Beading Surfaces: What do you use?

When I talk about beading surfaces, what do you think of?

I started beading the traditional way, with needle and thread (peyote, square stitch, right angle weave)! Then I branched out to stringing, done with crimps, and beading wire. Was that enough for me? Heck no!

I joined the Bead Journal Project in 2008 (or so), then started beading on a heavy weight stabilizer, called Peltex (it stiffens the bills of baseball caps). Then, I discovered Lacy’s Stiff Stuff, Flexi-Firm, stiffened felt, and Good Felt! All good beading surfaces, but there’s more!

beading surfaces
beading surfaces
beading surfaces

I beaded on (or around) small beach stones, driftwood, wooden beads, fabric and paper collage, Ultrasuede, art quilts, wet felt, fabric paper, shipping tags, doll forms made from wool felt, paper, perforated metal forms, clothing, and even leather (although I find that challenging)! I beaded with thread, on empty spaces, and have even thrown a few beads in with resin, and concrete, for effect! Here are a few photos of some of my favourites!

beading surfaces
beading surfaces
beading surfaces
beading surfaces


beading surfaces


beading surfaces

As I love intuitive bead embroidery, I generally reach for one of the heavy weight stabilizers! They’re all fairly similar, but I try to pair the stabilizer, with how heavily encrusted my beading will be. Trial and error will  teach you what really works! Lacy’s is a good, strong, overall backing, and BeadFX does carry it. We also carry Good Felt, Ultrasuede, and Faux Suede, for those that prefer to work on a coloured, or textured background. Colour has never been an issue for me, because my bead embroidery is quite dense.

beading surfaces
beading surfaces

I always use Miyuki, Hana, One-G (Toho), or K.O. threads for my bead embroidery projects. Fireline is another option, but I prefer to use it for traditional Beadweaving. But not for fringe! Fringe is best made with thread, for ease of movement. Fireline just ends up too stiff for that.

The beading surfaces that I’ve had the most fun on, are the stones, driftwood, and the small wooden beads that I cover with freeform peyote.I don’t really bead into these surfaces, but I instead, I cover them with fabric, or even just beads and threads.

beading surfaces

I want to do more stitching on driftwood, but I’ll need to pull out my trusty Dremel. I’ll probably ignore the leather for a while, because it just isn’t speaking to me. It might be because I’ve been working on the wrong leather, but I think that I’ll wait until I find the right project.

I know someone who has even stitched on bread! I have no desire to stitch on something that may mold, or eventually fall into a tangle of crumbs and thread. But good for her! There’s nothing wrong with experimentation! She didn’t use beads, but you could do that too. I have seen beaded orange peels (dried ones), but I’m not prepared to move in that direction. I plan to stitch, and bead on some leaves, but that’s for the future!

I’ve need to start my next Bead Journal Project series, and I think that I’ll bead some smaller 3-D objects. I want to start on them soon, but I’m still busy with my #stitchmeditations, and #100day project. Do you think that I’ve been too ambitious this year?

Do you want to learn how to cover large wooden beads (Whimsical Freeform Peyote Beaded Beads), add them to fabric collage (Stitch Meditations), or try out my favourite intuitive bead embroidery surface (Beading Without A Net, Intuitive Bead Embroidery), I have classes coming up in May and June. I’d love to see you there!

beading surfaces
Stock in store soon!
beading surfaces

Stitch Meditation pieces, could be more heavily beaded, and would look fabulous as decorative patches on clothing, or bags (jeans, jean jackets, purses, etc.). Join them together to make a book, box, small wall hanging, needle case, or even a cover for your tablet, phone, or laptop! Chill out, relax, and make something decorative, and useful!

Which beading surfaces are you currently using, and have you ever considered working with alternative ones? Are you using anything that I haven’t covered? If so, I’d love to know which ones!!

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