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Basic Bead Embroidery Stitches

Instruction:

Step 1: There are many materials that you can choose from when doing bead embroidery. To get you started, this is what we will use for this simple tutorial:

1 small piece of Lacy\'s Stiff Stuff bead embroidery medium

Size 11 seed beads

Bugle beads

Freshwater pearls

Nymo beading thread

Size 12 beading needle

Permanent marker

Embroidery scissors

Using the permanent marker, draw a line to serve as a guide on your piece of Lacy\'s Stiff Stuff.

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Step 2: The First Stitch

Cut a comfortable length of beading thread. If you are using a nylon beading thread, stretch and condition it.

Tie a small knot at one end of the thread. Thread a size 12 beading needle on the other end.

Working from the backside of the Lacy\'s Stiff Stuff (the side that does not have the line drawn on it), insert your needle up through the Stiff Stuff and pull so that the knot is flush against the back of the Stiff Stuff.

Pick up two seed beads and push them down against the Stiff Stuff. Line them up against the line you drew and look to see where the thread is exiting the second bead. Pass your needle straight down (don\'t angle it!) into the Stiff Stuff at the point where the thread exits the second bead. Try to keep an even tension - don\'t pull too tightly when stitching, or your bead embroidery medium will pucker and your beads will not lie straight.

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Step 3: Secure the First Two Beads

Working from the back of the Stiff Stuff, estimate the size of one of your seed beads and pass your needle up through the Stiff Stuff one bead length back from where you came down in the previous step.

You don\'t have to get the spacing exactly correct. If your space is a little too big or too small, it won\'t really matter. You\'ll get better at judging the size of your beads as you work.

After you pull your thread up through the Stiff Stuff to the working side, pass your needle through the second bead you added. Pull snugly to secure the bead. Remember not to pull too tightly to prevent your bead embroidery medium (Stiff Stuff) from puckering as you work.

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Step 4: Add Another Set of Two Beads

Pick up two more seed beads and push them down against the Stiff Stuff next to the first two that you just added. Line them up along the line that you drew on the Stiff Stuff and secure them in the same way.

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Step 5: Finishing the First Row of Seed Beads and Beginning the Second Row

When you come to the end of your line, secure the last bead or beads and then pass your needle down into the Stiff Stuff right in front of the last bead that you added.

When starting a new row of seed beads, estimate the width of one of the seed beads that you will be adding in this row. Bring your needle up through the Stiff Stuff where the hole of the bead will line up on the bead embroidery medium.

When adding additional rows, you don\'t want to bring your needle up directly against the row of seed beads that you just stitched. This will crowd the rows of beads and they won\'t lie straight.

Pick up two more seed beads and add them in the same manner as you added the beads for the first row.

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Step 6: Adding a Row of Bugle Beads

To add some texture and color, we can use some bugle beads in a contrasting color to our seed beads.

To add a bugle bead, you still stitch each bead on one at a time. Since it is difficult to achieve curved lines with bugle beads stitched with the holes against each other, it is easier to stitch them side by side.

Pick up a bugle bead and push it down against the Stiff Stuff. Pass down through the Stiff Stuff at the point where the thread exits the bead. Pass up again through the Stiff Stuff at the back of the bugle bead, then pass through the bugle bead again and down into the Stiff Stuff.

Making multiple thread passes through each bugle bead will make sure that if the sometimes sharp end of the bugle bead cuts one thread, it probably won\'t cut through all of them.

TIP: When working with bugle beads, sort them to remove any beads with obvious sharp or jagged edges before using them.

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Step 7: Adding a Row of Freshwater Pearls

Now we will add a bit more texture and some more color with a row of freshwater pearls surrounded by rows of seed beads.

Pick up a freshwater pearl and push it down against the Stiff Stuff. Attach it in the same way that you attach a bugle bead. Stitching through the pearls twice is optional, although it will result in more secure beadwork and will make the entire piece more stable.

Bring your needle up at the far end of the pearl and pick up two seed beads. Secure them in the same way that you secured the first two rows of seed beads, using beaded backstitch. Follow the line along the pearl as your guide.

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Step 8: Continue to Add Pearls Down the Row

After you have added the first pearl and the row of embellishing seed beads, repeat the steps as you work down the row.

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Step 9: Add a Second Row of Backstitch to Embellish the Pearls

You can add a second row of seed beads worked in beaded backstitch to embellish the pearls. Just follow the lines of the previous row of seed beads as a guide, and remember to leave a little \"breathing room\" for your beads between rows.

TIP: If you can see too much of the Stiff Stuff, you can always color it with a permanent marker, fabric dye or fabric paint.

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Step 10: The Finished Sampler

This tutorial is meant to be a sampler for you to become comfortable with the basic stitches used in bead embroidery.

You can use bead embroidery to create all kinds of beaded jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings as well as other beaded wearables like belts, belt buckles, and straps for musical instruments like guitars.

When working bead embroidery, let your imagination help you choose the beads that you use. Vary the sizes, shapes and colors to add texture and interest to your bead embroidery.

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