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Beading (Manek) Tutorial – Part 2: Border Beading

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Continue from Part 1: Preparing The Frame & Canvas

After having your frame and canvas prepared, shoes-face traced out, the next step is to sew a stretch of beads along the shoes-face outline like the picture shown below.

You need:

1. Japanese seed beads size 15/0 for the border
2. Very fine needle so that it can go through the hole of the seed bead
3. White color quilting thread
4. Needle threader (The needle’s eye is so small that you will appreciate having this threader in hand :))

sew beads for beaded shoes

The sewing method is to simply adapt the technique of backstitching, but with thread drawing through the beads on the working surface.

Pass through a 1-strand of quilting thread to the needle’s eye and tie a big knot at the end of the loop to create a 2-strand cord. The big knot is just to make sure that the knot won’t come out from the cross-stitch canvas. Draw the needle up at a distance of about 2 bead-length (1) from the start point (2). I didn’t take any pictures to show the start point, so please assume that the last bead on the line is the start point.

sew beads for beaded shoes

Pick 2 beads and sew them back to the start point (2). The picture shown below is pointing at the wrong place, sorry, didn’t get a good picture to show either :p I was trying to show you that I picked up 2 beads and not where I am pointing at…


This one shows better, pull the beads all the way down to the canvas by the backstitching.


Complete 1 backstitch with 2 beads per stitch. Notice that the beads are crooked but stay on the line. Don’t worry, we are going to do some magic to get them straightened up later!!!! But before the magic can begin, you need to finish beading the border until the end.

….bead…. backstitch…bead…backstitch….bead…. backstitch….bead…. backstitch….bead…. backstitch….bead…. backstitch….bead…. backstitch….bead…. backstitch


Once you have finished a line of the border, pass the needle through all the beads along with it. Please make sure that your thread is long enough to go from one end to the other.


Since the needle is not long enough for you to pass through all the beads in one go, do it in batches of about 15 beads each time.

sew beads for beaded shoes

Pull the thread and you will see that all the beads straighten up nicely… no more zigzag…


Do the same to all the borders of the shoes-face outlines.

Remark: Only the top and bottom outline need to do a border bead. The sides are not required since it is going to be glued into the sole by the shoemaker. If you are making a closed-toe type, there is only one border at each shoe-face.

beaded shoes border

Now you have finished with the border, the next step is to fill up the shoe-face with a pattern….

To be continued: Part 3 – Interior Beading…..

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Tuesday 16th of December 2014

Thanks for generously sharing!


Saturday 15th of February 2014

Thank you so much for this great blog. It is obvious that you put in a lot of effort and take great pains to share your beautiful work. I will try out some of the things you have shared and send you photos for comments when I'm done. Take care.


Tuesday 8th of February 2011

Hey there, I know it has been a while since you posted on your blog re the manek shoes, but I just recently came about reading on how to get started on beading and found your blog to be very helpful. Is there anyway that you can email me an actual template of the diagonal straps, crossed straps for the shoes as I do not know exactly how to make them and I'm in US so will be helpful if you can do that for me. Thanks a bundle.


Wednesday 23rd of September 2009

Hi, could I have the above template, please. I'm a size 6. Thank you very much.


Tuesday 21st of July 2009

Wow, 8 hrs a day, that's like a full-time job. I envy u. I also realise that if I don't finish my sewing fast then the interest will slowly die off. ok, will try to steal more time to complete my project. BTW, do u get your beads online or at the local stores? Thanks.

Craft Passion

Tuesday 21st of July 2009

Exactly, not only that, once you put it down you need more determination to continue the project. I steal time from my rest time and I still have a full-time office job to take care besides my 2 kids. I get my beads both locally and oversea in order to meet my desired color range.