I have tried so many things to keep my place when working a beaded pattern. The list is long. Some worked great, some worked not so great. But after a lot of trial and error, I found my absolute favorite way to keep my place in a beaded pattern. Read on to learn more.
This post contains some affiliate links. That just means that if you click on one of them and purchase something I get a little fee at no cost to you. My opinions are all my own and don't affect the review at all. I'm reviewing these products because I use them everyday when I bead.
Any beader that uses a pattern knows what a pain it can be to keep your place, especially if it's a complicated pattern. I've tried dozens of options, some of them worked and some of them did not.
Before I get to far into this today, lets talk about digital vs. printed. A lot of people like to print out their patterns. I am on the fence about it. I have been trying to be good to the environment and use digital patterns more often then printed ones. I still tend to lean toward printed patterns and that is what I'm going to focus on today. I can talk about what I do when I use a digital file in a future article. But, today, it's all about reducing waste and staying sane while using a printed beadwork pattern.
So what have I used?
The real question is, what haven't I used? I kid, I kid.
When I first started making my own beadwork, I would print off the pattern and use a permanent marker to mark off where I was. I tried both regular markers as well as the highlighters. Now don't get me wrong, I love markers as much as the next girl, well maybe a lot more (I own every color made by Sharpie. I'm not joking about that). And This method worked fine, but I could not use the pattern over again. That meant into the garbage (well recycling) it went. I just did not like that I was wasting so much paper and ink (because not only is printer ink expensive, it just so wasteful to print and throw away). So this was okay, but I need something more earth friendly.
Side note, those Sharpie gel highlighters are the bomb. They don't smudge anything. I've tried them on all sorts of things and they are the best highlighters I've ever used. I have been using them for years and love them. Hint, hint, Sharpie. I'll take a truck load of those as well as your permanent markers and pens. Thanks.
So on the next stop on my quest to find a more eco friendly alternative, I tried sticky notes. This was a nice alternative. I could print out a pattern and not have to throw it away. It sounded like a great option.
Now a lot of beaders use these. A lot of beaders swear by these. And that's great, but, they just didn't work for me when I used a beaded pattern. And it's not because I do not like sticky notes. I love them. Almost as much as I love markers and pens. I mean look at these cute London ones. Oh my, how cute are those.
But I digress, I was not a fan of the good ol' sticky note (or using a ruler) for beading because I felt like the sticky note would fall off and I would lose my place. And I felt like the stickiness would never make it through a whole pattern. I mean those bad boys are mot meant to stay sticky forever. And here I was with throwing away paper again. So the quest continued.
I was looking for a way to reuse a printed pattern and have little to no waste. And one day while I was trying to think of a better way, I came up with sheet protectors.
Now here's a little back story on how I came up with these. My mom used to work for for Avery, so our house has always been full of office supplies. Which means I had a mountain of sheet protectors (as well as a whole lot of other office supplies) lying around. I already used them to keep my printed patterns organized in binders. So, what if I just kept them in there and then wrote on the sheet protector?
Ignore my scribbles. I don't even remember what they were. Hahahaha.
And it worked pretty well. I tried using both dry erase markers as well as permanent markers. Both had some ups and downs, but over all I was pretty happy with this method. I actually used this method for years. I would just wipe off the protector when I was done and I would have a perfectly usable pattern that I could make again. I was happy with this discovery.
That was, until I found an upgrade!
While perusing the local dollar store, I found these great page protectors in the school supply isle (I love back to school time and supplies. You might have noticed that already). They are made for little kids who are learning to write. The kids can trace letters and numbers with dry erase markers and then just wipe them off when they are done. Allowing them to use these page protectors over and over again. I was in love.
Of course I grabbed a few of them. I told myself that if they worked and if I felt like I needed more, I could always come back and get a few more.
They are really nice heavy weight plastic, so they hold up to numerous beading projects. The sides are fabric, so they don't cut or scratch like some of the page protectors I've used in the past.
I've been using the same two for years now, and they still are great. You can see my daughter added a little bit of bling to one of them so I would never be boring. I love these guys.
They work great if you use the word chart to keep track of your pattern. You just cross off the row you just did and move on to the next.
They work great if you use the graph to make your pattern. You just cross of the beads you have used and move one. And if you are like me and bead two rows at once, it's super easy to cross off the rows you have done.
I just picked up some more for my daughter. She starts school this year and since it will be online until future notice, I knew these would work great for her practicing her writing.
A note about the markers I use. I've found that the retractable dry erase markers are the best because you can use them one handed. You don't have to put everything down to take a cap off the markers, mark the pattern, and then put the cap back on. Just a click, a swipe, and another click and you are on your way to the next row.
And of course I have the pack of a million colors, because why just buy one or two when you can have the whole rainbow!
So that's how I keep my place when I bead. I never loose my place anymore since I've gone to this method. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Like I said before. I will be talking about how I use digital patterns and keep my place in a future article.
Leave a comment below on how you keep track of your patterns. I'd love to see some suggestions that I haven't tried yet.
This article contains affiliate links. That just means that I may receive a small commission. The opinions expressed are all my own.
I bead a lot. I know, that's a shocker to all of you. I love working in my studio, but I really love the freedom beading gives you. I can bead on the couch while watching a movie. I can work on some beadwork outside while my daughter is playing. I can even bead in bed (I don't do that often because I'm not a fan of seed beads in the bed, which is going to happen). That means I need something that is portable. And that is why I love Bead Buddy Boards Design Save and Go Portable Beading Kit. Wow that's quite a name!
They are perfect for me. First of all, unlike a lot of bead boards out there, they have a lid. A lid that latches. Like completely, turn it on its side, latches. This is perfect for those of us that have kids, both the human and furry variety, running around the house. I cannot set a bead board down without it being bumped. No matter what. The lid saves me from having to pick tiny little beads out of the carpet And the only other thing I hate more than picking up beads, is all the fuzz and pet hair that I get with the beads (and yes, I could vacuum more often, but who has time for that?) So a lid is my number one requirement for a bead board.
But let's talk about this lid. What makes it so special? Why are we still talking about it? Not only does this bead board have a lid, but the lid is lined. But who cares if the lid is lined? Anyone that has ever used seed beads before, that's who. There are a ton of bead boards out there that have lids, but not like this one. The lining in the lid helps to keep all those tiny little beads from rolling around. So if you're like me and you don't put your beads away each time you take a break, this is perfect. You put your shiny happy beads in little piles and that's where they are when you ope nit back up again. Pure perfection.
Okay, so we've established the lid is a godsend. What else you got? The lining (on both sides, just in case you forgot) is super soft. Not only is it soft, but it holds the tiniest beads in place. Making it oh so easy to pick up those little suckers with that tiny little beading needle us beaders use. And not having to fight to get those beads on my needle, makes me a happy lady. Not only happy, but relaxed and peaceful.
They also offer a variety of sizes. I have two of the large size. They are my favorite size because I can put my beads in there, my scissors in there, and even the project I'm working on (if it's flat of course). Even with all of that in there, I can close that baby up and be assured that everything will be right where I left it when open it back up. And that's all because of that amazing lid.
I have recently purchased the smallest size. I'm liking the convenience of the small one, it's a little more travel friendly. I bet I could fit that bad boy in my purse. I'll be right back......sure could. I just tried and that little bead board fit right in my purse. So that is another huge plus, you can jam it in your purse and take it where ever you like. Unfortunately it doesn't fit in my Stranger Things lunch box (where I keep all my bead supplies), but that's a me problem, probably not a you problem.
They have one other size that is between the two I have. I don't own that one, but I plan on getting one in the near future. I'll let all of you know what I think of that size as soon as I get it. I'm sure it will be great.
Another great thing about these bead boards is that because they have a lid, they are easy to stack. You can stack them on top of each other, or you can place them on their sides and put them in a bookshelf. This is great for those of us that have a whole bunch of projects going at once.
These boards may sound absolutely perfect, but there are a few things I should note. Because the lid is lined, the beads do sometimes stick to it when you open it up. I don't have this problem with every bead, just some. I solve this problem by opening it up a little, check to see if there are any stuck, and then carefully brush them off. It's a little inconvenience I'm willing to put up with to have such a nice travel bead board.
The only other thing that can get annoying is the lining is not snug up against the sides, so you will get beads stuck into the little crevasse. I don't normally have that many beads stuck in there and when I do, I just pull back the lining a little bit to get them out. But it can get a little annoying.
But those two inconveniences cannot deter me from these boards. I really do love them. I bought the little one back in March, so I've only had that one for a few months, but I've used it for a lot of projects. I bought one of the larger ones back in 2015, so that one has been serving my proudly for five years and it has many more to come. I don't even know when I bought my first one. Probably early 2000s when I was looking for something that I could take with me to art shows. And I still use that one. So see, they are a great value as well because you will use them for years.
Are you Bead Buddy Board fan like me? Leave me a comment and let me know what you love best about them.
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I am a little obsessed with space. I could never be an astronaut, my motion sickness is so bad I can't even watch a
movie at a theater without taking something before, so I'm not traveling into space anytime soon. But I get so much inspiration from space. The amazing images we get from the amazing astronomers out there are, well amazing. I am always on the NASA website looking at the new images (I may also get the image of the day sent to my inbox). I just can't help it. Not only is space beautiful, it is just so interesting. So much that we don't know and are learning about everyday. How could people not be amazed by space?
And right now we are all keeping our distance and stay safe. It seems like we have too much space right now (or maybe not enough if you are stuck in the house with everyone). Why not spend that time in your own space making a space project? My shop is full of amazing space inspired projects. Keep your space while wearing a little bit of space.
Last week I asked you to take a quick one question survey (You can still take it if you want, just click HERE). And boy did you guys give me a lot of great answers. Which means there will be some really exciting content coming to both my blog and my email newsletter (sign up if you haven't already).
What kind of new things are we talking about? Well let me tell you!
1. There will be tips and tricks. Little things that I've learned over the many years I've been beading.
2. There will be beady product reviews. New things I've picked up and old favorites that I'm never caught without.
3. There will be how to articles and videos. There is an overwhelming demand for video and I am working hard to make some fun videos for you
4. There will be Gift Guides. Don't know what to get that beady friend? I've got you covered.
Some things won't change. My VIPs will get patterns before anyone else. They will also get freebies and deals only for them. And of course they will get 25% off just for signing up. So if you haven't signed up, you can do that right HERE.
So stay tuned for all the new goodies. My first video will be dropping this week and I'm already working on a product review.
That's all I have for you now. Have a fantastic week. Stay safe and continue washing your hands.
Be Different. Be Strange. Be Yourself.
Just a girl that loves to bead, take photos, and cuddle with her new baby and her pug.