Updated September 10, 2019
Are you looking to save money on your embellishments?
Look no further than your local bead store or, my favorite, Fire Mountain Gems on-line. Using jewelry and bead supplies in needlepoint is a great way to add interest easily.
The disadvantage of buying this way is that often you get more than you need. You can solve this by sharing the items with your friends.
The advantage is that you will save lots of money. I’ve stayed loyal to Fire Mountain for years because they offer Mix & Match Discounts so you get bulk pricing by buying many things, not just many of one thing. That also offer flat rate shipping.
Every catalog from them gets my creative juices flowing. The items mentioned below are just some of the great items I have found. Two of the best features of Fire Mountain’s site are their clearance and bargain bin areas. For example the Polymer clay flowers were in the clearance area a few months ago. I stocked up and used them for the cupcake pictured at the top of the article.
Remember a few things to help you when looking a bead catalogs. most of the time pictures are actual size and sizes are in millimeters, except for seed beads. Often there will be a drawing of the bead, showing front and back and where the hole is drilled. This is very helpful when looking for items for needlepoint. If the same shape is available with a rounded back or a flat back, pick the flat back, it will sit better on the canvas.
Frosted Acrylic Flowers & Leaves – If you’ve seen some of Sundance’s flowers, you’ve seen these. Leaves are available in two different shapes; I saw flowers of all kinds in different colors, mostly pastel. They come in packages with from 25 to 100 items, depending on size.
Stone Donuts – These are flat beads with holes in the center. Often they can be quite large but smaller ones are available. Attach these to your needlepoint by sewing over them, from center to edge, at regular intervals. Donuts are often sold singly. They can be great focal points for a project.
Polymer Clay Flower Beads = These beads are dainty and nicely detailed, they make me think of flowers on an expensive wedding cake. While very dimensional, they all have flat bottoms so they can be used on canvas. Many different flowers and colors are available.
Swarovski Elements – This series of crystal beads from the legendary company has many different shapes and they are adding new ones all the time. Often these shapes are pointed on both sides, so they will be raised from your needlepoint. There are some flat elements that are sold singly. Often these are called “sew-on” if they have openings for sewing. If they do not say “sew-on” there are no holes and they will need to be glued.
There are also some flat shapes such as Marguerite Lachrose Flowers (simple center-drilled flowers), cosmic rings (donuts), and helios (oval donuts). New items in this line are enameled charms, connectors, and links. With their crystal centers, these could be lovely embellishments. The packaging varies with the item.
Fire Mountain has a helpful page that shows all the shapes available with side and front views with holes clearly marked. There are many possibilities.
Charms – As those of us addicted to Painted Pony angels know, a charm can add a lot to your stitching. On-line beads stores stock many charms in enamel and different metals. Most of these won’t be the sterling silver ones you’d put on your charm bracelet, but the variety is huge. Generally these are sold as single items.
Before you buy beads you need to check the profile of the bead as well as the drill hole. Beads and other items will look best if they are more flat, so a bead that is a disk will look better for needlepoint than one that it a ball. Holes should be drilled so that they will either allow the item to hang down (a hole near the top) or lay flat. These drills can go through the center of the item, similar to the hole in a sequin, or through the center of the narrow side, similar to putting something on a skewer. By checking these things, you’ll save yourself the heartache of falling in love with a bead and not using it.
Finally, get their catalogs, they are drool-worthy.