I’m doing a demo for my doll club, The Textile Tarts, on the basics of beading a cabochon. To keep in the doll theme, I’m beading polymer faces. The demo will be at the January 12th meeting. I’ll be posting the directions here for those who want to play along.
All of the faces used in these samples are created using commercially available molds and either Fimo or Sculpy III polymer clays. They are finished with Lumier, Pearl-Ex, and/or professional grade metallic paints. You can use anything, really, for your cabochon. The only requirement is that it has a back flat enough to glue down to your surface. If your focal piece isn’t flat enough, add a bit of cardboard or clay to the back until you have a flat surface.
For those of you who are attending the meeting, I’ll have some kits available for sale, in which case you will only need to bring scissors. I’ll also have some heads available for those of you with beads but no cabs. For everyone else, the supply list of what to bring if you want to play along is provided below.
Cabochon (Cab): Anything with a back flat enough to glue down. Large flat-backed beads, rhinestones, buttons (cut off the shanks and file smooth), pebbles and stones, even pictures mounted on a piece of corrugated cardboard or foam core board will work. If you don’t like clay heads, try a flat back stuffed cloth doll head!
Backing: any non-fraying material that you can get a needle through with enough body to support your cab. I’m using felt in my examples. It is cheap, easily found in lots of colors and I have lots of it. Color doesn’t matter; it will all be hidden under your beading. But if you are new to beading, match your backing to the color of your base row of beads. That will hide any gaps or mistakes. If you are making a free standing piece as I am here, your backing only needs to be a bit bigger than your cab. You can also bead a cab directly onto a finished piece such as a wall hanging, journal cover, doll or lager piece of jewelry.
Finish backing: In the case of a free standing piece such as a pendant, you will need to add a second backing once your beading is done to cover your stitches. Be sure your finish backing is something that will be comfortable against the skin and colorfast. I’ve used a piece of ultrasuede, again slightly larger than my cab. If you are working directly onto a finished product, you won’t need this.
Glue: Select an adhesive appropriate for the materials you are using. For most clays, tacky glue works just fine. For metal, glass and stone, try either E-6000 or Zap-a-Gap or similar product.
Beads: Any beads will do, but select size relevant to the size of your cab. In my samples I’m using size 11 seed beads. In the sample piece, my cab is about 1 ½ “, and I used about 400 size 11 beads; just about a full container.
Beading needle: John James size 10 appliqué or between is the best I’ve found. They eye is narrow enough to not get hung up on the bead but large enough to thread without too much frustration. Those skinny, flexible beading needles will prove difficult when sewing through fabric.
Beading thread: Do not use regular sewing thread. It isn’t strong enough and there are too many passes made through a tiny bead. Nymo or a braided nylon bead thread, such as Fireline, are good choices.
Scissors: Small and sharp, for snipping thread and trimming your backing.
That’s all you will need for a basic beaded cab. I’ll be posting part 2 tomorrow, and we can begin beading!