Ways of Using Beads in Textiles

Written by rhondar
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Ways of Using Beads in Textiles
Beads can be incorporated into textile designs in several different ways. (colour beads image by jonnysek from Fotolia.com)

Beads make an attractive addition to any macrame or woven projects. With the enormous variety of beads available, it is easy to find ones that will coordinate with your design. Beading can be incorporated into textile designs in several different ways. These techniques will help you experiment with adding beads to your own textiles.

Adding Beads into Knots or Weaving

One of the most basic ways to add beading to a textile design is to work them directly into weaving or macrame knots. Slide beads into strings at the point where you would like them to appear in the project and continue to work as you normally would. The beads will be secured into the textile.

Experimenting with placing the beads at different intervals within the piece or on different strings with result in different effects. For example, in macrame, placing beads on the centre strings of knots will result in a different effect than adding beads to the outer strings.

When choosing beads to weave or knot into a project, make sure that the holes in the centre of the beads are a large enough gauge for the project's strings to fit through.

Ways of Using Beads in Textiles
Beads can be woven or tied directly into textile designs. (beads image by Irish i from Fotolia.com)

Bead Embroidery

Bead embroidery is a technique used to sew beads to the surface of fabric. It can be used to add beaded designs to textile projects.

Bead embroidery is much like traditional embroidery, except a bead is strung into each stitch. Unlike regular embroidery, stitches in bead embroidery may not be precisely even because of variations in bead sizes.

Ways of Using Beads in Textiles
Beads can be added to textiles by means of embroidery. (pattern 1 image by Alx from Fotolia.com)

Adding a Beaded Fringe

One of the easiest ways to add beads to a textile project is making a beaded fringe. Leave a fringe of extra string at the edge of the project. String beads into the fringe and secure into place with a simple knot.

More advanced variations of beaded fringe can be accomplished as well. For example, try looping the end of the fringe back through the beaded section and weaving in and out every other bead. This will allow you to add a second bead beside every other bead in the fringe, making an interesting pattern.

Ways of Using Beads in Textiles
Adding beaded fringe is a simple way to add interest to a textile project. (bead curtain image by Bruce Hewitson from Fotolia.com)

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