Cross Stitch Tips - How to Add Seed Beads to Cross Stitch Designs

Embellish your cross stitch by adding decorative seed beads

Multicoloured beads on display
Patricia Hamilton / Getty Images

Seed beads may be added to a design as you stitch or as a last step in the completion of the project. It is up to you as to how you want to add beads. 

It is best to use a specially designed beading needle to add seed beads, but a size 28 tapestry needle may work. The needle will have to be smaller than the needle you use for cross stitch and it will have to be sharper. Choosing the right needle will save you a big headache as the beads can get stuck on your needle.


The floss color used to attach seed beads should be indicated in the directions for the pattern. If the floss color is not, choose a color from the design if the bead is to be added in a stitched area. If the bead is not in an area of stitches but stands alone in the design, use a color of floss that matches the bead or the fabric.

  1. Use a half stitch to add the seed bead unless otherwise indicated in the design instructions. Insert the needle from the back of the fabric, add the bead, then take the needle back down. This will ensure the bead stays in place. 
  2. A second half stitch (from the opposite direction) may be used to further secure the seed bead. If more than one strand of floss is used, allow one strand of floss to fall on each side of the seed bead.
  3. Use a Bead-nabber to pick up and hold seed beads.

A small painter's palette is an inexpensive way to corral the beads for your project.

When stitching rows of beads, start at the lower portion of the project and work your way up. Make certain that the half stitches used to attach the beads all face the same way.

Because the eye of the beading needle is usually smaller than a tapestry needle, use a needle threader. When using two strands of floss, it may be easier to thread one strand of floss at a time into the eye of the needle.

Take care with stitching with beading needles. The eye will break if too much force is applied.

Adding seed beads can take a ho-hum project up a notch. Beads add another dimension to your project. They look great with cross stitched pieces of jewelry or adding a little bling to flowers on a sampler. It can take a little more time to add seed beads to a project but it is worth the work.