How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf

Written by kathy arellano
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf
Add a touch of glamour with beads and sequins. (my soft scarf image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from

A beautiful hand-painted silk scarf is considered wearable art. To embellish it with beads and sequins adds a new artistic touch as well as a subtle sparkle. Stitching red, white and blue bugle and pearl beads into an American Flag motif can transform that simple blue bandanna into a patriotic headscarf. Attach beads and sequins to a fringed hip scarf and dance the night away. No matter what kind of scarf you decorate, it's guaranteed to be an eye-catcher. Here's how to dress up the delicate water lily on a painted silk scarf.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sewing kit
  • Beeswax
  • Beading needle
  • Beads
  • Work surface
  • Small towel
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Purchased scarf

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Purchase the beads. From the many types and sizes of beads (tubes, balls and discs) available, select two or three categories that lend themselves to the water lily pattern. If you choose to fill in the petals, buy seed beads in the various colours needed. To indicate sparkles in the water, buy aurora borealis sequins--they will add shimmer without opacity. If you wish only to outline the shapes, bugle beads cover a distance more quickly because they are tubes instead of balls. Consider adding a crystal bead at the centre of the lily.

    How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf
    Buy beads in the colours of the flower and greenery. (water lily image by Ni Chun from
  2. 2

    Prep your work space, tools and project. You'll need a 3-foot square flat work space that you've covered with a small towel to keep wayward beads corralled. Place the beads in individual finger-friendly containers--shallow glass votive candle holders work well. Insert a 24-inch piece of thread into the eye of the needle, pull through and bring both thread ends together; do not tie a knot in the ends. If you're using regular cotton, slide the beeswax over the thread once to coat lightly. Decide which area you want to bead first; place the embroidery hoop according to product directions around the chosen area and snug the fabric down evenly. Test the needles to make sure they fit through the beads before you begin.

    How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf
    Keep beads organised and segregated. (beads image by Gina Smith from
  3. 3

    Start stitching. The bead couching (or spot) stitch is used to secure a bead-filled strand of thread onto the fabric; it works as an outline stitch or, if you work several lines of couching in a group, you can fill spaces. The technique calls for two threaded needles--one is always on the front side and it holds the beads; the second needle works from front to back anchoring the bead-holding thread with a tiny stitch every third or fourth bead.

    How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf
    Having needles pre-threaded saves time. (still life with needles and cotton. image by firsov from
  4. 4

    Add sequins. Start the thread on the front of the scarf to hide the knot underneath the sequin. When you bring the needle up from the back, place a sequin and a seed bead onto the needle and pull the thread through. Place the needle in the sequin hole and push the needle to the back side of the scarf, letting the seed bead hold the sequin in place.

    How to Add Beads to a Store-Bought Scarf
    Sequins add more sparkle for less money. (dress image by Gina Smith from

Tips and warnings

  • To keep your beaded scarf looking terrific, hand wash or dry clean only.
  • Hide knots under the beadwork for a clean finish.
  • Keep all sewing tools and notions out of the reach of small children and pets.
  • Hand beading is delicate; handle gently.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.