February 22, 2011

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Beads and Sequins

Beaded embroidery is top on my list of techniques that I want to learn. Beading can be used for jewelry, clothing, and accessories; it can be done for small details or to cover an entire piece; it can be retro like a 50s sweater or en vogue like a the beading on a couture evening dress.

I had no idea where to start, but I found this great video using a simple Google search. It's about 3 minutes long, but it's worth watching.

If you don't have time to watch, here are the basics:

1. You can use any type of bead, but less 'flat' beads might need to be anchored with smaller beads and more stitching.
2. You will use primarily backstitch and couching stitches, but may use other simple stitches to anchor individual beads.
3. Avoid knots, and be careful to keep your stitches within the beaded area so that you won't cut any of the stitches when mounting the piece. (Especially important for jewelry.)
4. You can do bead embroidery onto paper, fabric, ribbon, etc.
5. Use nonwoven stabilizer (interfacing) on fabrics.

We have several talented beaders in our EtsyNEAT group as well, so I decided to ask a few of them for some tips.

ShonetteDaniels had several suggestions. She says that "using good lighting is essential. I use full spectrum day lights , good morning sun, and another full spectrum light with a magnifying lens on it ( saves the eyes just a bit!)."
(Beaded Cuff by ShonetteDaniels)

She suggests "a good beading needle-- paying a little more for them is worth it!"

She also mentioned the need for a strong thread, such as "Fireline" (which I added to my shopping list) and a strong base material. She said anything that won't pucker when repeatedly punctured with a needle will work, but specifically suggested "Lacy's Stiff Stuff". Thanks Shonette!
(Beaded Cuff by ShonetteDaniels)

Lody of HaverHillStudio is writing a series about bead embroidery on her blog, Lody's Beadworks. She's starting out with the materials and foundation preparation and plans to add more tutorials in the future. Be sure to follow her blog to get in on all the future tutorials.

(Above: Beaded pendant and earrings by HaverHillStudio)

(Below: Beaded cuff by HaverHillStudio)

Now I just have to make a trip to the store and choose a project!


  1. Great article Katie! Bead embroidery is so much fun - hope more embroiderers will try it. Be warn though, it's addicting - in a good way!:)

  2. Great post! I was planning on a beaded/jewelry treasury soon since we have so many members who do this!

  3. Great post! Definitely something fun and interesting to try sometime in the future!

  4. thanks for showing my tips and bead embroidery,

  5. Looking great. We have such a good, diverse group of stitchers here!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. We hope you'll enjoy the community here at EtsyNEAT!