Sheltered in place with Embroidery on canvas – The Glass Bead Gel project


I hope everything is going well for you, wherever you may be.

Are you ready to play with glass bead gel? It’s gloppy but not very fluid so, you need a spreader or a stiff paint brush. I was quite lucky to have found a single palette knife . I did have an old credit card and a plastic knife ready.

First, here’s how yesterday’s canvas turned out.

I added a few strands of gold sparkly thread and some variegated yarn to sort of deepen the feel. It’s okay, but I think I would like to add more black thread along the borders of the picture. Not bad for only a few hours of work.

Annnnd, back to today’s project of starting out a canvas with glass bead gel . Before we embroider, we will decide what will be stitched and what will be covered with the glass bead texture. I am showing you two options.

I’m choosing another heart shape because it’s symbolic as it is common and easy for almost anyone to cut out.

I cut out a heart large enough ,but not over sized to fit on my canvas. I am also saving the paper with the heart shaped hole. There are some design choices to think about before going ahead- Where do you want the glass beads to go? If you want them in the heart, then take the paper with the heart cut out and tape it firmly to the canvas

I want the heart space to be filled with glass bead gel. I check that the heart is centered by placing the cut paper on the front of my canvas and holding it up to the window. Then, using masking tape, I adher the paper to the canvas.

Or perhaps, you are more interested in stitching the area around the heart?

As you see, the canvas that’s taped exposes a heart shape. The canvas where the cut heart, which is basted to the canvas, will shield the area from glass bead gel so it can later be embroidered.

As you see from the photos, you can either go one way or the other, or if you’re up for it and have a few canvases handy, do both at once.

Glass Bead Gel is made from polymer with beads added. It’s gluey and should be cleaned up if it spills or it will be like acrylic paint or glue to remove.

I am glad to have a palette knife to mix a small amount of acrylic paint with a generous amount of glass bead gel. A chop stick or disposable knife would work. A paintbrush is less effective in moving this bumpy gloppy texture across a canvas.

On a piece of paper or in a mix tray or whatever you use to mix acrylics in, mix a small amount of paint with a larger amount of glass bead gel. If you are using a 10 inch canvas as seen here, then it will take about 4-6 tablespoons of gel to cover the area around the heart- about half that if you are only filling in the heart.

Here the glass bead gel is being applied to the area where the heart was cut out. I try my best to be careful around the edges.

I start on the outside of the stencil and slide the glop inwards toward the center of the heart. I think this keeps the glop from getting under the stencil.

On this canvas, I will be decorating around the heart with embroidery. I gave this about a minute to sit before cutting the tape and removing the paper.
It’s not completely perfect but it’s in good shape. I will leave it over night to dry before stitching around the heart.

If you are only going to embroider the heart and are using the glass bead gel for background, Baste

the heart where you want it to be on canvas. By basting, I mean, sew a couple of long stitches to hold the heart in place, no knots, just enough tension to hold the heart down.

When I am adding gel around the heart, I slide the glop from the edge of the stencil, outwards- it helps keep the glop from going under the stencil here.

I wait only about a minute before cutting the couple stitches and gently remove the stitches and stencil from the canvas

Gently remove the stitches and stencil before the gel dries.

I remember that I had asked you to bring a pretty paper of fabric to use with this tutorial ,but the truth is that I have neither paper nor fabric here to show you! Hold onto those as I figure out how to get a hold of fabric and paper to show you – next week, I guess as we will finish this current project in the next few days.

If you have gems, sequins or other tiny, light weighted items to add to the heart or to the heart background, you can add while the gel is still wet, it will act like glue and hold the item to the canvas. I would show you but my trinkets are in storage.

Here are the canvases we worked on today. Give them overnight to dry and I will be back tomorrow with ideas on adding to them with stitching.

Thanks for checking this out. I’ll take a day to get organized for the next few weeks of projects. We are sheltered in place for the foreseeable future. My vast collection of art supplies are in storage so, I will order what I don’t have here now, so I can add more projects.

Categories Artful embroidery, Season of What Now projects, tutorial, work in progress
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close