Learn everything you need to know about bead mats and bead boards including where you can find handmade ones and how to DIY your own for jewelry making.
A bead mat is a flat surface that prevents beads from rolling around as you work. Bead mats are, in my opinion, essential tools for beadweaving. Some beaders work without them but, after using them for years, I can’t imagine how.
I’m going to tell you all about bead mats and other beading surfaces that you can use.
Bead Mats and Bead Boards
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Types of Bead Mats
Bead mats are made of different types of fabric and come in a range of colors. Use light colors when working with dark-colored beads and vice versa.
The most popular kind is a vellux bead mat which is quite affordable. And, there are also sticky bead mats which are made of rubber and, true to their name, are sticky so the beads are held in place.
Sometimes, bead mats have a lip around the edge. The most popular brand of these are called Bead On It Boards.
Bead on It Board
Bead On It Boards are handmade bead mats with a wooden base. They have velvety surface and a curved lip covered in fabric.
The sturdy base makes it portable which is ideal if you don’t work in one spot. The bead mat material that covers the surface helps the beads settle hole side up which makes it easy to pick them up with your needle. One of these is definitely on my wish list.
The Difference Between Bead Mats and Bead Boards
Don’t let the name “Bead On It Board” confuse you. These are not bead boards.
Usually beading boards for jewelry-making have compartments embedded in their surfaces that you can use to lay out your beads. But, the best feature of these are the channels and measurements that can be used to plan and design a piece of jewelry.
Being able to measure out jewelry on a bead design board before you begin creating it is a great help. It means you can decide on your design and not have to constantly rip your piece apart. And, you can determine whether you have enough beads beforehand.
If you like to move from one place to the next with your beadwork, get a beading board with a cover. That way, you’ll be able to secure your work and not have to get on your hands and knees picking up beads off the floor.
If you don’t want to invest in a Bead On It Board and like the padded surface of your bead mat, a bead mat tray may be the perfect solution.
It’s a tray with a lip that perfectly fits an 11″ x 14″ bead mat. This is a simple and affordable way to create a portable workstation.
Where to Buy Bead Boards, Bead Mats and Bead Mat Trays?
You can find these handy tools at any bead shop and lots of craft stores. You can also purchase them online. In fact, I have some great options hand selected in my Amazon shop. Check them out here.
Bead mat and bead board prices vary according to the size of the item and the material it’s made of. You can get a set of 3 vellux bead mats for as little as $7 on Amazon. Bead boards may range from $8- $15. Bead On It Boards are luxury beading tools so they’re more expensive. These custom beading boards can cost $29+ from Potomac Beads.
DIY Bead Board
If you’re feeling particularly crafty and prefer to make a bead board for yourself, use this simple DIY bead board tutorial.
Or, if you’re up for more of a challenge, you can DIY your very own Bead On It Board. Follow the instructions in the video series below: