New bead embroidery technique: Single Bead Confetti Fill

Usually when I am doing fills in bead embroidery I string the beads in a line either 3 at a time or by using the two needle method of a longer string of beads. This creates a striped texture fill. Sometimes I find this texture distracting especially if you want your main elements to be emphasized over the background. So I decided to try adding my beads one at a time without sewing them in the same direction. This way of purposely changing the angle of my stitches it gives the texture of the fill a smoother more diffused appearance.

single bead background fill

In addition to creating a smoother textured fill that doesn't distract from the main elements, this type of fill allows for fun mixing of colors to achieve more subtle color changes. It also allows for addition of sparkly accents to be sprinkled in in a confetti type of distribution. You can see with these shown samples that adding shiny versus matte can create an interesting yet non-distracting fill for backgrounds.

single bead confetti fill for backgrounds

Not only does this single bead add color and styling advantages, it also helps create a better fill by allowing single beads to be turned in different directions to fill all the nooks and crannies. One of my weaknesses as a bead embroiderer is that I often try to fill every open space with beads. This sometimes makes my pieces too crowded and leaves lumps or bulges where the extra non-needed bead doesn't fit.

single seed bead background fill

In order to avoid cramming beads that don't fit properly, I choose to use Ming Tree seed beads as my go-to brand for background fills. Some may consider Ming Tree beads as less valuable than other beads such as Tohos or Miyukis but I don't. My OCD-lite makes me want to fill every space perfectly and the varied sizes of Ming Treet brand seed beads work the best to adjust to each oddly sized space in a background fill. There are other types such as Czech seed beads which have some slight variances of their own but I found Ming Trees to have the best amount of variance for fill fitting. Some day maybe I'll be a real pro and I won't have the need to fill EVERY space. Some bead embroidery artists are really good at laying their designs down in relaxed flowing patterns but I am not at that point yet. I will share my Crowley Star piece and show you where I had to take it apart several times to get the beads to lay right without lumps or bulges. It really is a technical skill to bead embroider and make your work have peerfect flow and grace without bulges and lumps!