Bead Embroidery Basics

Beading Threads

Silamide and Nymo are the beading threads that I use for bead embroidery and bead woven stitches.

  • Choose a color that is neutral to the fabric and to the beads and embellishments.
  • Cut a 3 yard length for bead embroidery.
  • Cut 1 yard length for bead woven stitches.
  • When used for bead embroidery the thread is used double with a knotted tail.
  • When used for bead woven stitches, the thread is usually used single.

Beading Needles

Beading needles are fine and thin and are most commonly found in sizes 10-13 (the larger the number the larger the needle). I prefer the John James brand of needles. They come in both a short and long length. I prefer to use the long needles for both bead embroidery and bead woven stitches, but I find that most people choose what works for them.

Note: A small sharps needle can also be used, on seed beads 10° or larger.

Threading the Needle and Waxing

  1. Cut the end of the thread so that it is straight across.
  2. Cut the thread according to the suggestions above.
  3. Hold the end of the thread close to the eye of the needle and insert the thread an inch or so beyond the eye.
  4. If you are working with the thread doubled, fold the length in half, with the middle of the thread at the eye of the needle; match the tails together. Follow the remaining steps.
  5. Place the eye of the needle next to the wax; pull the thread firmly over the wax.
  6. Place the eye of the needle at your forefinger and close your thumb over the thread. Pull the thread through your fingers to merge the two threads together.
  7. Knot the ends together.

Note: The thread in bead woven stitches is not knotted, the thread is woven between the beads to secure the thread.

Tips on Waxing

The goal of waxing the thread is to keep the two threads together, but not to have so much wax that you have clumps in the thread which will end up on the fabric.

  • A clean “used” toothbrush can be brushed across the surface of the beads and to remove unwanted wax build up on the surface of the fabric.
  • If the thread does not stay together after the first pass through the wax, then re-wax the thread.
  • When removing the thread from the needle, cut the thread close to the eye then pull the threads out of the eye. This will prevent a wax build up in the eye of the needle.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

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