The Magic of Chevron Beads: A Guide to Crafting with Them

What are Chevron Beads?

  • Chevron beads are a special type of glass bead used for jewelry making and crafting projects.  (Not to be confused with the Chevron Beading technique.)  These beads have a unique faceting and shape that creates a signature chevron (zig-zag) pattern.
  • The beads have a central hole for stringing and multiple angled cuts around the outer surface. This is what creates the distinct V-shaped chevron look. 
  • Chevron beads come in all kinds of gorgeous colors like metallic, opaque, transparent, glow in the dark, and more. Popular color combos include multi-colors, black/silvers, jewel tones.
  • Sizes range from small beads to large hole beads around 1 inch. Mini chevrons work well for delicate designs. Larger sizes make bold statements. Most are sized between 3mm to 10mm.
  • In addition to traditional glass, chevron beads may be made from other materials like wood, plastic, stone, bone and more for unique looks.
  • The angled faceting bounces light beautifully. So chevron beads are often used singly as spacers or focal beads among rounds. Groupings also create neat optical effects.
  • Bracelets, necklaces, hair clips, keychains and accessories often feature chevron beads for on-trend looks. They make great gifts too!
  • Besides jewelry, crafters also use chevron beads for embroidery projects, mosaics, sculpture, candle holders, window hangings, and holiday decorations for visual interest. 

Single colored beads are often stitched in a Chevron pattern (zig-zag), or by using a Chevron stitching technique (not what this article is about).

Playing with Fire and GlassThe Heat-Molded Origins of the Ever-Popular Chevron Bead

The distinctive chevron bead has an origins story as unique as its eye-catching shape. While glass beads and trade beads have existed for thousands of years, the first true chevron beads emerged as an innovative design in the 20th century. 

Most sources trace the initial conception of the chevron bead to the 1950s and 1960s. During this postwar boom in American crafting culture, artisan Sam Kramer of Kramer’s Indian Crafts began hand-cutting traditional round carnival glass trade beads into new angular shapes. His experimental chevron cut beads were an instant hit. Kramer’s Indian Crafts then went on to produce and sell these signature chevron beads to eager jewelers, hobbyists and bead collectors. 

As the popularity of the chevron aesthetic grew in the 1970s and beyond, more beadmakers started shaping molten glass with specialized molds to create hot-forged chevron beads. Modern factories now have the technology to produce precise quality chevron beads en masse. While production methods have changed, Kramer’s original vision lives on in the timeless fascination with chevron beads. The multi-faceted look and light play make them enduringly in demand for DIY jewelry and craft projects today. Their rich mid-century history only adds to their visual magic.

Cut by Cut: Uncovering the Complex Process of Creating Chevron Beads

Step-By-Step Procedure

  • Glass rods are heated in a furnace until they become soft and pliable in a molten state.
  • The molten glass rods are shaped and molded into basic bead forms using specialty metal tools and molds.
  • Formed beads are quickly placed into a secondary mold with angled edges to cut the glass.
  • Beads are pushed into the slicing mold edges to carve distinct V-shaped facets around the circumference.
  • Newly carved chevron beads undergo controlled cooling called annealing to prevent cracks and relieve internal stress.
  • Once fully cool, any remaining excess glass is removed from the beads with grinding or sanding.
  • Chevron beads are then cleaned, sorted by size/color and prepared for stringing into jewelry or crafts.
  • Additional post-production steps may include:
    • Applying metallic coatings for enhanced looks.
    • Adding decorative embellishments like tiny glass swirls.
    • Stringing perfectly matched beads into necklaces or bracelets to sell.
  • Final chevron beads exhibit light-catching, hypnotic optical effects from the multi-angled faceting.

The intense heat and repeated molding allows plain molten glass to transform into artful chevron beads with beautiful cut symmetry. It’s a meticulous process but creates dazzling results!

Potentials of Chevron Beads

  • Jewelry – Chevron beads are extremely popular for making necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, phone straps, bookmarkers and charms. They make perfect focal beads among rounds.
  • Clothing Embellishments – Sew chevron beads onto clothing, shoes, handbags and hats. Use singular large chevrons or strings of smaller beads for maximum impact.
  • Hair Accessories – Create dazzling hair clips, bands, ties, pins or extensions featuring bright chevron beads as lovely accents.
  • Home Decor – Stitch vibrant chevron bead designs onto throw pillows or tapestries. Or use them to make beaded curtain divides, lamps, candle holders and plant vases for visual interest. 
  • Weddings – Use chevron beads to add personal flair to everything from bouquets to ring pillows, unity candles and aisle markers for a modern wedding style.
  • Kids Crafts – Spark kids’ creativity by having them make beaded keychains, picture frames, toy jewelry and colorful art projects with safe plastic chevron beads. 
  • Glass Etching – Outline etched glassware designs like stemware or vases with eye-catching borders of chevron beads attached with clear adhesive.

Here are the Necessary Materials for Chevron Bead Jewelry Projects

  • Chevron Beads – The star of the show! Choose from glass, acrylic, wood, or plastic in colors and sizes for your designs.
  • Stringing Material – Nylon beading thread, SoftFlex wire, monofilament, leather cording work to string chevron bead designs.
  • Findings – Crimp beads, clasps, jump rings, headpins, eyepins needed to finish and secure jewelry.
  • Jewelry Tools – Flat nose pliers, wire cutters, crimp tools all help assemble and craft various components.
  • Bead Loom or Board – Useful surface for organizing beads into necklaces, bracelets or stitching patterns.
  • Adhesive – E6000 glue or UV resin helps attach chevrons to art canvases, sculptures, and craft decor.
  • Embellishments – Seed beads, glass nuggets, swarovski crystals enhance clustered chevron designs with accents.
  • Storage – Bead mats, divided trays, containers keep sorted beads tidy and easily accessible for future projects.

Having these essentials on hand allows endless creativity for necklaces, keychains, wall hangings and more featuring lustrous, light-catching chevron beads in all their faceted glory.

    Making Chevron Bead Necklace

    • Select your visionary design! Sketch necklace lengths, focal beads, and preferred metal colors for finishing caps and crimps. Gather desired supplies like beading wire, cutters and pliers.
    • Cut an appropriate length of steel beading wire like Tiger Tail or SoftFlex. Attach a closed jump ring on one end. This connects your chosen clasp later. 
    • String your pattern of chevron beads (glass/acrylic/wood) and round accent beads. Aim for approximately 18-20 inches or preferred dangling drop. Keep beads snug.
    • To secure the linear pattern, crimp the other wire end into a loop with crimps/crimp beads. Ensure tightness by flattening with chain nose pliers. Attach the open jump ring here for finishing. 
    • Now connect lobster claw, extender or toggle clasps using jump rings to the foundation loops on both wire ends. Add coordinating bead caps atop crimped sections for professional polish. 
    • Check necklace security and length by wearing. For extra stability, dab glue dots onto concerning links with E6000 adhesive. Let fully cure before gifting your handcrafted chevron bead strand!

    Playing with Fire and GlassThe Heat-Molded Origins of the Ever-Popular Chevron Bead


    • Use embroidery floss or strong nylon beading thread to stitch chevron beads onto jackets, jeans, hats, shoes, etc.
    • Try stitching chevron patterns – diagonal lines, zigzags, starbursts, flowers.
    • Anchor beads securely so they don’t snag or fall off.


    • Glue large individual chevron beads or pre-made clusters using strong fabric glue.
    • Good for t-shirts, skirts, headbands, handbags.
    • Let glue cure fully (24 hrs) before wearing.

    Beaded Fringe

    • Attach strings of chevron beads to clothing edges using bead tips or by knotting between each bead.
    • Add movement and interest to scarf ends, skirt bottoms, shoelaces.

    Other Ideas

    • Sew focal chevron beads onto lapels, collars, shirt hems.
    • Glue chevron clusters onto pockets for embroidery look.
    • Adhere large metallic chevrons along shoes straps or heels.

    Tips and Tricks While Using Chevron Beads


    • Use Large Hole Beads for Beginners – easier to string and less breaking/chipping risks.
    • Know Your Stringing Limits – only certain pound test threads can handle heavy glass beads.
    • Prevent Knotting – slide edges into bead tips, use silk thread or add seed bead buffers.


    • For dazzling clothes, glue chevrons way closer than seems workable while allowing to fully dry over 24 hrs.
    • Bulk string bunches then segment for earrings, dangles and layers to save time.
    • Mix extra cyanoacrylate adhesive into E6000 for ultra strong bond on high-stress points.

    Design Inspiration

    • Color block long necklaces with same-sized beads in long bands of color.
    • Outline clear glass cabochons with mini metallic silver or rainbow chevrons.
    • Use sets of 3-5 chevrons together like floral clusters amid single plain beads.
    • Add chevron dangles to standard stud earrings by wire wrapping individual beads.
    • Affix chevrons into mandala circles for dreamcatcher centrepieces to catch the light.
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