How to Make a Bead Embellished Snowflake Cushion
This is such a fabulous home decor idea for the winter season and a wonderful way to combine some of my favourite crafts. I have embellished a section of fabric with four snowflake designs using seed beads and bugle beads and created a very simple envelope cushion to finish. — Sarah Millsop
- Seed Beads
- Bugle Beads
- Bicone Beads
- Beading Needle
- Beading Thread
- Fabric for Cushion
- Cushion Pad
- Fabric Pen
I started each snowflake as a drawn design onto the fabric using a fabric pen. Many of these dissolve or disappear over time. I used a water-soluble pen; once I beaded the design, I wet a soft bristle toothbrush (it’s one I clean my jewellery with) and brushed over the design. This gets rid of any pen marks. I found the lines useful while beading to keep straight for a neat finish. If you’re confident you have a pattern to follow, you may not wish to draw a design.
I have used a mixture of bead finishes, shapes, sizes and colours, but you can personalise your designs to taste and the materials you have. It’s a great project to use up any leftover beads as you really don’t need many.
The method I used to attach the beads is called ‘Couching’. This uses a ‘base thread’ and an ‘anchor stitch’. You begin by knotting approx. 1m of your thread and securing it to the base side of your fabric. Normally I sew up and down, then back up through to begin so you know your thread is very secure. I tend not to add more than 3 or 4 beads at a time, even with bugles or seed beads, as any more than this can get distorted when you start to secure them. I started with the snowflake itself and added the line of beads that they are ‘suspended’ from afterwards.
So, let’s start with snowflake 1 (above).
Coming up from the base of your fabric and starting at the very top point in your snowflake, add 4 bugle beads, move right down the thread to your fabric, and lay them in a straight line with all beads as close to each other as you can. Thread your needle down through the fabric at the end of the row beads. This secures your ‘base thread’. Bring your needle up through the fabric in-between your 3rd and 4th bead to the left of your base thread. Bring your needle up and over the base thread and down into the fabric to tac this thread down to the fabric.
This is such a small stitch; it should be invisible and will neaten, straighten, and secure your beads into a perfect line. You will need to repeat this in between every 2 beads. If the beads are large, like these bugles, you may want to do this for each bead. Once you reach the top of your row, take your needle down through all 4 bugles and sew through to the base of the fabric; this will straighten them all up. I haven’t done this on the top row of this snowflake, but I have one the bottom. Look at the difference it makes to the finish!!
Once you have neatened them up and you are happy, you can move to the next spoke of the snowflake. I completed the ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’ and then ‘west’ first. This will keep you straighter and make for a more precise finish. You can add the smaller spokes last. To add the little bugles, move to the sides of your main flake and add the fine details. I didn’t add an anchor stitch to these as they were so small. To finish, I added a bicone in the centre and I secured the threads by running them up the north and south bugle beads. This ensured the bicone was straight too. Finish with half hitch knots on the underside of your fabric.
To add the row of seed beads to the snowflake, I added a row of 4 beads and secured as a base thread. Sew up in between your 3rd and 4th thread and run your needle back up through the beads to the top. Add another 4 beads and secure a base thread, but bring your needle up in between the 5th and 4th bead from the top. These are all beads you have just added PLUS one bead from your previous stitch. Run your needle up through all 5 beads and repeat again. This gives you a really neat and straight line of beads.
I wanted to keep each of the snowflakes slightly different and use a mixture of colours. You can use any sort of combination in your favourite festive hues!
I used a very basic envelope technique to turn my finished fabric into a cute little cushion and it’s going to adorn my armchair for Christmas. This would make a really gorgeous gift or a pretty decoration for your home this winter. Hopefully, it has inspired you to use your beads for more than just jewellery!
Merry Christmas! Love, Sarah x
Share your thoughts, feelings, and deepest desires in the comment box below!