab of E6000 adhesive on the back of the crystal, and center it on the beading foundation. Let the glue dry.

3. On 1 yd. (.9 m) of Fireline, tie a knot at the very end of the thread, and sew up through the foundation from back to front, exiting a hole of the crystal. Pick up an 11/0 seed bead, and sew back through the crystal and the foundation (PHOTO A). Retrace the thread path to secure the crystal, and then repeat for the other hole of the crystal. Sew up through the foundation to exit next to the edge of the crystal.

4. Pick up two 11/0s, and lay them next to the edge of the crystal. Sew down through the foundation after the second 11/0, sew up through the foundation between the two 11/0s, and sew through the second 11/0 again. Repeat this step (PHOTO B) to surround the sew-on crystal. Sew through all the 11/0s to snug them up to one another and the crystal, and then sew up through the foundation at one end of the crystal.
Bakelite delight earrings Photo C
PHOTO C
5. Pick up an 11/0, a 3 mm rose montee, and an 11/0, and lay them next to the round of seed beads. Sew down through the foundation after the last 11/0 (PHOTO C), and retrace the thread path. 
Bakelite delight earrings Photo D
PHOTO D
Bakelite delight earrings Photo E
PHOTO E

6. Sew through the foundation and the other hole of the rose montee to secure it (PHOTO D). Sew up through the foundation next to one of the 11/0s added in this step.

7. Pick up two color A 15/0 Charlottes, and work as in step 4 (PHOTO E) to surround the 11/0s and rose montee added in step 5. 

Bakelite delight earrings Photo F
PHOTO F
Bakelite delight earrings Photo G
PHOTO G

8. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 on the opposite end of the crystal (PHOTO F). 

9. Trim the foundation next to the outer edge of beadwork, making sure not to cut the thread. Trace the resulting shape on a piece of Ultrasuede, and cut out the shape. Glue the Ultrasuede to the foundation. Let the glue dry.

10. Sew up through the beading foundation only, exiting next to the edge of the beadwork. Pick up two color B 15/0 seed beads, and sew down through both the beading foundation and Ultrasuede. Sew back up through the second B picked up (PHOTO G).

11. Pick up a B, sew down through both layers, and sew back up through the B just picked up. Repeat this step around the edge of the embroidery. To complete the last stitch, sew through the first B picked up and the last B once again.

Bakelite delight earrings Photo H
PHOTO H
Bakelite delight earrings Photo I
PHOTO I
12. Exit one of the edge Bs on one side of the crystal. Pick up a B, an 11/0, and a B. Skip a B along the edge, and sew through the next two edge Bs (PHOTO H). Repeat this step three times, and then sew through to the other side of the crystal and repeat these stitches as a mirror image. Sew through the beadwork to exit an edge B at the top of the crystal.

13. Pick up 12 11/0s, and sew through the next edge B to form a loop (PHOTO I). Retrace the thread path, and end the thread. 

14. Make a second embroidered dangle.
 
Bakelite delight earrings Photo J
PHOTO J
ASSEMBLY
1. On 12 in. (30 cm) of Fireline, center 18 11/0s. Sew through a Bakelite component and the loop of 11/0s from an embroidered dangle. Tie the beads into a ring with a square knot (PHOTO J).

2. Sew through the ring of 11/0s again, exiting next to the tail. Tie another knot, sew through the next few beads, and end the threads.

3. On 12 in. (30 cm) of Fireline, center 18 11/0s, and tie them into a ring with a square knot. Work as in step 2 to secure the ring.

4. Repeat step 1, but sew through the ring made in step 3 and the top of the Bakelite component before tying the knot.

5. Open the loop of an earring finding, and attach the top ring of 11/0s.

6. Assemble the second earring.

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