When I was a kid, 10ish or so, I wanted something special to give to my school pals (just the girls of course, boys had cooties) on Valentine’s Day. Those little conversational hearts or store bought cards just wouldn’t do, so I begged my incredibly artistic mother to help me come up with something spectacular! We ended up making little glitter hearts –customized with each girl’s initial on it and then attached it to a bobby pin for a hair adornment. Needless to say she stayed up all night finishing all 29 masterpieces and they were a huge hit! I was the “cool” kid in class for about four days. Even as a youngster, personalization was important to me. I constantly searched for my name on a door plaque at the local drug store kiosk, which never happened due to the unusual spelling (thanks mom)! If only I’d known about beaded text embroidery back then . . .
Now, as an adult, I’m still jazzed by customization in my jewelry and beading embellishments and have even experimented with clothing. I think personalization is the ultimate in making someone feel special and adds another layer of heartfelt texture to any handcrafted piece, no matter the medium.
Embellish with Beaded Text Embroidery
Have you ever wanted to monogram a pillow; or add a splash of color to a jacket or tote bag? How about a bib type necklace with a certain inspirational word – out of beads? Nancy Eha takes center stage in teaching you the art of writing with seed beads! Customize a backpack or quilt with your own beady designs and take embellishing to new heights and textures with beaded text embroidery. Nancy leads you through every step of creating beautiful bead embroidery and teaches you a plethora of instructions and tips from bead selection and warnings about dyed beads to creating removable beading designs so you can wash the garment-no problem!
Here are Nancy’s Top 5 Tips from The Art of Writing with Seed Beads, her new beaded text embroidery course.
1. Groups of three
Use a three-bead increment. The smaller the number of beads applied per increment, the greater the control you will have over the direction and shape of the bead line.
To ensure that your beads lay flat as you embroider, pass the needle through the fabric at the end of the last bead, perpendicular to the fabric.
3. Maintain tension
Every time the needle and thread go through the fabric, hold the fabric and give the thread a tight tug for good tension.
4. Removing beads
Bead with double thread so that you can remove beads from the fabric without having to re-thread the needle. Pull on the last row of beads you put on until the eye of the needle is flush to the batting on the wrong side of the fabric. Then give a tug to pop the needle out and remove the unwanted beads. If the needle is stubborn, pull the thread back and forth through the hole in a sawing motion to open up the fiber on the fabric. After a few sawing motions, pull on the thread to allow the needle to pass through, eye first.
5. Smooth your lines
Smooth the beaded lines by running the needle and thread through all of the beads without putting the needle into the fabric.
Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned beader, you’ll have fun exploring Nancy’s beaded text embroidery techniques in her new course, The Art of Writing with Seed Beads. So grab some beads, curl up on the couch and have fun with Nancy!
Originally published February 2018. Updated October 2021,
Here’s more to get you going with Bead Embroidery!
Seed Bead Botany Online Workshop with Nancy Eha$19.99
Sashiko Bead Embroidery Dragonfly Online Workshop with Nancy Eha$19.99
Bead Text Embroidery Online Workshop: The Art of Writing with Seed Beads with Nancy Eha$19.99
Advanced Bead Weaving Series: Seed Bead Embroidery – Unusually Shaped Focals with Kinga Nichols Online Workshop$29.99
Advanced Bead Weaving Series: Seed Bead Embroidery – 3D Layering Bezels with Kinga Nichols Online Workshop$29.99
Advanced Bead Weaving Series: Seed Bead Embroidery – Troubleshooting with Kinga Nichols Online Workshop$29.99