A Beading Board or Beading Mat is essential for any beader and especially for bead weavers. For bead stringers I suggest picking up a floced bead board which can be found in any craft store. They allow you to lay out your designs in measured ridges. These Bead Boards are also great for sorting beads which many of us are guilty of spending way too much time on – instead of actually making something with our precious beads.
For those who love tiny seed beads and bead weaving you will need a different kind of Bead Board that is flat surface that will not allow your beads to roll off of. There are many choices out there, however if you are crafty you probably like the idea of making one yourself. And my Bead Board cost under $10 to make! All you need is a frame, fabric, and some tape or glue. There are some key things to think of when choosing your supplies to make your own bead board. 1) The frame you choose should have rounded corners so the thread does not catch. 2) The mat should be made out of a soft fabric that provides friction for beads but does not pill. I chose a Beadalon Bead Mat others suggest finding velux at a fabric store. 3) The frame size should be big enough for your projects but keep it portable. 4) The frame should have enough of a ridge to keep the beads from rolling off the mat.
For my Bead Board, I found the Kullsta Frame at Ikea. Its a perfect find since it has round corners and the frame itself is rounded as well. It was on clearance at the time and unfortunately is no longer available at Ikea. But it is selling on Amazon & Ebay. If Ikea only knew the market they are missing out on selling to with those frames!!
I then purchased a Beadalon Bead Mat from my a craft store, will have them in stock in the jewelry making section. I placed the “glass” of the Kullsta Frame (actually a plastic sheet) on the center of the Beadalon Bead Mat and traced around it with a pencil. Then I cut the Beadalon Bead Mat but an inch bigger than the trace. Next using masking tape to secure it I wrapped the bead mat around the the plastic sheet – making sure it is as tight as possible. Alternatively, you could use glue to affix the mat to the plastic sheet. Snap it back into the frame and you are done!
I really enjoy my DIY Bead Board, it is the perfect size for the projects I work on. I have enough room to lay out my beads while also having enough room to lay the piece out as I work. The inside length of the frame is 7 inches which is the size of most bracelets. I have thought of marking one side with ruler markings. It is also very portable and can be taken anywhere – even Jury Duty! I love it so much I made two!
I do not remember exactly where I saw the specific idea for my bead board however I do know it was in one of the fantastic Facebook beading groups I am a member of. I wish I could give credit to the person who originally came up with the idea.