I absolutely love bead embroidery. It is like making a magnificent painting but using beads instead of paint! I usually create my pieces with an abstract design or random pattern, but there are times I want the symmetry of a design to be the most noticeable element. I’ve found two simple ways that really help ensure a piece will turn out perfectly symmetrical.
If you happen to have a simple picture or paint program on your computer you can use it create a general template for your bead embroidery piece. The first step is to create a very simplistic grid. Draw two straight lines that intersect in the center. This will form a “x-y axis” to plot your design.
Draw in a shape that will be a place holder for your focal bead. For example, if you plan on using a Swarovski Crystal Fancy Stone, draw a shape to represent its position. You can then draw in other elements to the right and left of this focal bead.
Once you have a few elements plotted on your template, print it out and transfer the markings to your Lacy’s Stiff Stuff beading foundation. Glue your Swarovski Crystal Fancy Stones into position with E6000 adhesive. Once your main pieces are locked into place you can then begin beading.
The second method is quick, easy and won’t require any computer expertise. On your beading foundation use a ruler to draw your x-y axis. Use a pencil so the marks will be concealed underneath the beads once they are stitched down. Place your focal on the intersection of the lines and then trace the shape of the crystal. I recommend flipping the Swarovski Crystal Fancy stone over onto its front side so it is easier to trace. Once the position of your focal bead is finalized place your other stones on the foundation. Move the crystals around until you find a location that looks best. You can then trace the crystal at this point. If you want to be really precise, remove the stones and measure the distance from the center of the tracing for your focal bead.
Create a new line on either side of your focal crystal using this measurement. This will ensure a nice symmetry. Once your planning is complete and you feel happy about the design glue your pieces into place. Once the glue is set you can begin the fun part – beading! One last tip. I find it works really well to sew down a few seed bead rows on one side then go to the opposite side to repeat the motif. It is easier to switch stitching on the left and right side as you progress rather than trying to recreate an entire finished design. You can use two sets of needles and thread for the left and right side so switching off is hassle free. For more tips please visit our Bead Embroidery Techniques page.
Happy Tuesday! – Rebecca