Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bead Embroidery Resources

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I've been making bead embroidered jewelry for about four months now. I've come a long way since those first simple pieces, and bead embroidery has quickly become my favorite form of creative expression.

(Red Galaxy by Saturday Sequins)

Today I'm going to share the great resources I've found. That way, if you haven't tried bead embroidery and would like to, you'll know where to start -- and how to take your embroidery in exciting directions. I've also provided some examples of bead embroidery for inspiration.

I divided many of the resources into jewelry and non-jewelry embroidery. Both are worth checking out, since there's a lot of overlap between them, and both are positively gorgeous!

Books/Instruction (Jewelry)

1.) Beading With Cabochons by Jamie Cloud Eakin is the first book I read, and it's my favorite guide to beading around flat-backed stones for several reasons. One, she takes you through every step of the beading process, from gluing down the stone to attaching the backing, in detail. Even nervous newcomers will feel confident. Two, she covers a number of edging and attachment techniques to take a reader from beginner to intermediate. And three, she goes beyond the projects in her book and discusses designing your own -- essential for the bead embroidery artist!

Note: her technique for creating beaded bezels is different from the other technique I've seen, which is to create bezels out of circular peyote stitch. You may find it worthwhile to learn both ways!

2.) Dimensional Bead Embroidery is another book by Jamie, and it's the perfect companion to her first book. It's more technique than project-based because it's a reference guide, so it's bound to appeal to others who, like me, prefer working on their own projects to focusing on the ones in books. There's enough material to keep even an experienced beader busy and inspired, since she features a number of techniques that I haven't seen in any of the other books on this subject, including her first book.

(Also, The Beading Gem posted a wonderful review of this book.)

3.) Every Bead Has A Story by Cyndi Lavin of Beading Arts is a wonderful resource. Not only is the first chapter of this ebook free, but it covers everything you need to know about bead embroidery, including some techniques not found in the Eakin books.

Her other chapters are a must-have, too, because they take bead embroidery in some truly unique and creative directions, like combining bead embroidery with thread embroidery and painting your own background fabrics.
(Dark Lady by Cyndi Lavin)

4.) The Art of Bead Embroidery by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini. One thing I've learned about bead embroidery is that every artist has a different method, and it's helpful to expose yourself to as many as possible. Sometimes a method you learn from one teacher might not sink in, but another will, and different projects can call for different approaches.

Some people, including my friend Dawn Marie Doucette, prefer this book to Beading With Cabochons, and some people prefer Beading with Cabochons. Personally, I like the hand-holding of Eakin's book, but I also love the projects in this one -- including beaded collars and cuffs. It also offers two different perspectives on bead embroidery for the price of one!

Note: This is a good place to learn the circular peyote method of creating bezels.

(Brownie by Dawn Doucette)

Books/Instruction (Non- Jewelry)

1.) Bead and Sequin Embroidery Stitches by Stanley Levy. I borrowed this book from the library, and when I returned it after renewing it the maximum number of times, it was like letting go of an old friend. It's just that good.

Stan's instructions are thorough and easy to understand, and his projects are beautiful -- and so is his subject matter! This is a great book to read if you want to know what sequins can really do.
2.) One Bead At A Time
by Robin Atkins. Robin intended this book to be more about inspiration and healing, and if you read this post, you'll find that she didn't want to focus so much on technique and added that section at the request of a supplier.

That said, this free downloadable book is something you'll want to read if you're interested in the art therapy aspect of beadwork, if you'd like to look at some stunning work, and if you want to explore beading not just for jewelry making, but for other projects like beaded bags.

3.) Beaded Embellishment by Amy Clarke and Robin Atkins. This book is a favorite of Lisa Binkley, a very talented bead embroidery artist, and it's one I've been meaning to add to my collection for a long time.

(Adoration by Lisa Binkley.)


1.) Beadaholique offers a series of free, detailed videos on how to bead a cabochon, and they are the best, most beginner-friendly video tutorials I've seen. It's like taking a class!

2.) Dawn's video, How To Do Bead Embroidery, gives a lovely overview of the bead embroidery process.

3.) Ann Benson of Beads East offers another wonderful overview of bead embroidery called Bead Embroidery Basics. Ann also offers some free instructions on her website.

Note: this is another good place to learn the circular peyote beading technique.

4.) Cyndi Lavin also offers tutorials on her blog. This is one of my favorites. So is this.

(Calypso by Cyndi Lavin)

5.) Robin Atkins tackles some emotional aspects of beading, like what to do if you don't like a project you're in the middle of.

6.) Tochka Cborki's Livejournal entry is a wonderful tutorial, whether you're fluent in Russian or not. Excellent photography!


1.) Whimbeads is a supplier of seed beads and beading materials, including needles, Nymo thread, chain, and glass beads.

2.) Beyond Beadery is another supplier of seed beads and beading materials. Including Lacy's Stiff Stuff, Ultrasuede, HUGE spools of Nymo, and brass blanks for making cuffs!

3.) Cartwright's Sequins. I buy most of my sparklies here. They're inexpensive, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, finishes, and colors.

4.) A Grain of Sand is a source of vintage sequins and cabochons that fiber artist Susan
shared with me.

(My Other Great Love by Susan Elliot)

5.) Mary Tafoya sells vintage sequins and rhinestones in her Etsy shop.

Nicole's BeadBacking. I love this stuff! I finally had a chance to try it, and I reviewed it here. Dawn prefers Nicole's to Lacy's because it doesn't fray as much. Nicole's blog is also a source of inspiration because she features customers' work, and she's a talented artist, herself.

Brandywine Jewelry Supply was recommended to me by an expert wire wrapper and all-around nice man, John Penning, as a source of cabochons. After seeing John's work up close, I can tell you that the stones are good quality. They're also not outlandishly expensive, which makes them perfect for the beginner who doesn't want to spend a fortune, but who wants a good product.

8.) Art Glass Cabochons by Sandy is an Etsy shop recommended to me by Dawn. Take a look, and you'll see that each cab is a tiny work of art!

(Wolf pendant, by Dawn Doucette.)

9.) Empyrean Beads is where Susan gets her tiny gem stone beads.

(Flight Delay by Susan Elliot)

10.) Shipwreck Beads is Susan's source for strung sequins and beads for tambour embroidery -- something I'll discuss in more detail next Friday!

11.) Fields Fabrics in Michigan is where Lisa buys her Ultrasuede, and they have several locations.

12.) The Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in June is where Lisa goes for stocking up on beads and for inspiration, and it's also an event I look forward to all year long. There are seed beads, there are cabochons, there are glass and stone beads, there are sequins... and there is so much eye candy. Everything you need to bead!

Fried in France is where Shirlee Fassell bought most of her sequins. Be warned -- it's easy to spend a fortune there, since there's a minimum order!

(Photo taken by Shirlee's husband.)

14.) Shirlee recommends Berger Beads as a sequin source.

15.) Accessories of Old is another place she recommends for sequins.

16.) Gary Wilson
. Wow, Gary Wilson. I've seen his work in person several times at Bead and Button, and I'm always impressed. I recommend his stones for anyone who's ready to work with more expensive and unique cabs.

17.) Jen over at Beading Daily loves Lacy's self-adhesive pattern sheets. Great for printing your own bead embroidery designs!

Additional Inspiration (Jewelry

Here are more people to learn from and be inspired by!

1.)Laura McCabe, whose work is amazing. I love the way she uses glass eyes in her work!

2.) Edda Blume, whose work I just discovered. Stunning!

3.) Sigifredo Contreras, whose jewelry work I discovered through Pinterest. He has such a sense of shape, color and design! His website is here.
4.) Debbie Rasmussen, whose work I found through Cyndi. Debbie is largely self-taught, which blows my mind, considering the complexity of her work.

(Moon Goddess by Debbie Rasmussen -- note the sequins!)
5.) Dixie Gabric does such beautiful work!

Additional Inspiration (Non-Jewelry)

1.) Thomas Atkins, brother of Robin Atkins. His beaded quilts blow my mind!

2.) Embroidery: Italian Fashion by Federico Rocca, published by Damiani, is one Shirlee loves for inspiration. It's full of pictures of beautiful beaded and sequined dresses.

3.) Robin Atkins has another book, Hearts To Hands Bead Embroidery, which is available on Amazon in addition to her website.


1.) Mary Tafoya is a huge fan of sequins and even teaches classes on beading with sequins! Check out her site for more information, and check out the Squidoo page she created with her own embroidery resources.

2.) Lisa Binkley has three pieces in the Museum of Wisconsin Art for their exhibit entitled Uncommon Threads: Contemporary Wisconsin Textiles. Next Friday she's giving a gallery talk as part of the exhibition opening, so stop by if you're in the area!

3.) Lauren of The American Duchess
has a great blog post on the history of sequins! Complete with gorgeous photos. Thanks to Melissa Creamer for pointing this out to me.
4.) Maneki has compiled her own list of bead embroidery books -- there are some I haven't included here!
(Rainbow Cuff by Saturday Sequins)

There we have it! Everything you need, and more, to get started in bead embroidery. Special thanks to Dawn, Lisa, and Susan for their input and the use of their work in this post, Shirlee Fassell for letting me share her resources and photo of Fried, and to Debbie Rasmussen and Cyndi Lavin, who let me share their pieces. All of you are fabulous artists and fabulous people!

Your Turn. I'd love to hear about your favorite books, artists, tutorials and suppliers, as well as any tips and tricks you'd like to share. And if you'd like to share this post with your friends so we can add more voices to the conversation, I'd be very happy!

Happy beading, and have a sequintastic day!


  1. Wow! What a terrific resource this post is! I love annotated bibliographies and book reviews - thanks for sharing!

    While I've done some bead embroidery in the past, it's not truly my 'thing', so I'm afraid I don't have any new links to share. But I will definitely pass this along.

    1. Thank you, Karen! It took me almost the whole month of March to put this together. :)

      If you'd like to share any tutorials or books on bead weaving, that would also be helpful -- I find myself wanting to expand my skills in that area so my necklace strands are more exciting.

  2. Excellent post, I'm excited to explore all the links you have shared. Thank you. It's very inspiring!

    1. I'm glad this post was inspiring to you, Mary! I bet you'd excel at bead embroidery the way you excel at wire art. :)

  3. This is a very informative post thank you for posting it. I have been so involved in checking out the links that I forgot to post a comment. I do a little bead embroidery and it is something I want to do a lot more of. I have a couple of the books you mentioned and they have been very helpful.

    1. I'm glad you found this post helpful, Therese!

      Bead embroidery is so much fun. I can understand wanting to do more of it. :)

      Also, I just heard that Heidi Kummli is publishing a bead embroidery book of her own! It's on my list of things to buy, and I'll let you know what I think of it. :)

  4. Wow! Thank you so very much for including my e-books and work in your list here. I'm very flattered, and I'm also excited to look at some of the resources you've shared that I don't know, like Cartwright's Sequins :-)

    1. You're so welcome, Cyndi! Thank you for providing so many great resources for this post. :)

      You'll love Cartwright's. They're amazing!

  5. Thank you for this. I'm really interested in starting bead embroidery and have been daunted by all the information. This is a good list, very good. I'll keep it handy. Thanks.

    1. Sally, I'm glad I could help you out! As you get started, if you have any questions, send me an email -- I'll be happy to help or direct you to someone who can. :)

  6. Excellent resources! Thanks for taking the time to put it all together. Will share on FB and Twitter.

    1. Thank you, Pearl! It took a long time to put this together, but it was so much fun. :)

      Thank you for sharing! I truly appreciate it. <3

  7. What a fantastic resource, Sarah! Thank you so much for taking the time to put it together. Your work is a beautiful reflection of all that you have been learning from these. I definitely need to bookmark this or print for future reference. I haven't done much bead embroidery, but want to get back to it eventually. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks, Carol!

      I've included a link to this post in the Favorite Posts page I created today, right at the top of the list, in case you need to find it again. :)

      When you do get back to bead embroidery, I'll be excited to see what you make!

  8. Thanks for listing my shop and blog and squidoo stuff. We must be kindred hearts. :-) I gotta tell ya I love the colors in your Rainbow Cuff -- the randomness of it, yet the careful placement of everything to get that look. Scrumptious!

    1. Mary, you're welcome! Thanks for having such great resources and for giving sequins the attention they deserve. <3

      Thank you for your compliment on the cuff! I really do love how it turned out. :)

  9. Sarah, thanks so much for all of the terrific information you have compiled and shared, and thanks for including my artwork and the link to my site! I'm excited to explore the links you've shared. The photos, lists of books, and other resources are wonderful.

    1. Lisa, you're very welcome, and thank you for letting me include Adoration! I wasn't kidding when I said it was one of my favorite pieces ever. :)

      Also check out Cyndi's updated list of suppliers on her blog -- she lists a supplier that carries dichroic-coated seed beads! It's a fairly recent post.

  10. What an incredible list of links you've included here, & some lovely work, too ;)

    1. Thank you, Emma! It took a long time to put this together, but it was a lot of fun, and including other people's art made it so much better. :)

  11. What a great resource guide. The Eakins books are two of my favorites. and I'd love to take a private lesson with Heidi Kummili.

    Will definitely check out some of the resources for beads you listed (even though I need nothing!)

    1. Thanks, Sklyar!

      I'd love to take a private lesson with Heidi, or with Sherry. I really wanted to take her master class at Bead and Button this year, but I don't have 1100 dollars!

      I know what you mean -- I have more beads and sequins than I could use in a lifetime! And still, I shop. ;)

  12. I'm very impressed with your necklace up there! You've only been embroidering for 4 months? That's great! And the rainbow cuff is super cute :)

    1. Thank you so much, Heidi!

      I think it helped that I'd been doing thread embroidery. And also, you know, that I'm a perfectionist with OCD. ;)

      I'm glad you like the cuff! It's getting a collar to match.

  13. Thanks Sarah for mentioning me in your post and for your kind words , I love that you did this, lots of good resources, resources that I will be using I am sure time and time again. Again you rock!!!

    1. Debbie thank you for letting me use your beautiful necklace! You rock, too, and I'm glad I created a resource that will be useful to you! <3

  14. This is a great post. Thanks for adding me to your wonderful list. Once you use Nicole's BeadBacking you won't use anything else. OK so I am a bit partial. LOL

    1. Thanks, Nicole! It was my pleasure to add you to the list. :)

      I can't wait until I have money in the bank so I can try Nicole's BeadBacking. I love that it comes in different colors!

  15. Your work is stunning! I love beads and I keep saying I'm going to try it out in some fashion. This is a wonderful resource! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi, Heather!

      Thank you so much for your compliment! I'm glad this post could be useful to you. Once you get started on beadwork, I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. :)

  16. Thanks, Sarah, for this fabulous list, annotated with your comments and pictures! I agree with Heather, your work is stunning... You have come a very long way in a short time! Bravo!!!

    I'd like to add that my new book, The Complete Photo Guide to Beading (read about it here: is REALLY complete! It covers many different methods for bead embroidery, bead weaving and bead stringing. I'm so trilled! It's the book my students and every bead-crazed-gal I know has been asking for... forever! I hope to see it on your resource list when it is available (winter 2012)!

  17. Robin, thanks so much for stopping by and for your wonderful praise about my work -- it means so much coming from someone who's such an accomplished bead artist!

    I'm so, so excited about your upcoming book. You can bet that I'll buy it and that I'll add it to my resources list. Is it Winter yet? How about now? :)

  18. Thank you so much for listing all of these resources. I am new to bead embroidery so this will be really helpful! --Diane

    1. You're so welcome, Diane! I'm glad I can help! :)

  19. Thank your for this comprehensive list of resources. I'm sure there will be sequins in my work and now I know where to go for supplies. Your blog and your work is so inspiring.

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