Project of the Week: Bee’s Knees Pin, part 1

Have you checked out the new glass cabochons introduced this week? They are stunning! The cabochons are actually buttons without the shank and are perfect as a focal for bead embroidery or bezelling around. They are made in the Czech Republic by pressing hot glass into vintage molds.

This week’s project will be the start of a series to create a pin using a Trio of Bees, Celestial Gold, cabochon. We’ll go through the process step-by-step and so you can make your own pin. While I’ll select colours I like, please personalize your own creation using your favourite colours and additions.

My initial plan is to create a garden where you’ll find bees – so we’ll have some flower beads on the pin. Birds frequent gardens too, so I’ll add a Hummingbird bead to the pin. When planning your pin, allow yourself the flexibility to change your mind.

Applying the cabochon to the foundation

Cut a 4″ x 4″/10cm x 10cm of white GoodFelt beading foundation (you can also use Lucy’s Stiff Stuff). Don’t worry, your pin won’t be this large; you’ll be trimming it down.
Also, cut a circle of about 3/4″/2cm of the foundation. We’ll use this to fill some of the concave space on the back of the cabochon.

Apply a line of E600 Glue along the edge of the cabochon back. Place the cabochon, bee side up, in the centre of the foundation square, sandwiching the circle of foundation between the back of the cabochon and the foundation square. Allow to dry. I also place a weight (like a book) on top of the cabochon to ensure the glue has good contact with both the cab and the foundation.

Gathering your supplies

While the glue is drying, gather your beads. I’m using some size 11/0 seed beads and some size 8/0 seed beads. While I tend to use Miyuki or Toho beads, Czech seed beads work just as well. Use what is in your stash. With respect to colour, do you want lots of contrast or more of a monochrome look? There is no right or wrong – if you like it, it’s right! It’s helpful to ‘audition’ colours by placing them side-by-side. If possible, do it daylight so you get the true colours showing.

You’ll also need a beading needle and thread. Beading needles are a very personal choice. I prefer a longer needle I can hold onto; many experienced bead embroidery artists use shorter needles, called ‘sharps’. For thread, I like to use Miyuki or Toho One-G as they tolerate the roughness of the foundation and don’t fray easily.

Eventually, you’ll also need some ultra suede or faux suede to apply to the back of the pin. A pinback will finish the project. Sharp scissors will also be a must.

Planning your design

There are two thoughts on designing: planning it down to the last detail, and, allowing intuition to take over and letting yourself play. I tend to be a bit of both. Here is the drawing I created to get me started. I traced the outline of the cab and then drew concentric lines around it indicating rows of beading. I’ve also indicated where I think I want to place the flower beads and where I think my hummingbird will go. I say ‘I think’ because as I bead I may change my design, depending on what the beads want. As I said earlier, allow yourself the flexibility to change your mind.

Join me next week when we start to stitch our pin. We’ll go through adding beads around the cabochon and how to add the flowers. The following week’s blog will cover how to finish the project adding the backing and the pin.

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