What are Honeycomb Beads?
The simple answer is, Honeycomb beads are another variety of two-holed seed bead. Currently made in the Czech Republic, they are six-sided so they will tessellate into a honeycomb shape. These beads are available in a variety of different colours and finishes and the refinements in manufacturing process means that this variety is changing all the time.
Take a look at the photo and you will see how the two holes sit through the Honeycomb beads. You can also see that, when strung through a single hole, they clip together in a wavy line. They can also be mixed with other varieties of seed bead to create blotches of pattern and colour, or single shapes within a more complex pattern, but more on that below!
Designing with Honeycomb Beads
As with most of the shaped seed beads, designing with Honeycomb beads is something that really needs to be done practically. Of course you can sketch out ideas for designs and shapes, but I found that the position of the holes means that I actually needed to try out thread paths as I was designing. Sometimes an idea would sit right on paper, but proved a challenge because of the position in which the needle would pass through the Honeycomb beads.
If you are trying to design, then start out with a few ‘what if’ questions and some basic principles. For example, what if I make the beads into a circle? What if I use them in a straight line? What if I try them with the thread path of a traditional bead-weaving technique like Peyote stitch? How can I link different motifs? How can I use them as embellishment? These are all questions that I have been asking myself. In an attempt to come up with a quick answer to some of them, I created this beaded bead. It uses the Honeycomb beads in a straight line, with a tubular Peyote stitch thread path. As you can see, and as I mentioned above, the Honeycomb beads are also designed to link well with other shaped seed beads. In this case, I have used Superduos and O beads to create a seamless shape. I finished the ends of my beaded bead with 3mm faceted beads. The beaded bead is quite a substantial size, so was perfect to suspend alone on a Kumihimo rope and it was both very quick to make and a great way to use up a few odd Honeycomb beads.
If you carry on down to the next section, you can find some more of the answers I’ve discovered. These are links to patterns for projects that use the Honeycomb beads, so if you want to try out a design that someone has already created, then just follow the links!
Patterns Using Honeycomb Beads
The Focal Honeycomb Necklace project shown here uses a simple motif that links the Honeycomb beads into a circle. It combines them with Superduos, size 11 seed beads and 4mm beads. The single motif is then repeated to make the focal section, so you will learn how to join different motifs as well. I added a simple beaded chain to complete the necklace. This project is perfect whatever level you are as you can alter certain aspects to suit your experience.
From the first time I saw Honeycomb beads, I wanted to use them to create the honeycomb shape. In playing with this, I realised that it would also create a flower and so my flower bracelet was born. This links the Honeycomb beads into a series of flowers, then adds a Peyote stitch edging that also incorporates the floral theme. This project is a little more advanced and it uses a beaded magnetic clasp to complete the design.
This bracelet is my first experiment in using honeycomb beads with Peyote stitch. It works extremely well with a very simple thread path and I rather like the ‘gapping’ between the beads. It reminded me of a stepping stone path, so I decided to edge it with daisies, like a path through a pretty country garden. I added a beaded clasp, but you could easily change this to a shop-bought clasp if you prefer. The pattern is available here.
In this beaded cuff bracelet, I combined Honeycomb beads with Arcos and Minos beads to create a pattern texture that reminded me of Moroccan tiles. Seed beads are perfect for linking and adding colour accents. The beauty of all these beads is that you can make a design that looks very complex, but in fact has really simple thread paths. If you like this idea, you can find the pattern here.