Do you enjoy beading cabochons? Or, are you one of those people sitting there scratching your head and wondering how to bead a cabochon?
Whichever category you consider yourself to fall into, I have some helpful hints to share with you here.
What is a Cabochon?
So, you may well be asking yourself that question. Different people will have different definitions. You may also see the term ‘Cabochon’ used interchangeably with ‘Rivoli’.
So, let me give you my definition.
I use a very loose definition. So, for me, a ‘cabochon’ is anything you can bead around. This includes beads that have been fashioned specifically as cabochons – see the left-hand photo above. It also includes Rivolis (centre photo), which can be Swarovski brand or other brands. Rivolis are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes now. Their common factor is that they are made out of crystal and typically have a foil backing.
Then, last but not least, I have a fabulous collection of natural gemstones. These have been polished and smoothed, but they are not necessarily shaped as cabochons. So, they retain a natural look and feel.
When I talk about how to bead a cabochon, I am talking about finding a way of adding beads around it. This will allow you to incorporate it into a larger project.
How to bead a cabochon
If you are looking for a simple step-by-step guide to how to bead a cabochon, I’m afraid you’re not going to find it in this blog. It’s not because I’m being difficult or mean. But simply, there is no ‘one’ way to bead a cabochon.
For starters, you can use pretty much any beading technique. So, whatever your favourite stitch (netting, peyote, RAW), there is almost certainly a way to use it to capture your chosen type of cabochon.
In fact, I wrote a whole book on this topic. So, if you really are looking for a step-by-step guide, then grab a copy. I also showed you how to embellish your cabochons once you have beaded around them.
What I can tell you is that the idea of how to bead a cabochon is always the same, whatever technique you use. So, basically, you are creating a ring of beadwork that fits snugly around the edge of your cabochon, leaving the front and back exposed.
A potential problem
Now, if you have chosen to bead around a foil-backed crystal cabochon (Rivoli), you might eventually experience a problem with this. My good beading friend, Erika Sandor has just been addressing that very issue.
You see, the exposed foil back on your Rivoli is likely to come into contact with your skin as you wear any jewellery. Depending on the acidity of your skin (everyone’s varies), you may find that the backing discolours over time. Maybe it even gets scratched. Either way, it won’t help your jewellery to look good.
Now, this isn’t a new problem. Another fabulous beader I know, Melanie de Miguel, is well known for her gorgeous jewellery that involves bezelling a lot of Swarovski Rivolis. She gives the tip of painting the back of your Rivoli with clear nail polish before you bead around it. This protective layer will help to preserve its life as it is worn.
Erika’s solution is to create a beaded backing for her Rivolis. And she is about to publish an ebook showing you how to do it. She has done all the hard work, figuring out exactly how to create a snug backing for various different sizes and shapes of Rivoli. So, if you want to check it out and maybe grab a copy, follow this link>>
(if you’re reading this in real-time, you can get a special pre-order offer now. Check it out here>>)
How to bead a cabochon with multi-hole beads
Now, I love my basic beading techniques and I’ve used lots of them for beading lots of different cabochons. But they can take a little bit of time.
So, I have also tried a few experiments to see if I can save some time. My mission: how to bead a cabochon using multi-hole beads…
- Yes, it is possible…
- It absolutely saves some time…
- But only if you use the right kind of multi-holed bead
It is also a lot of fun! In fact, it’s so much fun that I ended up bezelling around several coloured Rivolis to create this lovely necklace:
What multi-hole beads am I talking about?
Trinity beads! Yes, their three-hole structure makes them perfect for creating a bezelled Rivoli that you can then develop into a stunning piece of jewellery.
Just take a look at the photo below so you can see what I’m talking about:
So, you can use two of the holes to string and create a little channel wide enough to house the edge of a Rivoli. This then leaves you with a third hole free. So, just use that to add a decorative edging or join to other elements of your design.
And, if you want to give this idea a try, I am currently giving away a free pattern to create this Rivoli motif.
How do you get this free pattern? Well, just sign up for my International Beading Week 2018 event. You can find out what I’ll be doing and sign up here>>
Over to you…
So, I’ve covered quite a lot of ground here. Let me recap on the main ideas.
If you are wanting to learn how to bead a cabochon, I have a book you can buy. Or you might like to try Erika Sandor’s new ebook. I’ve linked to both earlier in this blog, so just scroll back up to find the links.
The basic idea is always the same: create a ring to fit snugly around your cabochon. Then incorporate the cabochon into your beading project as you wish.
You can use basic bead-weaving techniques to create your ring (bezel). Or, you can get a bit funky and try using some multi-hole seed beads. Whether or not you choose to cover or protect the back of your cabochon is some way, is entirely your choice. But do take some time to think about how well your project will need to last over its life-time.
I hope that has been helpful and sparked a few ideas. I’ve also linked to a lot of patterns that you can try out if you want to start learning how to bezel a cabochon. And, once you start, you won’t look back!