Tips for Using Curved Beading Needles

Meet Rajah, my beaded tiger. I started on him in a class, beaded more at a bead retreat, and spent 2 days beading more this past weekend. I am just now finished with his face! This was the first project I have done using a curved needle, and I wanted to share what I’ve learned.

3 Quick Tips for Using Curved Needles

  1. Uneven Surfaces– It was essential to use a curved needle on the contours of the face, and I found it easier to bead on tight uneven areas. On the back of his head where it is more flat, I used a straight short needle. Use what works best.
  2. Practice Makes Perfect– To be perfectly honest, I completely sucked at using a curved needle when I first started this project. I sucked because I wasn’t used to how it works. You definitely get a feel for it by just using it a lot.
  3. Control Pressure and Stitch Depth– We each got 2 curved needles for the class, and I snapped both of them in the first 2 hours! The trick is create a stitch that is not too deep into the object you’re beading. When your stitch is more shallow, it is easier for the needle to come up where you want without adding extra pressure.
  4. Where to Purchase

    Curved beading needles can be hard to find sometimes, so I want to share my supplier with you: Kandra’s Beads.

    What do you think? Do you have any experience using curved beading needles? Are they something you want to try out? Please share with us in the comments!

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • avatar Sister Diane March 24, 2010, 11:01 am

    Holy Moly! Where to begin?

    First, I could not love the idea of beading on a stuffed figure more! I want to abandon my entire workday and go thrifting for stuffies RIGHT NOW.

    Second, the bit you have done on your tiger is so gorgeous! I cannot wait to see the finished project.

    And thirdly, thank you for the super helpful tips. I gave up on bead embroidery a while back. Never even heard of curved needles, though. I use them for upholstery repairs, so I can totally see how they’d be great for beading.

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth March 24, 2010, 11:14 am

    Thanks for the comment, Diane! My friend makes gorgeous beaded dolls and sews her own doll forms. For her beaded doll class, she gave me this little guy from Burger King! Beanie Babies work well if you take out the beans and stuff them with fiberfill.

    This project definitely makes me love bead embroidery more than I already did, if that was possible :)

  • avatar Kristin March 24, 2010, 11:28 am

    Wow, Mandi, that is fabulous! I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • avatar Lexi March 24, 2010, 5:28 pm

    Mandi…I love the feather. Also don’t forget to tell people to stuff the little guys more on the stuffed side. They might have to put some beans in the feet/butt to keep it upright.

  • avatar Karen Mehl March 24, 2010, 5:33 pm

    Yay! Raj has a feather. He is so handsome and masculine. I love him. It was great having him spend the weekend.


  • avatar Ralonda March 24, 2010, 9:32 pm

    Your tips are great! Practice is a definate must to master working with the curved needle. defiantely don’t give up, even if you break a few before you get the hang of it. I would also like to add that you learn how to flex it just right (so it won’t snap either) to get it just where you want it. When I first began beaded dolls I had to use the curved upholstery needle and unthread it every time I added a bead to the thread. I first discovered the curved needle when fellow doll artist sent me two of them. Her name is Aryd’ell and here is her site-
    Rajah is terrific and the feather is amazing!

  • avatar madebymegs March 25, 2010, 10:37 am

    Holy cow is that tiger awesome. I would never in a million years have the patience to bead. You make it look so beautiful and the feather is a cute touch :)

  • avatar Mandy February 28, 2011, 8:12 am

    Wow! I’m still a beginning beader, but when doing bead embroidary I’ve already caught on to this even for flat work. I haven’t actually purchased any curved needles, but my long straight ones where just curving on their own! I still use the needle long after it is straight, finding the curve helpful in getting between beads. While beading I even thought this needle is starting to look like an upholstery needle. LOL. I was surprised I couldn’t find them in the stores, but since I seem to be able to creat my own I’m good! I love the idea of bead embroidering a little stuffed animal! I was reading somewhere else that to practice making sculptural beadwork you should get a little stuffed animal and use peyote stitch all around him to practice increasing, decreasing, etc, for the sculpturing. Pretty cool!

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