Thursday, January 28, 2010

Selecting A Canvas to Bead All Over

My SharonG canvas looks pretty good covered in beads but it is rather detailed with some of the realistic shading the artist is known for.  Look at the center of the tap pants.  See how the ivory shades into ecru there? I used ivory and ecru threads to attach the beads in these areas, but you really can't see the shading very much at all with the beading on top, despite my using clear beads and matching thread colors.  The "ice" effect of the beads mutes the color difference.

See the dark green camouflage spots?  They are actually two shades of green, with a slightly lighter shade of green around the perimeter and a very intense and dark green in the center.  You can barely see this in the photos.  I only used one green thread to attach beads over the green areas since I could barely tell the two greens apart before I stitched the canvas. I was pretty sure I'd not tell the difference after all the beads went on.

If you want to try this yourself, I think you should look for canvases without much very subtle shading.  However, this is what I think, and not a Rule.  After all, SharonG's canvas is gorgeous even though I can't see the ecru and ivory shading well!

Your canvas doesn't need to be cartoon-like, but if you have more than 2-3 shades of a color in it, these may not show well under clear beads.  Even then it'll be best to have distinct color differences.  A canvas with a very light blue and a light blue may not have enough oomph between the colors for this to show up.  Let me show you some examples to help see what I mean.

There are quite a few Melissa Shirley canvases on this shop website.  See the tiny ornaments at the top?  They will look great beaded.  The colors are strong and will show up through bead "ice" very well.

The stockings further down the page are lovely and if they were smaller, would look nice "iced" but I think they are a little too big to bead.  An 11 x 22 inch stocking covered entirely with beads would be way too heavy.  Just bead the top perhaps, or maybe bead some of the ornaments.  In other words, size matters as much as shading when you are selecting a canvas for this technique.

Don't go too small, though.  You'll miss the subtle details if you cover them up with beads.  The four inch round Pond Ornament is really darling but if you "ice" it, the man and the Christmas tree he's carrying might look so muddled you can't tell what it is.  The wooden stakes marking the edge of the pond and the pond itself might disappear.

This ornament, the same size and on the same 18 count, might be a better choice.  If the details blur, they still will look like a jewel under ice.  By the way, it's from this page.

Overall, I think something with high color and contrast that isn't too large will work better entirely covered with clear beads.  Try something small like the 6x5 inch Dog Tribe above the next time you have a canvas you thought you have to tent stitch.  Go head and tent stitch it, but use beads and cotton floss!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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