Sometimes needlepoint stitches won’t do. That’s when we look for embellishments that will give our pieces that special non-stitched touch. These days shops are full of embellishments of different kinds, but brads, an incredibly easy embellishment to use, are often overlooked.
If you want to embellish your needlepoint, but can’t find buttons you want and don’t like beading, look to brads. The selection of them is huge, they can be easily found, and they are so easy to incorporate in your needlepoint that even a beginner can use them.
What are brads?
A brad has a round or decorative top that has two metal “wings” hanging down from it. After you have placed the brad, the wings are separated and pushed down on the back of your project, securing the brad in place.
You probably used them in elementary school to fasten papers. They were small, round, and made of brass, above. Some report folders also had them inside.
Today the possibilities of these simple fasteners has exploded, largely because of scrapbooking. Brads make excellent and neat fasteners for pages. Because of this they come in a mind-boggling array of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Where do I find them?
You are not likely to find brads at your LNS. You’ll have to go to stores with scrapbook supplies (either brick & mortar or on-line). Even craft stores with scrapbook sections will have some brads. I have also used eBay extensively to find brads.
If you are buying brads at a crafts store, look carefully. In my local Michael’s they are in two places. It can also be hard to tell if a fancy embellishment is a brad, a sticker, or needs to be glued on. Rather than look at the label, I always turn the package over. If the item is a brad, they will have the tell-tale spread wings.
Amazon also has a section selling brads. Be aware if you shop here to check shipping costs. If the items do not ship Amazon Prime you may be charged a separate shipping charge for each item, even if they come from the same seller.
Can any brad be used for needlepoint?
Most brads have tops that are metal, resin, or plastic. Any of these can be used for needlepoint.
Some companies make brads with paper fronts. These should be avoided for needlepoint because they will bend.
How do I use them?
You can use brads anyplace in your needlepoint, even placing them over already stitched areas. I like to use them where finding stitches is a problem. On Senor Rooster pictured at the top of the post, stitching the lights would not have allowed me to have the different directions and the smooth outline the brads had.
On Plum Pudding, above, I needed something round to be the plums. Brads in the right color allowed me to create something perfectly round.
If an area is already stitched, push the brad into the canvas between two stitches. This keeps the stitches from snagging on the points of the wings.
If you know where the brads will go before you stitch, stitch up to the center of the area and leave one thread open. This is where you will push in the brad.
I don’t secure the brads by spreading the wings until all the brads are in place. Then I flip the canvas over, spread the wings and I’m ready to go. The wings are made too hold the brad in place, they do not need to be secured.
Now I’m off to find my next project to use brads!