I am brand new to beads. What’s the best way to get started?
Walking into a bead shop can be overwhelming. Of course, taking a beginner level class at our shop is always a good start. In a class, you will be slowly introduced to one or two aspects of beading by a skilled beading teacher. You and will be supported as an individual. You’ll also meet other beaders at your level and have FUN in a group environment! Click here for our current class listing.
However, for a variety of reasons, taking a class isn’t always a possibility. In that case, I recommend the book, Mastering Beadwork by Carol Cypher. This book is an excellent survey of all the off-loom beadwork techniques with projects at the beginner level.
Poppyfield Bead Company offers our customers support with their beading projects, at no charge. Feel free to stop in, bead in our open studio, or set up an appointment with our staff of bead artists for support. Click here for store location, hours and contact information.
How can I embroider with focal objects that have an uneven back – such as fossils, shells, etc?
I am very inspired by elements in the natural world, particularly fossils and shells. These make very unique focal objects in bead embroidery. The challenge is that they don’t lay flat on the beading foundation. Before I read about others’ techniques, I developed my own. I cut small squares of cardboard, beading foundation, or ultrasuede, and stack them to create a shim under the thinner parts. This is especially practical for my purposes, because it uses materials I already have on hand, it is clean and doesn’t “change” my object, and there’s no extra wait time to get started beading. Others use clay or other methods. You may want to investigate those.
What can I do to keep transparent focal items “bright” when using them for bead embroidery?
Some cabochons such as amber, amythest, or other items lose their natural beauty when glued directly to foundation, because light can no longer pass through them. My solution is to place a reflective foil between the cab and the foundation. Household aluminum foil works well, but you could also experiment with other metallic foils to create new effects.
What is the best nylon cord for elastic beadwork such as stretch rings and bracelets?
We like Opelon 0.7 mm with a big eye beading needle for weaving or stringing. It is stretchy and strong with good memory. It is made of Lycra / Spandex and is latex free. Remember not to crimp or glue. Tie knots with this excellent floss.
How can I incorporate beautiful buttons into my beadwork?
There are many interesting and beautiful buttons that are each a small work of art.
One way to make use of shank style buttons, especially the beautiful Czech glass buttons, is to use a wire cutter to clip off the metal shank. Then proceed to use the button as a focal piece in bead embroidery. You may need to shim the bottom if it is uneven. (See number 2 FAQ above.)
Shanks can also be used as a clasp with both thread and leather work, by creating a loop on the opposite end that goes over the button. Please note that thread must be covered completely with beads. Two-hole buttons work especially well with leather cord bracelets.