Tools of the Trade

I’m often asked about the best kind of embellishments to use in your projects, my work only uses a small amount of beads, buttons and sequins but they can really make a piece stand out so I thought I’d share some of my most commonly used products with you. There are so many suppliers locally and online that offer a brilliant range of embellishments.

Good to Know…

A high quality beading needle is essential for smaller seed and bugle beads, they are long and flexible to allow you to pick up beads easily. I use Prym bead needles which you can find in a good haberdashery or online.


Like most makers and crafters, I have lots of buttons in my collection. They come from charity shops, Duttons for Buttons and donations from my students. There are so many shapes, colours and textures to choose from. I also love making covered buttons, using embroidery and different fabrics.

Don’t been afraid to think outside the box when sewing buttons on, you can go over the edge of the button and even add stitches like bullion knots to create a design on top of the button.

Seed Beads

I love adding a touch of sparkle and texture with seed beads, they come in so many colours and although they can be fiddly to work with the results are beautiful. I build up a mix of colours on my projects, combining these small beads with larger pearls to create interesting dimensions.

I use Bead Spider for lots of my beads, they have a great range of colours and types of bead.


Sequins are a brilliant way to add larger areas of shimmer, I use them sparingly and I’m careful not to buy really cheap looking sequins as they can spoil the piece I’m working on. Cost isn’t always an indicator of quality; you can also pick up sequins in the craft section at the pound shop that look great.

Sequins can also be cut up, shaped and used in conjunction with beads. I like to layer them with small scraps of fabric and areas of stitch. You can also make your own sequins from materials like paper, they can be cut with a circle punch from a craft shop.

As sequins are a plastic, we need to think more responsibly about what we are buying, The Sustainable Sequin Company have a great shop which sells recycled plastic sequins in a range of colours and shapes.


Remember, you can combine all these embellishments on your work, there are no rules so have fun and see what you can create.

***Please note that this is just my personal observation on the products I use regularly, everyone has their favourites and I recommend trying lots of different types to find the best one for you. ***