A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


It's Mary Stori back to share another trick I use to help my beading time go more smoothly.
You may be familiar with a 'bead mat'.....which I believe is nothing more than the material a Vellux blanket is made from.  For our purposes it's been cut into sections and resold at bead distributors or bead shops.  It's such a great product and one that will keep your beads from rolling around, making it faster and easier to pick them up with the needle.  Very useful when working at a table.
However, I rarely bead sitting at a table.  Instead, I'm plunked down on our denim couch....feet up on an old oak coffee table, bright light over my left shoulder, with the  big screen within easy view.  I used to place my bead mat on a shallow jelly roll pan, which acted as a lap board....but it got awfully cumbersome.  One day I came up with the idea of securing the bead mat in a small wood embroidery hoop.  PERFECT.....when the thread is long I can bring the needle to the hoop, when it's shorter...I can bring the hoop to the needle!
I also switched out the large, hard/cold metal pan in favor of a padded cutting mat.  The soft side sits on my lap, while the hard side acts as surface on which to rest my Q-snap frame.  The number and variety of beads used to create the wall quilt below is a good example of the importance of keeping the beads under control!
Heirloom Blush  8" x 12"
Artist hand-dyed and felted wool, hand embroidered and bead embellished.

So, if you prefer the comfort of a soft chair, you might want to give my method a try.  If you have helpful beading tricks, please share them!  I'll be back with one more post before I say goodbye and thank you for joining me.

Mary Stori

Author:  "Beading Basics", "All-in-One Beading Buddy", DVD -  "Mary Stori Teaches You Beading on Fabric", and "Embellishing With Felted Wool"
2004 Professional Teacher of the Year
Bernina Artisan


  1. Great tips! It's one thing to know how to attach the beads, it's another to know how to control the materials and remain comfortable. Sounds like it's time for a movie marathon

  2. A friend who makes beaded jewelry introduced me to the bead mat, which does help a lot to keep the beads from scattering everywhere! But I love that you have used a hoop to corral them even more... very clever!

  3. Oh, I like that hoop idea for corralling the beads. I've been using shallow ashtrays which have the same ability to come to the needle, but then I usually do all my beading while sitting at my work table. This is brilliant for beading in front of the tv.


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