Learn the Coraling Beading Technique
These lacy earrings look like coral or frost. The branched fringe or coraling beading technique is easy to do and yields stunning results. Once you master the stitch you can use it to make necklaces or to adorn clothing.
Beaded Earrings Overview
Learning the Coraling Technique
Coraling is easy, but it does require that you have practice controlling your thread tension. Also, it uses a large number of beads and takes a bit of time. Feel free to vary the number of beads between branches, the length of the branches, etc. I would rate this an intermediate level beading project. It will take a few hours to complete a pair of earrings. Have fun!
Beaded Earrings Materials List
Size 11 Seed Beads
I used a main color and a contrast color. Smaller beads work well (e.g., 13s or 15s), but larger beads will yield heavy earrings.
Or other earring findings. Buy them or make your own.
Optional. I like to hang the beadwork from beadtips because the dangles swing freely and the thread isn't damaged during wear.
Flatnose or Chainnose Pliers
For attaching bead tip to earwire.
I used my wire cutters.
I used a size 10 beading needle.
I used size D Nymo. Personally, I find other types of thread too stiff for this technique. Nymo B is great with size 14/15 beads.
Optional. I used a pair of 4-mm beads for the white earrings and a pair of 8-mm beads for the tutorial.
Find Materials to Make Earrings
You should be able to find materials to make these earrings in any craft store, but materials are also available online. These earrings use a lot of beads, so be sure to have enough.
Beaded Earrings Step 1:
To start, cut at least a meter of your chosen thread. If desired, condition your thread with beeswax or Thread Heaven. If you can, it's better to work with a single long thread than to have to add thread, since adding thread will make it harder to keep the beads under tension. I threaded one seed bead onto the string, let it fall about a third of the way down the string, and tied a knot around it.
Beaded Earrings Step 2:
Put both ends of the thread through a bead tip. This bead will support the beadwork.
Beaded Earrings Step 3:
Using the shorter strand, string on 1 seed bead, your accent bead, and 40 main color seed beads (this will be the final length of your earring, so adjust it longer or shorter as desired by adding or subtracting beads in multiples of three).
Beaded Earrings Step 4:
String on three accent beads. Go back through the last two main color seed beads. Tighten the tension so there are no gaps between the beads. If you are using nymo or any other nylon thread, remember that it stretches over time, so your beadwork needs to be fairly tight. On the other hand, if you are using Power Pro or another fluoropolymer, remember that this thread will not stretch, so you want the tension such that there are no gaps between beads yet loose enough for the beadwork to be fluid.
Beading with the Coraling Technique
Beaded Earrings Step 5:
Add two main color beads and three contrast beads. Pass back through the two main color beads. Congratulations, you have completed your first pair of branches!
Beaded Earrings Step 6:
Pass back through the next 5 beads, going toward the bead tip. Adjust your tension.
Beaded Earrings Step 7:
Add 4 main color beads and three contrast color beads. Pass back through the last 2 main color beads. Add two main color beads and three contrast color beads.
Beaded Earrings Step 8:
Pass back through the two main color beads, the two next 2 main color beads of this branch and then through the next 3 beads toward the bead tip (total of 7 beads you go back through).
Beaded Earrings Step 9:
This is what you'll get after you pass through the beads back toward the bead tip.
Beaded Earrings Step 10:
From here on, you are just repeating the previous step. Add 4 main color and 3 contrast. Pass back through the last two main color. Add 2 main color and three contrast. Pass back through the 7 main color on the 'branch' and 'stem', going toward the bead tip. You will continue this pattern until you are as near the bead tip as you like (5-6 beads for me).
Beaded Earrings Step 11:
Thread up through the accent bead and bead tip, go through the bead in the bead tip (reinforcing your thread), tie a knot using the other thread, and pass back through the 'stem' beads. I ran the thread through several branches to secure it and cut the thread. Thread your needle on the other end of the thread and pass it through the seed bead and accent bead so that it is exiting the accent bead. Make the next stem with branches. This thread should be dangling from the base of the accent bead. I added 26 main color beads.
Beaded Earrings Step 12:
Add three contrast beads and pass back through the last 2 main color beads. Add 2 main color beads and 3 accent beads. Pass back through the last 2 main color beads and the next 5 main color beads on the stem (7 main color beads total). Continue making branches until you are within 5 beads of the accent bead. Pass through the main color beads to come out just below the accent bead.
Beaded Earrings Step 13:
Make the third stem/branch identical to the second stem/branch. When you are finished, you can knot your thread or work it back through several branches to secure it. Cut the thread. Use pliers to attach the bead tip to the earring finding.
Beaded Earrings Step 14:
Here's a finished earring. Make a second earring to match the first.
Another Beading Book You May Enjoy
Do you have questions or comments about the coraling technique or about making beaded earrings? Sign the guestbook!
Sign the Guestbook
anonymous on December 05, 2012:
These are beautiful. I'm looking forward to trying this technique.
anonymous on September 29, 2012:
I am so excited to see this I can't wait to make them. Thank you.
kerilovesadeal on June 03, 2012:
This looks so pretty and delicate. I may try the simple version and decorate some napkin rings as a gift for my mom. I'll move on to large earrings eventually. LOL :)
anonymous on April 23, 2012:
this is kinda hard but i finnally got it
anonymous on December 04, 2011:
Thank you the instructions were clear and well written.....I am now going to attempt this design.
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on November 28, 2011:
Another excellent beaded jewelry tutorial. Thanks so much!
anonymous on October 06, 2011:
Oh this is wonderful!! and here I was searching for Fringe earrings, and this is beautiful work! I am so going to try this!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!
anonymous on September 03, 2011:
I have been in deep awe of branching jewelry but couldn't find a really good description on making them (so they don't fall apart). Some people are masters at this but they do not share their knowledge. I thank you so much. I have wanted to do this successfully for a long time.
BluKatDesign on May 07, 2011:
Wow, this is really cool! I have a collection of vintage starfish, sand dollars etc and want to make another necklace and this coral is a perfect addition! Thank-you!
EpiphanyLondon on February 13, 2011:
Thanks for this, I've never heard of this technique before. :-D
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on November 17, 2010:
This is a fabulous tutorial! Thanks so much for publishing it!!!
anonymous on October 21, 2010:
thanks a lot the instruction was easy to follow....
Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on September 16, 2010:
This is brilliantly explained and illustrated. I'm sure I could follow these instructions. Blessed by an Angel.
anonymous on September 09, 2010:
Love your directions. I bought the book but could not follow the directions for the life of me but you make it so clear. Thanks
angelontequila on August 23, 2010:
Another beautiful lens from you, i love it :)
caseybeads on March 16, 2010:
great instructions. very clearly written. thanks lots!!
rubyandmahoney on February 03, 2010:
Great directions! I am going to try this out tonight when I get home!
anonymous on December 31, 2009:
This project was a joy to work on because your directions were super clear and easy to follow. Thanks so much
anonymous on July 14, 2009:
Do you have any ideas for making earings into delicate Bucky balls? I think soldering the matrix to make the ball would be too hard. I like beads but the balls are too bulky. I'm looking for very light and delicate. Thanks!
anonymous on June 22, 2009:
I am a new "beader" and looking for new simple techniques to try. I can't wait to get home from work and try this with all the seed beads I have. I am thinking they would be gorgeous in mixed pastels for a nice summery look with sherbet coloured T-Shirts.
anonymous on June 14, 2009:
Thank you! I wasn't sure what to do for this one necklace that would complement the ocean feel of the focal bead, but you answered it for me!
Cat1974 on April 01, 2009:
These are amazing! I love them. Coraling is not something that I've ever tried but you've certainly inspired me to try.
Mortira on January 13, 2009:
Branch and leaf fringe were the first techniques I ever learned, and they're still among my favorites.
Great tutorial! Welcome to the Beads and Jewels group!