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Easter Cards With Seed Beads!

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Card Projects by Sharon M. Reinhart

Easter is on its way, and for this newsletter issue our focus is on creating Easter cards with seed bead accents. The use of seed beads offers a great deal of versatility when it comes to decorating your cards. Not only are there a vast array of beautiful colors, seed beads are also available in a variety of sizes and finishes such as pearl, metallic and matte. The other beauty here is that there are choices as to how to attach them. Let's explore the possibilities!

Adding seed beads to greeting cards can be accomplished with the use of a clear-drying liquid adhesive such as Glossy Accents™ or by hand-stitching them in place with a beading needle and thread. Don't shy away from stitching if you do not sew; it is actually simpler than you might think. All that is required is a beading needle, seed beads, thread, tape and cardstock.

For best results, holes should be pierced prior to stitching the bead onto the card. There are a variety of methods and tools that may be used in order to create a pierced hole. The most basic form is with the use of a fine piercing tool. For best results, hold the piercing tool upright and be sure to use a piercing pad or foam pad such as craft foam or a mouse pad underneath the cardstock. Of course, holes may be pierced free-hand in order to create your own custom design. However, if a straight line is desired, one of the tools that I like to work with is the Advantus Design Ruler by Tim Holtz. Aside from functioning as a measuring ruler and a centering ruler, it is also a piercing ruler which has a line of evenly spaced holes that serves as a perfect guide when it comes to piercing holes for any purpose.

Stitching templates and patterns may be used as guides to create a pierced design for attaching beads. Another option is to follow the design in a stamped image or printed paper. Card 1 is a great example of using the design in the printed paper as a piercing guide. The dots in the paper on the center egg were used as a guide to pierce holes randomly; whereas, the design ruler was used as a guide for piercing evenly spaced holes for the sequin and bead in the eggs at the left and right sides of the card. A bonus here is that the sequin is actually held in place by the stitched bead, so no additional adhesive for the sequin element was required.

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Card 1

A great example for using a stamped image as a guide is shown in Card 2, a mini card project.

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Card 2

Embossing folders are a wonderful resource for card making and for piercing guides. The intersection points on repetitive embossed backgrounds are a perfect place for hand-piercing and then stitching a bead. It's the best of both worlds! A beautiful pressure-embossed design that also serves as a guide for piercing the holes for beads adds another dimension of interest to your cards. Card 3 is a perfect example of this technique, and the result is a textured yet evenly spaced delicate beaded design.

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Card 3

If you have access to a sewing machine, try stitching without the use of thread, using a not-too-short stitch length, in order to create pierced holes very quickly. Many machines have a variety of decorative stitches that would work perfectly! The key is to not have the stitch length too short; otherwise, the cardstock may be weakened and tear. Also, use the appropriate size bead for the size of hole generated, too small of a bead will just slip through.

Border punches and die templates often have a pierced design within the main design. Card 4 makes use of a border die template from Spellbinders® which cuts the fancy scalloped edge and pierces evenly spaced holes all in one pass through a die-cutting machine.

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Card 4

There are also die templates specifically created for piercing holes. This style of template allows crafters to create a continuous series of pierced holes in a variety of shapes such as circles, ovals, rectangles and squares. These would work wonderfully to create a beaded border or to frame a focal point on a card.

Whichever tool or method you choose, the actual stitching of the bead onto the element remains the same. Simply thread the needle with a length of thread without tying a knot. Use one strand of thread. Begin from the back of the piece through the pierced hole to the front. Secure the end of the thread to the back of the cardstock with tape. Pick up a seed bead on the end of the needle and insert the needle through the same pierced hole, pulling thread to the back of the cardstock. Continue in this manner until the design is completed. To finish, secure the thread to the back of cardstock with tape. I typically use metallic threads as this is also the type of thread I use for thread-wrapping techniques. However, any type of thread may be used as very little is visible on the front of the design.

My preferred method of adding beads is to hand-stitch them onto my design. It truly does result in the beads being securely attached, and often, the placement is more consistent on repetitive designs such as the embossed design shown on Card 3. Although, as previously mentioned, the alternative to stitching is to use a liquid adhesive. On Cards 3 and 4, the beads on the center of the flowers have been attached with liquid adhesive.

As I am sure you can see, adding seed beads to cards is simple to do and offers beautiful results at the same time. I hope I have inspired you to give this technique a try during your next card-crafting session!

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