Saturday, January 05, 2008

Beaded Trim by Romona King of Northbrook Designs

Make Your Own Beaded Trims
© 2007 by Romona King of Northbrook Designs

For such a long time I have collected tutorials from various websites and blogs that I have visited. They have been for all different types of creative expression and my thanks to all of those people who do share their knowledge so freely. This is a little tutorial to give back a little of what I have received and I hope it’s of some help to you for some creative project down the road. Please email me and show me what you create. Now, on with the show.

Step 1: Have you ever found yourself in a position where a beaded trim would be perfect for a project but finding just the right thing isn't easy, or time is against you or some other obstacle is in the way. Well, let’s fix that. Gather up all you beads, large and small. You’ll find it easier if you can put them out in little containers. Think about what you want to use the trim for and try to match your beads accordingly. Use whatever beads you like and try to use different shapes to make it more interesting. For the trim I am making I have kept the beads fairly simple as the fabric is quite busy. I am using seed beads in 2 sizes, a twisted bugle bead, and red crystal shaped ones.

Step 2: Choose your ribbon or twill tape, something that is sturdy, it should be about 1/4Th of an inch wide or a little bigger. If it’s too wide, it can be difficult to work with. I have used a green satin ribbon which is not the colour of the fabric, but the ribbon will be completely covered with a braided trim when I’m finished, so consider whether the ribbon will show or not when choosing. You need to figure out how much trim you want. Mine is the length of the meter/yard stick plus an inch or so of overhang on each end.

I have just pinned the ends of the ribbon to hold them in place. So why use a yard stick. It’s all about math. I lined the ribbon up along the edge below the measurements. From there I can decide how close I want the beading to be. In this case I am using a measurement of ¾’s of an inch. So, I just sew the beads at each ¾ increment. Having the ribbon pinned to the yard stick also holds it still for me while I bead. As you add the beads, just tape down across the top edge of the ribbon with some low tack tape such as Magic Tape, to hold the beaded part on the ruler.

Step 3: Before you start your beading, try a few combinations of beads and see how you like them together. The next picture shows how I have strung mine. With your beading needle, pick up the order of the beads you like. The other consideration is the length of the beads. My strings measure 1 ¼" long. Some projects might be better longer. The technique is the same for any trim.

Use a strong thread for the beading and use a good length each time, a yard or so. Make a knot in the thread and pass it through the ribbon 1/8Th of an inch in from the edge. Thread your beads on. When you get to the last bead, that one will be the anchor. Make sure the anchor bead is larger than the one before it or it’ll pop up inside that second bead when you tighten the thread.

Once the beads are all on, take your needle back up through the beads starting with the bead before the anchor one. Hold the anchor bead between the tips of two fingers so that you can feel the thread as you pull it through and with the other hand, carefully pull the thread through until you have the string of beads resting against the ribbon. Don’t pull it to tight or the beads will be buckled and you won’t be able to fix that later.

I take a small anchor stitch next to the bead that’s against the ribbon. From there carry the thread across to the next spot where you are going to string some beads. Using the measurements on the ruler, you will be able to have the trim evenly spaced.

Step 4: When you have finished stringing all the beads the length you want, do one more step. If you've ever used store bought trims, you know that when you cut that precious thread that is holding the beads, inevitably you will find one group of beads will fall off because they aren't secured by that thread. What I did was go along with my glue, and added a little spot of glue at each spot above the beads. Use white glue that dries clear. This way you shouldn't have the problem of cutting the trim and loosing some of the strings of beads.

And here is the finished trim. Doesn't it match up great with the fabric I’m using. When it’s applied, it will rest on top of the fabric with a gold or black braided trim over top and the green will be completely covered. I hope you will be able to use this tutorial to make some trims of your own. Feel free to share this tutorial, but please remember to give me credit for the information contained here.

Thanks so much and enjoy, Romona.

Please respect Romona's Terms of Use - Feel free to share this tutorial, but please remember to give me credit for the information contained here.

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved — Written By Romona King of Northbrook Designs. Romona is a crafter, doll maker, painter, needlework artist, and mixed media artist. You can visit her Northbrook Designs blog online at You can also visit her Northbrook Designs shop at

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