A flat-back cabochon is a gem stone that has been shaped and polished, usually convex with a flat back. Techniques for attaching cabachons apply to other round or oval objects such as shell, glass and coins etc. These cabachons can be used to embellish mini quilts, quilted bags and other hand stitched items.
The simplest way to attach a ‘slim’ cabochon, or similar item, is the one I am going to talk about in this blog. It just requires 2 or 3 different sized round beads, a beading needle, and waxed thread. so lets get onto it!
In this example I have attached a photo to a copper disc using Mod Podge. When dry I coated the surface with Mod Podge to protect it and then added a second coat when the first was dry. By applying the Mod Podge in different directions each time you get an almost canvas texture appearing. The copper disc is then attached to the fabric using double sided tape as a temporary fix.
You will need to work with an interfacing under the fabric to provide added strength when sewing on the cabochon. Please note that in these photos the interfacing is on top of the fabric for demonstration purposes only.
Thread a needle with a working length of waxed Nymo (see Bead Broth). Secure the thread to the back of the fabric and bring the needle up through to the right side close to the edge of the cabochon.
Add 4 seed beads (larger of the two sizes chosen – these were size 11) and lay these next to the edge of the photograph. Take the thread back through the fabric and come back up between the 2nd and 3rd seed bead. Go back through the 3rd and 4th seed beads. (Figure 1) Repeat until the cabochon has been surrounded then take the thread through the circle of beads as many times as you are able to do thus making the circle solid. Take the thread to the back of the fabric and secure.
Inner Row (Anchor row).
The next row requires you to place your seed beads between the foundation row and the cabochon. This ‘wedges’ your cabochon firmly within the bezel.
Thread the needle with a working length of waxed Nymo. Secure to the back of the fabric and bring the needle up between the cabochon and the foundation row.
Add 4 the smaller seed beads (in this case size 15) and lay them between the cabochon and the foundation row. Take the thread back through the interfacing and come back up between the 2nd and 3rd seed bead. Go back through the 3rd and 4th seed bead. This is the pattern for the rest of the row. Add 4 and back stitch 2. Complete the circle making sure that the seed beads sit comfortable together and are not squeezed or spaced too much.
As before…… continue simply threading through all the seed beads as many times as you can to ‘fill’ the holes and make the row firm. Take the thread to the back of the photograph and secure before cutting off.
You don’t need an outer row but this adds width and interest to the piece. Using 3 mm Crystal (or other of choice) work an outer row but using a 2 forward and 1 back stitch as the larger beads need more securing. Keep the row close to the foundation row. As before, finish by threading through the beads as many times as possible to fill the holes.
You can continue to add beads and crystals to fit into your design – sky is the limit!
This is a lovely way to embellish mini quilts and other items, and you can keep memories safe if you use cabochons like this.
Should you be interested, this is a picture of my daughter Ruthy when she was 2 or 3 and a photo I hold dear.
Next time we will be looking at attaching domed and thicker cabochons using Delica beads. Please ask any questions you like in the comments below and I will make every effort to answer them.