Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flat Out Brilliant!

With Christmas just around the corner you might be looking for something to ask Santa for this year, besides beads, and if you don't have this brilliant tool it might be just what you can ask for. What is it? BeadTool4.

I've been doing a lot of new flatwork designs this past week and someone asked what 'flatwork' was. Linda says she thinks I coined the term but I have no idea.  When I talk about flatwork I mean flat stitches that have a pattern in them...the type of thing you can design on graph paper. It could be, and often is, peyote stitch but it definitely isn't limited to it and I've done some in brick stitch and herringbone.

To help me create flatwork, I use BeadTool4, a software program that does all the hard work of pattern writing for you....and one of the fabulous things about it is you don't even need to be artistic to create amazing patterns. The program allows you to import photos right into your graphs and converts them into the closest shades of Delicas and then tells you exactly how many of each color you will need.

If you prefer to draw your designs that option is available and very user friendly. I like to base some of my designs on my polymer beads, this is the bead I based my Tornado cuff on. For this design I actually sat down with graph paper (free printable graph paper is available at the Fire Mountain Gems) and pencil to work out the design, then transferred it to BeadTool which then gave me a graph chart and a word chart to create the cuff.

I highly recommend this program and it's under $50 which definitely makes it accessible.  It gives everyone the ability to create their own unique patterns or take their favorite photo and turn it into wearable art.  They also let you play with it before you buy it...in case I haven't sold you on it :-)


  1. Sherwood and I were just discussing this very program last evening!!! He was trying to convince me that we should pay out the cash for it, arguing that I would get soooooooo much use out of it... and now, here you are, saying the same thing, I think the Fates are trying to tell me something!!

  2. Ned. Get it. Just get it. But be careful of falling in and losing a week when you first set it up! I LOVE beadtool!

  3. Have any of you tried Inkscape? It's a 3D share ware for making beading diagrams. Jennifer van B from about.com beadwork is recommending it and I was hoping one of the mavens has tried it.

  4. I haven't tried it Sandy....I use CorelDraw for mine. I've been hoping Swarovski would come out with some design software with all their beads ready to drop in....THAT would be at the top of my Christmas list!

  5. I love your design and I love the bead that inspired you. It's so nice that everyone is so generous with their techniques, what an awesome group to belong too. Thanks to all the Mavens.

  6. I love BeadTool!! i've got version 3, though. When I first got it, I lost an entire week, turning evereything in sight into graphs, just for the fun of it.