Candy Garden Necklace




I scored some pretty little glass flower beads from Shipwreck Beads in WA.  I decided a seed bead embroidery would be the perfect background.  This technique is quite simple.  Of course, smaller pieces like pendants could be made more quickly. 

Step 1:

Basic beading supplies are needed.  I use 00 nymo, doubled, and size 12 beading needles.  Size 10 would work, too.  I stitch on heavy weight non woven interfacing.  Water erasable pens work well for drawing your design. 

Cut a 36" length of nymo.  Gently stretch it for a few seconds.  This relaxes it and keeps it from stretching after it  is sewn.  Then draw the thread through some conditioner a couple times.  I use thread heaven.  It really reduces tangling.

Work 3 or 4 backstitches to anchor the thread, come up at your starting point, and pick up 4 seed beads.  I have photo step by steps showing how the beads are stitched down.  Stitch down the 4 beads along the design line.  Stitch back up through the interfacing, coming up between the middle two beads.  Run needle through last two beads, snug up the stitch and pick up 4 more beads.  When you are through with a line or area, run a double thread through all lines of beads.  Begin and end all threads with 3 or 4 back stitches.

Step 2:

I arranged the glass flowers and leaves on the collar and basted them in place with some waste thread.  Then I anchored my thread on the back and stitched up through the beads, through the center of the flower, through a seed bead, and back through the flower and backing.

Step 3:

I painted a glue/water mixture on the back of collar to seal all the thread ends and stabilize the piece.  After it dried, I basted it to a felt backing.  Then I stitched a single row of beads all around the edges of the collar.  Leave the end you will be putting the loop on unstitched. 

Trim away the fabric even with the outer edge of beads.  Be very careful to not cut threads.  Leave some fabric at the end not sewn yet.  I used a piece of 1/4" wide elastic for my loop.  Stick the ends into the collar between the beads and the felt backing, and back stitch beads across the end.  

Step 4:

The finishing touch is an edging of beads around the whole collar.   I have step by step photos of the process.

Anchor your thread with 3 or 4 backstitches.  Keeping thread on the back of the piece, pick up two seed beads.  Arrange the beads side by side along the edge and stitch from front to back  close to the edge.  Bring the needle back up through the second bead.  Snug the beads into place.  Pick up another bead and stitch through the edge front to back and back up through the bead.  Pull thread up close, but not too tight.  When you get around to the starting bead, run your thread through the first bead and through the fabric from front to back.  Secure stitching with back stitches.

Step 5:

I stitched on a button for the closure, and it is done.  I love the texture of the embroidery.  Be careful not to stitch the rows of beads too close to each other.  If the rows crowd each other the piece will not lay flat, and it is fewer beads to be sewn, also.  I hope you enjoy this technique.



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    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I learned from you instructable and this is what I came up with. My biggest problem was the edging. I could not get the beads to sit consistently one direction partly because I used spare cotton sheet fabric that wasn't as thick as your fabric? I think also the darn beads were different sizes. They are glass beads. If you see anything that I need correcting on please answer. I made it into a pendant and painted the back and mod podged it. Turned out pretty anyway and not too long to do in small bites. I can NOT imagine doing something so large though, WOW!! Yours is beautiful and thanks for sharing.

    nice bead pendant 1.JPGnice bead pendant 1.JPG
    4 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You can get special material for bead embroidery. It is called Lacy's Stiff Stuff. I use the heavy weight pellon interfacing because I use a lot of it in the sewing I do and have a lot around, and think the other stuff is too expensive. I back it with felt to give the edge the thickness and stability to keep the beads lined up.

    I really pick through the seed beads. There are always beads a little bigger or a little smaller than most in the box. I use these in situations where I need less or more than a bead to fill a space.

    Even though I did not paint the back of this piece, I usually do. It is good stability for the piece. I think the mod podge is a good idea. It looks to me like you got the beads on the edge lined up pretty well. If I space the beads too closely, they do not lay flat. I broke a bead out of the Candy Garden Necklace because I had too many in the line and it was all buckled up.

    I really like what you did. Thank you for sharing. Deb


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Do you use the felt after doing the bead work just for the edging or do you use it for the whole project?

    Thanks again.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I use heavy weight non woven interfacing for the main part of the bead work. It is sturdy and you can easily draw your design on. And I have a lot of it laying around. The felt is used to cover the threads that will inevitably show from the embroidery, and is only stitched on around the edge. I think the felt would be too thick for seed beads. It gives a good bulk around the edge for the bead edging. A tightly woven cotton fabric would work well, too. There is a product called Lacy" Stiff Stuff that is made for bead work. I have not used it. Honestly, I think it is expensive and prefer to use what I already have.

    I hope this helps. I enjoy seeing pictures of your work. Deb


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your vote! I know the pastel colors are not always popular, but I seem to gravitate toward them. I am glad to hear others like them, too. Deb