Thursday, September 28, 2017

2017 Thursday Bead Post #30: Bead Embroidery

There is an enormous amount of information and a wide variety of styles when it comes to Bead Embroidery. I usually use it for showcasing the beauty of cabochons. If you have seen my Etsy shop or Facebook page you might know I have a current obsession with Lisa Peters Art Cabs (one of which I should have used for this tutorial, but didn't). I actually used a pretty Ocean Jasper Cab for my example piece, it reminded me of nature and fall! Nancy Dale from the group I mentioned last week was nice enough to remind me that there isn't a wrong way to do bead embroidery so I am going to go with that in mind and show you how I did it, with a few good links here and there from others! Here is the cab I embroidered for this week:

I start my bead embroidery with a cab of some kind glued to a beadable substrate. I use Pellon Ultra firm stabilizer that I can get easily at fabric and craft stores. I have found it comes in black and white. The white can be dyed or colored to match- to get a good match for the color of the beads I am using and to fill gaps where it shows through I use Sharpies. I have heard/read that Lacy's Stiff Stuff is a great substrate to use, and it is featured in the videos I suggest, but I have always found it seems to be expensive compared to what I use. See my disclaimer, but for something you are covering up, why pay a premium?! Now on to the example pictures!

Here is my Ocean Jasper cab glued to black Pellon (please forgive the cat fur, that is an unavoidable thing in my house).

For this example I used size 11 seed beads and back stitched around the cab.
Firemountain Gems has a picture tutorial showing how to backstitch and Beadaholique has a video. The important thing to remember, that I still have to remind myself, is to make sure you stitch down an even number of beads, otherwise a second row of Peyote won't work!

I added the second row with Peyote to start create the bezel around the cab, Potomac Bead Company has a video that shows how to add this row (the adding of the row starts about 4:45 in). Adding this row is the same as doing even count Peyote just around in a circle.

For this cab I needed to add another row. Thinner cabs might require less rows, or a row of smaller beads like 15's. Larger/thicker cabs might need a bunch of rows to create a good looking bezel- each cab is different!

For this example cab I added one more Peyote row and tried to be fancy and go every other bead for a zig-zag effect like this cab which is for sale in my Etsy shop. Instead I ended up with a sort of top half zigzag, bottom half straight peyote look. I liked it enough to keep going and kept it. This is part of the fun of Bead Embroidery for me, finding out where I am going as I get there! :)


For the next row I tried something new and used some Czech two holed brick beads as a surrounding row. This row is added in the same way as the back stitch row only I used bricks and 11's instead of all 11's.

I then added 3mm beads in between the outside holes of the brick beads. I adapted the back stitch and tacked the outside beads down to the Pellon as I went. This is only one way to do it- sometimes I string all the beads then go back and tack them down from the underside. As Nancy said, there is not a wrong way! I did have to adapt this row- If you look closely at the sides you can see that the 3mm beads wouldn't fit in between all of the bricks so I left them out on both sides. As long as it turns out symmetrical I like it!

I decided that I liked the way the bricks framed the cab and tacked them all down to the Pellon. Then I brought the remaining thread up through so that when I trimed the edge it didn't get cut off.

Beadaholique has a video showing how to trim around and attach the backing. The most important part of this step is to be careful not to clip the threads from previous stitches and make sure that the shape you end up with is smooth.

For this cab I used a neutral leather as the backing. This is my backing of choice since I have a bunch of it. The area I live in has a grand history of furniture making, so I have been lucky to find a good amount of scrap leather at yard sales and thrift stores.

Where I disagree with the video is on the application of the glue. I use E6000 (in a well ventilated area) because it is durable and long lasting. I also don't spread it with my finger :) I do agree that the glue should not go all the way to the edge, it makes adding the edge nearly impossible if you have to pass through dried glue everytime. Most cabs I make get set aside for a day or two at this point for some airing out and glue curing time.


After the glue is dry I add the edging. The edging is what sandwiches the Pellon and the backing and covers where they meet. Jamie Cloud Eakin has a YouTube video that shows how to do the edging I used on this cab. I call it Brick Stitch edging since it is done in basically the same way as brick stitch. She has several good videos about bead embroidery, I would suggest checking them out if interested!


I didn't add a bail or any finishing to this cab because I am going to use it again for next week and add some fringe to it! See you then!

I am not affiliated with, paid by, or endorsed by anyone. By posting about beading and/or beading products I am not claiming to be an expert, nor am I suggesting the way that I do anything or the products I use are the best/correct/only way. All opinions expressed here are mine, and aren't meant to be taken as anything more than an opinion or suggestion from some stranger on the internet 😀

Coming weeks: 

October 5th: Fringe

October 12th: African Helix

October 19th: Carolina Spiral (something different)

Thanks for reading & Happy Beading -Beth

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