Bead Embroidery Supplies: How to Use Brass Bead Embroidery Blanks

Brass bead embroidery blanks can be used to create beaded necklaces, pendants, collars, bracelets and earrings.

My first bead embroidery project was a bracelet cuff bracelet was stitched using a lightweight aluminum cuff bracelet form that I purchased as part of a kit from an online art supply company. That was back before I really knew how much I would enjoy bead embroidery, and I was hesitant to spend a lot of money on my bead embroidery supplies. After I had stitched up five or six of these bead-embroidered cuffs, I knew I was hooked on bead embroidery, and I also knew it was time to invest in some seriously good bead embroidery forms (or bead embroidery blanks) to make my work last.

Using a brass bead embroidery blank makes your finished bead embroidery pieces look better and makes them more durable, meaning they will hold up to wear and tear better. Sure, you can use something such as a stiff cardboard or poster board for the middle layer of your bead embroidery "sandwich," but it won't last as long with heavy wear.

To use a flat brass bead embroidery blank, the easiest thing to do is to lay the blank on your bead embroidery material (such as Nicole's Bead Backing or Lacy's Stiff Stuff) and trace around it with a permanent marker. When you make the trace, make sure to leave at least ¼" border around the brass blank to make sure that you'll have enough space for attaching your bead embroidery to your backing material (such as Ultrasuede or leather).

Creating bead embroidery pieces using cuff bracelet and collar forms is a little more challenging because the forms are curved and can't be laid flat on the bead embroidery material. It requires a few extra steps, but here's the best way to get your template:

Tape a piece of paper to the front of your brass form. You'll have to attach the tape to the back of the paper and the brass form. Then trace around the form on the paper using a permanent marker. If you get any marker on the brass form, just wipe it off using a clean damp cloth.

Cut the template out of the paper, working around the outside of the marker line.

Lay the paper template down on your bead embroidery material and trace around it. In the case of this collar, I used a couple pieces of double-sided tape to hold the paper template in place while I traced it.


Finally, cut out around the form (but not too close to the edge!) and you are ready to bead!

Diane Hyde, artist and owner of Designer's Findings, recommends that you make a paper template for each new brass bead embroidery blank that you use to accommodate any variations in the brass blanks. She also recommends giving a light cleaning to your brass collar and bracelet blanks before using them using just a little scrub with steel wool and mild soapy water.

You can find a wide range of sizes and shapes of brass bead embroidery blanks, unique jewelry-making findings, Lacy's Stiff Stuff, Ultrasuede bits and more through Designer's Findings.

Bead Happy!


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