Beadweaving Tutorial – How to do Ladder Stitch

Welcome to another free beadweaving tutorial here on Golden Age Beads! This post forms the next instalment of our beadweaving stitch series. If you missed our peyote stitch and right angle weave stitch tutorials, you can view them here. Today’s tutorial is on how to do ladder stitch.

This is a very easy stitch to learn and it often forms the base for other beadwork stitches such as herringbone stitch or brick stitch. Ladder stitch is created by sewing beads together side by side (or on top of one another) with the bead holes pointing outwards rather than facing each other. Ladder stitch works well with cube beads or cylinder shaped beads that are uniform in size.

For this tutorial, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Selection of 4mm cube beads in colors of your choice (we have used green and purple)
  • Beading needle (size 10 or 12)
  • Beading thread such as Nymo
  • Scissors to cut the thread
  • Optional stop bead (any other type of bead)

Thread your beading needle with the beading thread and if you want to, you can use a stop bead as your first bead to prevent your main beads from sliding off the end of the thread. You can choose any bead you like from your bead stash for your stop bead as long as you can tell it apart from your main beads for this project!

To make a stop bead, pick up your chosen bead and go back through it with your needle and thread in the same direction. Slide it down the thread until you have a 6 inch tail.

To begin ladder stitch, pick up two cube beads onto your needle and slide them down towards the stop bead if you have one.

Make sure the second cube bead is sitting right alongside the first cube bead and then go back through the first cube bead in the same direction as before so that your thread path forms a circle. Your cube beads should have their holes facing outwards like in this picture.

So that you have your thread coming out of the correct bead for the next step, you’ll need to sew back through the second cube bead again, in the same direction.

With your thread now coming out of that second cube bead, pick up another bead and repeat steps 2 to 3 – lining the third bead up next to the second one and going back through the second bead in the same direction. Go through the third bead again so that your thread is coming out of that one.

Repeat steps 2 to 4 to make a ladder of beads. Each bead should line up next to each other and have their holes facing outwards. It will actually look like a ladder by the time you’ve finished!

In this tutorial, we use one cube bead per row. If you want to try a variation of this project, pick up two cube beads per row. So in step 1, you could pick up 4 beads and go back through the first 2 beads – you would then have 2 beads in a row, side by side. Ladder stitch works best using 1 or 2 beads per row, because if you use any more, your beads in the middle of each row won’t be stable and they will move around.

I hope you enjoyed this free beadweaving tutorial! Please subscribe to our newsletter to be alerted of future posts like this. In the meantime, we’d really appreciate it if you’d take a moment to share this on Pinterest – and follow us on there for lots of beading inspiration!


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