Beading (Manek) Tutorial – Part 1: Preparing The Frame& Canvas

Ever since I posted my Kasut Manek (beaded shoes) here, I received several emails from readers around the world asking me how to do beading for it. I decided to post some comprehensive tutorials in this area to cover all-you-need-to-know-how-to-bead-a-Kasut-Manek.

These tutorials are going to split into 4 parts:

Here we are, at the very beginning among these tutorials: How to prepare your cross-stitch canvas….

You need:

  1. A wooden frame measuring 11″ x 14″, preferably soft wood like pine so that you can press the thumb pins into it easily.
  2. A 16-count cross-sticth canvas, white color, 11″ x 14″. Sew a border of 3.5″ width with cotton fabric
  3. Some thumb pins
  4. Shoes-face shape of your foot size
  5. Pencil


If you can’t find the wooden frame, you can always substitute it with  easy clip frames (38 x 30 cm) or with a big embriodery/quilt hoop of 14″ diameter. You will need to resize your canvas to suit the frame you choose, but the minimum working area must be 11″ x 14″.

As you work along the beading process, the tension of the cross-stitch canvas will get lax at some point of time, re-tensioning is necessary so that your beading work is even.

Now, come back to our thumb pins option….


Double-fold the 3.5″ border and pin down the thumb pins to secure it, 4 pins on the short side and 5 pins on the long side.


Complete all 4 sides and make sure you pull the canvas in tension while pinned down so that it is tight and firm.


Trace the outline of the shoes-face of your foot size with pencil on your canvas. Mark the center-line. Trace both right and left side of your shoes-faces on top and bottom of the canvas respectively (just flip the paper pattern to change from left to right and vice-versa).  The pattern shown below is a simple casual thong style sandals. There are several types of patterns for you to choose from, closed-toe, opened-toe, horizontal single-strap, horizontal double-straps, diagonal-straps, crossed-straps, and many more…..


That’s it, now your framed canvas is ready for beading!!!!

Continue: Part 2 – Border Beading…..

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28 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Pingback:Beading (Manek) Tutorial – Part 2: Border Beading :

  2. Looking forward to see the rest of the postings! 😉

  3. hello,

    i love the beaded shoes u made, i think they are just wonderful! can you please tell me where can i find such shoes maker to complete the shoes for me if i have done the beading myself. i m currently in perth, australia. Did you get them done in penang? very much appreciated if u can let me know. thank you.

    with regards,

    • Hi Sabrina,
      I am working together with a beaded shoes-maker here in Penang. He is a very experience kasut manek maker. I can help you in getting your kasut manek assembled after you have completed your shoes face if you can not come here personally.

  4. Hi, thank you so much for your kasut manek tutorials! I was just looking for one to buy, but you’ve inspired me to try and make a pair myself. 🙂

    I’m an absolute novice, though, so I’m afraid I need a bit more of your help:

    1) Could you please tell me how you determine the shape/size of the shoe-face? Is there a template I could follow, even just to get the shape right? I’m not sure how the different styles you mention should be laid out (esp. diagonal straps, crossed straps).

    2) If you could give tips on how to adjust for size that would be even better!

    3) Does your shoemaker have any instructions/advice for how to make kasut manek? I live abroad, and don’t think anybody here has any idea how…

    Thank you so much!

  5. 1) Could you please tell me how you determine the shape/size of the shoe-face? Is there a template I could follow, even just to get the shape right?

    I am interested in an open toe, but not sure how you make the shoe-face template. How would the different styles you mention be laid out (

    2) If you could give tips on how to adjust for size that would be even better!

    3) Does your shoemaker have any instructions/advice for how to make kasut manek? I live in the U.S., and don’t think anybody here has any idea how…

    Thank you so much!

  6. I really like the idea you show here for the thong style shoe. How would you attach it to a shoe like that?

  7. Hi Joanne, you mentioned that you are working with a beaded shoes-maker here in Penang. Can you please let me know his contact?? I stay in Penang. Thanks.

  8. Hi Joanne, I really need your help!! I tried asking around but no one can help me!! May I ask how many different types there are and where can I get the templates to the shoes? Please help me!!

    Thanks a million!!

    • There are many designs…. normal cobblers wouldn’t know the design of template. A manek shoe cordwainer should be the one to look out for. Althea, do you mind to tell me if you are living in Penang?

      • Hi Joanne, I stay in Singapore not Penang.. So what should I do now?? I tried drawing it with my shoes but it seems weird too.. Hehehe..

  9. Hi Joanne, I m residing at Singapore!! I even tried drawing my feet n shoes to try to draw the template out but it looks super weird.. Please help!!!

  10. Hi Joanne I dunno y my posts keep on not getting through!! I m in Singapore not Penang.. I even tried drawing it out with my feet n shoes but they look very weird!! What should I do? Please help!!

  11. Hi Joanne,

    I was reading at your blog and really interested to make my own pair of kasut manek.
    As Ian a beginners, can you advise like where to buy the shoe-outline template? Or can I create the template my own? Is there where that sells the design template too?

    Many thank for your advise

  12. Hi Joanne!
    I’m in awe with your kasut manek and it’s so beautiful. It makes me inspired to sew one myself too! Your information here is very detailed and useful(easy for a slow-beginner like me to follow, haha)! Could you also please tell me how you determine the shape/size of the shoe-face, like those for the covered-toe or the cross straps etc.? I really wish to try out my own pattern and thought that you could help me with that!
    Thank you so much! Greatly appreciated!

    • I got the pattern from the cobbler who did my final shoes assembly. There should be some cobblers around China Town who do kasut manek, perhaps you can ask them for a pattern. Hope this helps.

  13. Oh yes! I live in Singapore also! Thanks

  14. Thanks Joanne!
    Seems like I’ll be going on an expedition soon! Another question, I understand that cross stitch fabric that you use to sew the beads on is soft and it doesn’t hold still. Is there a method in which you use to firm up the shoe face so that it will have a more rigid structure?

  15. Hello! I’ve recently visited malacca and was intrigued with this unique culture called nonya culture. They have these beautiful beaded shoes which is very pretty! After reading this page, I’m excited to start making one my own! Joanne, could you send me the different templates (outline) of the shoe face? I’m living in England and I can’t find those here, except for the beads, that is.. Your help will definitely be resourceful to me! Cheers! Thank you so much!

  16. Hi Joanne, may I know how to tie a big knot for starting and ending off? And do I need to weave thread behind stitches when I end off? Please help me. Thanks a lot.

    • Hi Susan,
      I tie a double knot and string the needle between the 2 threads after sewing the first bead (when the needle goes to the back), this method will avoid a big knot and also prevent the knot from coming off through the hole of the bead.
      For the end of the sewing, I thread my needle between the sewn thread and tie double knot for secure ending.

  17. Dear Joanne

    I am reading your blog with interest! I am traveling to Penang, just thought if you know where can I get the design and pattern for beaded shoes?

    Thank you

    • Hi Ursula,
      There is a shop at Penang Road (Komtar side), they have all the materials and info you need. The name of the shop is Sin Seng Lee.
      515-517, Penang Road, 10000 George Town, Malaysia
      Hope this help and happy shopping.


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