How to Bead Fabric




Introduction: How to Bead Fabric

About: Former Instructables employee CHECK OUT MY WORK

I am a self taught beader. I became interested in beading about 2 years ago when I wanted to spice up a shirt. So I went out and bought beading supplied and learned using trial and error. Then I got some beading books at a used book store; those are the best for finding cool books for making crafts!

(1) Beads – you can sew most beads to fabric. I use seed beads because they are small but these instructions should work for most beads.
(2) Beading Needle – these are longer and thinner than regular needles so they can go through small beads like seed beads. However, they are weaker than most needles so they can bend and break more easily. Make sure you don’t use a fabric that is too thick or tough (like leather, vinyl, etc..) because it will ruin the needle.

(3) Bead Spinner - use this to quickly add beads to your needle
(4) Beading thread– you can buy special beading thread (usually nylon) that is coated and specially protects the thread from fraying, knotting and tangling.
(5) Fabric – and fabric you want to bead that isn’t too thick (if using a beading needle)

Step 1: Thread Needle

Pull the thread through the  needle so the thread is double layered.  Tie the ends of the thread in a knot.

Step 2: Begin Beading

Pull the needle through the fabric so the knot is on the side you do not want to bead. Put a couple of stitches into the fabric to ensure the thread is secure.

Step 3: Stringing the Beads

You can add between 1-3 beads at a time. Adding fewer beads allows for more accuracy in the designs you make. Adding too many beads is much faster but if you add more than three beads the beads can come loose which is not good.

Step 4: Stringing the Beads 2

Push the beads down to the bottom of the thread so they are touching the fabric. You may want to pull the thread taught to make sure the beads are completely touching the fabric. Again, if you don’t do this the beads could become loose and snag on something or just look ugly.

Step 5: Attaching the Beads

Lay the beads down so all the beads are against the fabric. Take the needle and push the beads back so they start where the thread comes up from the fabric. Put the tip of the needle against the last bead that was strung and pull the needle through the fabric.

Pull the thread all the way through.

Step 6: Second Set of Beads

Thread the needle back through the fabric so it comes out right behind the last bead in the previous set of beads sewn to the fabric. Pull the needle and thread through the last bead that was added to the fabric.

Now the thread should be coming out of the last bead attached to the fabric and you are ensured that there will be no gaps between the beads already attached to the fabric and the new beads you will be adding.

Step 7: Repeat...

Follow the same instructions for Stringing the Beads and Sewing the Beads.

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    7 years ago

    I have a goal which is to create a collection of custom-made Chinese garments that have 14mm shell pearls (not glass, cultured or plastic) be sewn in rows onto the cuffs of sleeves. I hear that shell pearls are heavier than cultured pearls. Do you recommend a fabric that is best for bearing the weight of 14mm pearls?


    7 years ago on Step 2

    Maybe a note on how to finish off the thread would be good.


    10 years ago on Step 7

    Thank you - this is exactly the info I have been looking for. I have been a little intimidated by this project up until now!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    this is a great instructable! the video was real helpful too.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I'm so happy you like it! I have some cool ways to use this beading technique to make some fun stuff so keep an eye out.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    First off, great first instructable with a lot of good information. If you're using uncoated thread try rubbing it down with bees wax which is the traditional native american method, you can find it at craft stores or online.