Monday, January 19, 2015

On My Table: Bead Embroidery

In just a few more weeks I'll be embarking on the bead cruise.  This will be my second time attending this fun event!  Each year there is a themed party and Queen of Hearts/Alice in Wonderland is the 2015 theme.  I wanted to make a necklace for my party outfit and I selected bead embroidery as the medium.
After digging through my stash of beads and mixed-media stuff, I found a Mad Hatter cabochon I had purchased years ago.  You know those things you buy at the moment but have no idea what you'll do with them?  Yeah, that was one of those purchases.  
There was a slight issue I had to fix though before I got started.  The back of the cabochon was hollow because it was made as a pin without the pinback. I needed a nice flat back so that I could glue a solid base to the beading foundation. I found some leftover epoxy clay and mixed a bit of it up to solve this problem.
After I put the epoxy clay in, I scored a few lines with a piece of wire.  This was just to give the glue some extra grip once the piece was attached to the beading foundation.
After the epoxy clay cured and the piece was glued to the foundation, I sewed on my base row using silver-lined red seed beads.
To make this small piece pop, I selected "galvanized starlight" seed beads for the bezel row.  
The opaque black seed beads I chose for the next row, hid some of the base rows red beads...
My original plan was to use size 8/0 galvanized starlight beads for the basic edge, but then I found these 8/0 flame red beads instead.  They helped bring more red back to the piece after the base row became somewhat hidden.  
And this is where I currently am with the pendant.  I still need to add fringe and a bail.  I already have some czech daggers selected for the fringe.   I've been working on this little by little each night after completing a days work in the studio.

If you'd like to give bead embroidery a try, I highly recommend the following:

Beading with Cabochons by Jaime Cloud Eakin-excellent book with all the info you need to get started.  Detailed instructions and VERY easy to follow

Beadaholique-great retail site that features free video tutorials. They have an entire section of videos dedicated to bead embroidery

Happy Beading!


  1. Oh, splendid!

    I embroidered the Queen on my blue jeans jacket in 1975, along with the Cheshire cat. I passed it on to my daughter and now it is in her deep storage waiting to be passed on to her child someday, whenever that child appears.

    It is almost like "an air traffic controller in the sky" leads us to buy and/or make certain things with not firm eye to the future!

  2. Really great idea! Time to go 'cabochon hunting' in my stash!

  3. This looks so cool. Makes me want to give it a try....

  4. Linda, I feel the same - It looks like so much fun. I love the design Diana. <3

    1. ...and interesting use of the epoxy clay - I would never have thought of that!

  5. I hope you post a picture of the finished piece. You did a great job! Thanks for the tip on how to create a solid back.

  6. Love it! And what a clever way to make the back solid. Even though I love what others do with bead embroidery, I still have no desire to try it...

  7. Hi Diane, bead embroidery is my favorite thing to do. I agree that there is no better source than Jamie's books to learn bead embroidery from. I own all five of them and refer to them often. Her new book on fringe is what I am currently reading. Your mad hatter piece is way cool. I am looking forward to seeing it completed.

  8. I learned something new so now I have to add epoxy to my wish list!


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