My bead embroidery jewelry tutorial was inspired by three different sources.  The first came from Nunn Design.  As you know, they help make some pretty cool boho jewelry.  I really loved came  the beautifully embroidered jewelry I wrote about here.

Then Becky Nunn sent me some of the US made findings needed for review and to have fun with! The full range of retail embroidery jewelry findings can be purchased directly from Nunn Design.  All of these are metal as opposed to wood. This makes smaller daintier designs possible.

As you can see from the samples I received, the pretty patterns on the discs can be used as is i.e. glued directly into the bezels. But in the case of embroidered jewelry, they become the firm foundation needed as you will see later on.

I particularly like the combination brooch/pendant bezel which allows you to wear it as a pin or as a necklace.

The second inspiration came from my mother's work. She did a lot of beaded cross stitch embroidery for many years - see her spectacular examples in my past post 100 Years of South East Asian Nonya Embroidery.

Many years ago, she beaded these two pieces below which I made into Christmas ornaments.  I saved them after the original plastic frames became brittle. I had hoped I could use one of them for the brooch/pendant finding but alas, both were too big.  Sigh. I will have find some bigger wooden ones to fit these so I can hang them back on the tree next Christmas.

I did get some 18 count Aida cloth which was similar to what my mother uses. My first attempt with 11/0 was not successful as the results were not dainty. No getting away from the fact I have to use 15/0 beads! These are my 86-year-old mother's favorite bead size - we have no excuse for saying how hard it is to use tiny beads. Some of her antique beads are 18/0!

I also had to abandon the aida cloth idea because it is just too stiff for the smaller findings. So I used some ordinary printed cotton cloth.  You should have no trouble with using leftovers if you quilt or sew. Consider this project a stash buster!

Fireline is also too stiff for this kind of bead embroidery. So I just used sewing thread, doubled as my mother does for her beaded stitch embroidery (she uses Fireline for offloom beaded jewelry making).  I also used embroidery floss (not shown).

My third and final inspiration was this marvelous book  Bead Embroidery : Stitch Samples by Yasuko Endo. I highly recommend it if you want to learn how to combine small seed beads with simple embroidery stitches to embellish clothes and other accessories.  See my full book review here.

Here is the basic tutorial. I traced the disc shape on the cloth. Pencil marks can be erased from the cloth later if they are still visible.

After I embroidered the design, I cut about 1 cm outside the disc shape.

I did a running stitch about 0.5 cm from the edge.

I placed the metal disc and pulled the gathering stitches tight.  Notice there are "bumps" along the edge where the fabric ruffles are.  So you will need to sew across the disc to tighten the fabric at the back so the circle edge is smooth.

This is what it looks like at the back when I was done.

The final step is to add glue, I used E6000 or you could could also use 2 part epoxy glue. You do need a fair amount for the larger findings.  I also used tiny clamps and small bull dog clips to hold the embroidered discs down until the glue set.

I used the lazy daisy stitch with pink beads and pink embroidery floss for the earrings.

I modified the embroidered tree design from the book by adding more thread passes to the truck of the tree. 

You can also "trace" with beads and thread.  I used a pre-printed pattern but by all means draw your own pattern. I sewed a few beads at a time. I back-stitched and ran through the beads again if it was possible. As you can see I just used the printed design as a rough guide and had fun with it!

Before You Go:

I used my iPhone 6S with the Camera+  app. I used  the Orangemonkie studio which comes equipped with LED lights - for artificial light photography in my windowless basement studio. The Foldio2 is particularly affordable. I use the Foldio3 with the extra light bar because I need the room for tutorial photography.  

My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  

This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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