Finished! Can't believe it went by so fast - I literally bought this for my birthday on January 31 and since then, I've had busy times where I couldn't work on it, so all-in-all, it sure was a quick piece from start to finish. I had a few issues with my "guess-timates" on bead quantities and had to buy more twice. After counting the number of beads in the brick-beading sequence for the whole piece and adding in for the fully beaded head and the messy beaded seaweed, my closest approximation on number of beads in the piece is 12,000. TWELVE THOUSAND! Crazy but so much fun. It's nearly impossible to take a decent picture of a beaded piece - it looks so much better in person, but here it is:
The entire piece is brick-beading except for the head and the seaweed. I just used a tent stitch to add beads on every intersection for the head. The seaweed is messy-beading - where you add several beads at a time and just place randomly. I used a combination of size 11 and 14 beads for this just to change it up a bit and fill in some spaces a little tighter. It's amazing how much smaller the 14 beads are - makes the size 11 seem huge when you are working with them. I followed the painted colors in the whole piece except for the water where I added in the darker teal to make some little water "swooshes" and the base to ground the piece. Plus I just really wanted to use two colors.
I chose to use beading thread for this piece because the color makes a slight difference. Fireline, or clear beading thread, can sometimes show and is a lot thicker. If I had used Fireline, I could have just stitched across the rows and changed bead color as I went. A lot more effort involved in changing the thread color where you have to stitch portions as a time, but I really like the end result. I wanted the lower crab legs to appear as though they were beneath the water. So for the lower legs, I used a light blue beading thread and more of the light blue beads. For the upper legs, I used dark blue beading thread and more of the dark blue beads. So excited that my plan worked and you can see the difference. The top part of the canvas was painted an orange-y coral color. I chose a beautiful pink bead and then used orange beading thread to ground the color and turn the whole thing a perfect pinky coral that I love. I think it worked.
The products I love the most when beading are:
1. "& More" brand (Julia Snyder) beading thread - it's pre-waxed and doesn't fray and is so strong that I don't worry about just using one ply. It comes in beautiful colors and they also have a combo tube that you can buy that has one of every color! Handy-dandy!
2. Bohin brand beading needles - I've used every type of beading needle and these are my absolute favorite - strong and reliable - small enough to pass through all beads and a large enough eye to thread through. I use Bohin brand needles almost exclusively in all sizes. They are the BEST!
3. Double-stick tape strips - there are many different types and the brand doesn't really matter as long as it's thick enough and sticky enough to hold to your canvas. It can be placed anywhere on your canvas to allow you to easily grab a bead and keep on going. The beads stick so that they don't move around and you can pick them up easier - but not so tight that you can't get them up off the tape. And clean-up is a breeze - just pull it off when done and throw it away. Easy-breezy!
My plan is to frame this piece in a chunky distressed white painted frame - the beach-y look.
Maybe you'll be brave enough to bead an entire piece?