Each year, Bead&Button and beader Jeanette Shanigan organize a special charity event to raise money for breast cancer research. Beaders everywhere are encouraged to stitch up and donate one or more little squares of beadwork to be sewn together into beaded quilts. The results are gorgeous, and effective in raising research funds.
- Learn more about Bead-It-Forward and see the free pattern used for the owl design in this tutorial.
- See more free bird patterns.
The Bead-It-Forward guidelines call for squares of beadwork that each measure 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long by 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide. Each square must be centered on and stitched to a square of backing material that measures 2 inches (5 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
If you want to bead embroider your square, you can stitch directly onto the backing. If you use loom or off-loom beadwork, you need to complete your beadwork first, and then stitch it to the backing.
This tutorial uses two templates cut from cardstock to help you size your backing and position your beadwork. Here are the supplies you'll need:
- A sheet of colored cardstock (I used a purple file folder)
- A sliding paper cutter (I used a Fiskars paper cutter designed for scrapbooking)*
- A permanent marker (I used a fine-tip Sharpie)
- Lacy's Stiff Stuff or Pellon Peltex 70 ultrafirm stabilizer for the backing (I used Pellon)
- Fabric scissors
- Beading thread (I used size D Nymo in cream)
- Beading scissors (for cutting your beading thread)
- A beading needle or bead embroidery needle (I used a size 10 bead embroidery needle)
- A 1.5-inch by 1.5-inch square of beadwoven fabric with a motif consistent with the title of the current year's Bead-It-Forward project. (The beadwork in this tutorial uses the 2012 "birds" motif.)
- E6000, or another glue that is flexible when it dries
- Crazy glue (cyanoacrylate)
* The paper cutter is optional; you can always use scissors instead.Here's how to begin (these steps correspond with the photos above):
1. Use the paper cutter to cut a 2-inch column of cardstock. You do this by aligning the paper with the 2-inch mark on the left side of the blade, and firmly sliding the blade up toward the ruler.
2. Turn the paper 90 degrees, and cut it down to 2 inches in this direction.
3. Use the same technique to make a 1.5- by 1.5- inch square of cardstock, and label each square with its size (if you'd like).
Note: You'll soon see that when you're working with beadweaving that needs to be stitched onto the backing, the smaller template -- and its related steps -- are not as important as they are when you plan to embroider beads directly to the backing.
4. Use the 2-inch by 2-inch card as a template to cut out a square of backing.