Bead embroidery foundation can be used to create all types of beaded jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings as well as things like belts, handbags and wall hangings.
CARD STOCK, INDEX CARDS AND POSTER BOARD
Some older books and patterns call for the beads to be stitched to index cards or poster board.
- This type of material is inexpensive and readily available at many craft stores, grocery stores or stationery stores.
- Depending on where you purchase it, it is available in several colors.
- It cuts easily with regular craft scissors.
- It is easy to handle when working your bead embroidery project.
- These types of paper foundations don't necessarily hold up well over long periods of time and can actually disintegrate should they become wet or are stored in high-humidity conditions.
- The thicker pieces of card stock, poster board and index cards can bend or break your needles if you are using a very fine needle with very small beads.
FABRIC EMBROIDERY INTERFACING
Fabric embroidery interfacing is a popular choice for working bead embroidery.
- Fabric embroidery interfacing comes in a wide variety of thicknesses and types.
- It is relatively inexpensive.
- It is available at fabric stores and some department stores with fabric departments.
- It is easy to color with dyes, paints or markers so that the white interfacing does not show through our beads.
- Because it is usually sold by the yard, it is suitable for larger sized projects.
- Needles will pass through it easily without bending or breaking.
- Embroidery interfacing may not always keep it's shape over long periods of time.
- Larger beads may pull the fabric and warp the design over time, even if a stiff piece of cardboard or plastic is placed under the beadwork.
LACY'S STIFF STUFF
This is a specific product that was designed specifically for bead embroidery and is the preferred foundation for bead embroidery of many well-known bead artists.
- Lacy's Stiff Stuff is a stiff, cardboard-like fabric that holds it's shape extremely well.
- Needles of all sizes can easily pass through the material without bending or breaking.
- Lacy's Stiff Stuff is easy to use when gluing cabochons, stones or other components onto the foundation.
- It can be colored or dyed with fabric pens, fabric inks or fabric dyes.
- It is extremely lightweight and can be used with even large beads without pulling or puckering.
- You can find Lacy's Stiff Stuff at most beading supply companies and at many local bead shops.
- The largest sheets of Lacy's Stiff Stuff are only about 8 1/2" x 11", so they are not necessarily suitable for very large projects.
- Lacy's Stiff Stuff is more expensive than other types of beading foundations, costing around $23 - 25 for a package of six sheets.
NATURAL AND IMITATION LEATHER AND SUEDE
Natural and imitation leather and suede fabric can be used for many different purposes in bead embroidery, including being used as a foundation for bead embroidery.
- Natural leather will hold it's shape very well over time, as will imitation suede fabrics such as Ultrasuede or Sensuede.
- They come in a wide range of colors.
- They can be purchased by the yard or in smaller cuts.
- Scraps of leather and suede are also great for doing bead embroidery with cabochons, stones or other beading components.
- They are available in fabric stores, craft stores, and from many online fabric stores where they can be purchased at a discount.
- Natural and imitation leathers and suede fabrics cannot usually be dyed or colored, so you should take care in choosing the color for your project before beginning to stitch.
- Because these fabrics are somewhat thicker than other types of bead embroidery foundations, it can be difficult to get a needle through the fabric, especially if you are using a fine needle and very small seed beads.
- Care should be taken not to get the leather or suede fabrics wet and they should not be stored in humid or damp conditions.
- The imitation suede fabrics such as Sensuede and Ultrasuede can be more expensive than other beading foundations, costing around $5-7 for a 9" x 12" piece.
Bead Embroidery Foundation Tips:
- It is worth the time and effort to experiment with different types of bead embroidery foundation to find out what works best for you and for each project.
- Always do a test on a small piece of foundation if you are using fabric dyes, inks or markers to see what the color will look like before you begin to stitch your project.
- It is helpful to stitch up samples on each of the different types of bead embroidery foundation to see what type of beads work best with each one.