Glossary of Beading Terms

Definitions of Terms Used in Beading Tutorials 

Bead Stack - This refers to a vertical row of beads, where the opening of the beads are facing upwards, as in stitches such as Herringbone and Flat Peyote.

Bridge - This term refers to the thread that passes between two beads that have been stitched side-by-side, as in Ladder Stitch.

Double (Thread) - To create doubled thread for heavier beadwork, thread a needle and line up either end of the thread.  Grasp the ends, and pull the needle with the opposite hand until it reaches the center point. 

Down (Stitch Down) - This generally indicates that the needle should point toward the beader and/or the main beadwork.

Exit - To bring the working thread to a certain point in the beadwork.

Findings - This term refers to clasps, buttons, crimp beads or other components of finished jewelery or other beadwork. 

Picot - This is a bead form usually used as an embellishment that uses three or more beads in a spade shape.

Round - This is a row of beadwork in a piece that is tube or circle shaped.  The term round is usually used in beadwork that uses repetition - each sequence of bead is one round.

Row - This refers to a repetition of beads or stitches in a given piece of beadwork. 

Spacer Bead - This is a bead used as a stopper between beads and/or findings.  They may be needed to protect delicate beads from wear, or to hide knots or other components.

Stack - See: Bead Stack.

Step-Up - This term refers to a stitch that will bring the working thread from the main beadwork to a point where another row or round will be added.

 Stop-Bead - Also called a lock-bead or tension-bead, this is a bead attached to the thread to help keep beadwork in place.  To attach a stop bead, thread your needle, and pick up one seed bead.  Slide it down until to the point where you want the beadwork to begin.  Stitch back into the seed bead and pull tight.  The bead should now be secure on the thread.

Tail (Thread )- This term usually refers to any thread that is attached to the beadwork, but is not a working thread.  Tails are used to secure the beadwork once it is finished, and are usually part of a stop-bead.  This term can also refer to any excess thread not covered by beads.

Thread Path - This is the direction that the thread follows through the beads in a piece of beadwork.  When securing tail threads or reinforcing stitches, follow the same thread path used in the original stitching.  This will keep the beadwork strong, and prevent visible threads in the finished piece.

Up (Stitch Up) - This generally indicates that the needle should point away from the beader and/or from the main beadwork. 

Working Thread - This is the thread that is being used to add beads or other components to the beadwork.  Most pieces have only one working thread at any time, though some projects use multiple needles, each with a working thread. 

Zip-Up - This technique is used to join two edges of beadwork together, by stitching in a zig-zag pattern across the edges.           See: Peyote Tube Beads for an example of the zip-up technique.



Finishing Beadwork


More Beading Cupboards

Beading and Beyond

Just Beads