Not too long ago, someone asked me what sort of beading software tools might be useful for creating your own patterns for both loom and off-loom work.  Well, there are a number, both free and paid. Which you choose will depend on not only how much you are willing to pay but why you need them. Here is a review guide to beading software tools for you to explore and consider.


This one is free to download onto your computer.  It covers peyote, loom, RAW, 2- drop, brick and interestingly, rosette. You have only 2 bead choices - 11/0 Miyuki and 11/0 Miyuki hex cut - but there are numerous colors in this size to choose from in order to create your design. The precision cut Japanese beads are best for uniform work.

You can specify the number of columns and rows. This software works best if you then select the individual cells (beads) and assign the colors of your design.  Later this week, you will see a tutorial where the designer used this software to create her pieces. The ability to see actual bead color combinations is very useful. Some combinations are clearly better than others. Experimenting on the computer is much easier than trying to use colored pencils on graph paper.

Ruby Lockwood demonstrates  how to use this software for peyote patterns.

If you wish to upload an image, stick with a simple 2 color design like the maple leaf one I tried (see top picture above).  It was not straightforward as I had to size the image just right to fit into the beading area I wanted i.e. no automatic image resizer!

This software cannot process a complex image like a photo.  What you see on the frontpage of the site is an image that has been painstakingly created via individual cell (bead) color changes.

I found the software buggy but hopefully, with more updates, the bugs will continue to be dealt with.

You can download and try this software tool for free. But you will need to purchase a BeadTool licence (US$49.95) in order to save print your patterns, palettes and layouts as well as receive free updates to the software.  There are also free instructional videos to help you get started.  You will have to go to Youtube to see the actual videos as the links in the instructional page are not working.

This tool can help you design with all kinds of beads (Miyuki, Preciosa Rocailles, Toho and even Pony beads)in different sizes and stitches (Loom, Square stitch, Brick stitch, Peyote,Tubular Peyote, Native American Gourd, Right Angle Weave.

Uploading a simple image like the maple leaf was very easy.  I could easily resize my image to fit the beading area I wanted. And then pick the bead colors and fill in the areas.  The Transfer function then allowed me to switch between bead sizes.  You can also control how many colors you want to deal with! And how detailed you want your picture to be.

Their transfer video tutorial shows how you can easily import photos and even combine them.

Adding text is a breeze!

Serious hobbyists and professionals will get a lot out of this software tool.  Considering what it does, the licence cost is very reasonable.

This powerful beading software is for those who wish to translate a complex image like a photo into a beading pattern. Definitely geared towards professionals who wish to create tutorials for sale. For example, it can output to a PDF, has file protection needed for selling, bead inventory management, desktop publishing tools for the creation of pattern books for resale and so forth.

The bead stitches covered are loom, brick, peyote (to 9 drop), RAW, fringe, sacred gourd and herringbone.

This powerful program comes in two versions BeadCreator Professional (US$149), and Professional Plus (US$249). The latter includes over 20,000 copyright free images for use.  24/7 technical support is available.

If you wish to create diagrams showing thread paths through beads for written tutorials, I recommend you download this program. Inkscape is a powerful vector graphics/ drawing program like that of Adobe Illustrator but it is open source and thus free!  3Dbeading has a tutorial on how to use it.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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