BeadCreator is a software package for beaders who want to design their own patterns either for personal or commercial use. I’ve been busy testing it out – see my review in this article below!
I create beading patterns on a regular basis for my Etsy shop and usually, I use BeadTool for my designs. Recently I’ve been on the hunt for other beading pattern software packages in the hope of finding one that does everything I need it to.
I came across BeadCreator and thought it looked really good. So, I decided to reach out to the team there and ask if I could test out the software for free in exchange for a review here on Craftaholique, and they kindly agreed!*
There are two versions of BeadCreator; Pro and Pro Plus. I was sent a link to download the Pro version (BeadCreator Pro 6), but I think when purchasing the software, it’s available as a hard copy on a disc.
Installing BeadCreator Pro 6
When using BeadCreator Pro 6 for the first time, I had to register my copy of the software by entering a serial number and a unique PC identifier code when prompted.
Along with the link to download BeadCreator, I was sent several training videos to watch. I found these very helpful; they explained everything that I had questions about, including installing the software!
The installation video is well worth watching before opening up BeadCreator, as it includes detailed instructions on how to register the software – an important step that if missed, will cause problems later down the line.
Once I’d registered my copy, I began to use it to its full potential.
Creating a pattern from an image with Bead Creator Pro 6
A nifty tool called “Bead Fairie” is the starting point for creating a beading pattern (top left icon with the wizard hat). From there, it’s possible to create a pattern from your own image, one of the stock library images or simply start from a blank canvas.
In the Pro version that I’ve tested, the stock library (called Old Masters) holds more than 2000 images from a number of famous paintings e.g. from the likes of Van Gogh, which you can use to make beading patterns. The image library needs to be downloaded, but I haven’t done this yet as from what I can gather, it takes time (and space on your PC) to do this.
Instead, I decided to use my own photo (of my dog!) to create a pattern for a beaded tapestry.
To do this, I simply opened my image when prompted and then I was able to set my parameters for the size of the pattern and choose a colour palette (I chose Delicas in size 11/0).
After selecting my requirements, I simply clicked on “apply” and “finish” and then my image was transformed into a beading pattern!
The “image to pattern” function is much the same as BeadTool on the surface of it. But there are some handy features that give BeadCreator an edge here. Firstly, there’s an option in the “Edit” menu to “Use Only XX Colors” – this is a tool to help reduce the number of colours used.
In case you’re wondering why you’d want to do that, here’s why: when I originally transferred my image, over 300 bead colours were picked up from the photo and so creating this tapestry would have cost well over $1000.
I know this because BeadCreator helpfully highlights how much the beads might cost when making the pattern. I reduced the number of colours down to just 58 and I was able to reduce the potential cost of beads without affecting the quality of the pattern too much.
See the green text at the bottom of the above screenshot? It’s a bit tiny, sorry! Anyway, this is telling me that by using 58 bead colours to make this tapestry, I’m looking at a potential cost of $305.50.
(Note – for every bead colour used, BeadCreator assumes that you’ll need to buy a tube of beads. Some colours picked up might mean that very few beads are needed for a particular colour. It’s worth going through and manually replacing those colours to one where you’ll definitely need to buy a whole tube!)
Creating a pattern from a blank canvas with BeadCreator Pro 6
There are several tools available to help with creating a pattern from scratch. To do this, I went back to the “Bead Fairie” icon and selected the option to start from a blank canvas. There, I was able to set the size I wanted, along with a colour palette just like before.
Under the “Edit” menu, there’s a tool called “Color Editor”, where I was able to select different outline and fill shapes and choose different bead colours to use – see the screenshot above. There is a line drawing tool too. The undo button comes in handy here – it reverses up to 99 steps just in case there are a lot of mistakes!
Creating multiple pattern formats and adding fringe
Multiple pattern formats and the option to add fringe are the features that I was particularly interested in, as currently, BeadTool doesn’t support these. To add a fringe to my design, I selected the “Fringe” button under “Pattern Format” in the top right of the screen. Then, I was able to add a fringe to the top (and the bottom if I wanted to). The fringe option has two types of formats available, brick stitch and loom stitch.
Under the “Edit” menu, there’s an option to select “Multiple Pattern Formats”. It’s possible to mix and match various pattern types within a design, using this tool. I think this is such a great feature. The only caveat is that you’ll need to work within the parameters that you set originally.
For example, let’s say that you’re designing in peyote stitch and you have 40 rows set within your parameters. If you want to add 10 rows of brick stitch, you’ll need to reduce the number of rows of peyote to 30, so that you still have 40 rows total. You can do all of this within the “Multiple Pattern Formats” function as there are buttons to add, delete and edit parts. (Tip! Watch the training video about multiple pattern formats – it’s very helpful).
Publishing patterns with BeadCreator Pro 6
It’s fairly straightforward to publish a pattern in BeadCreator. There’s an option to export to a PDF and in the settings, you can add lots of information about the pattern.
You can even protect the pattern so that the end user can’t print, copy or edit it without a password, which is useful if you’re planning to send it to a potential customer for them to check out the pattern before they buy.
In terms of finished patterns in PDF format, they’re very detailed with pattern properties, a pattern preview, a bead index and a word chart included. I tested out a basic pattern and I couldn’t quite get the format exactly how I wanted it on the first try. I think I will have to have a play around with it to get all the different elements to fit as they should.
How much does BeadCreator cost (and is it worth the money)?
BeadCreator Pro 6 costs $149 and the Pro 6 Plus version costs $249. The increased cost of the Pro Plus version is down to the stock image library which includes a whopping 20,000 copyright free images to use for pattern designing. Apart from that, the standard Pro version does everything that the Pro Plus version does.
So, is this beading software worth the money? Well, in my view, the Pro version at $149 would be worth the money for a beader who needs to create and sell professional-looking patterns and would benefit from being able to mix up pattern formats, add fringe, change the saturation and hues of colours and protect their patterns.
The Pro Plus version is a bit of a jump in price and as a contemporary bead pattern designer myself, I personally don’t think I’d be able to make use of the extensive “Old Masters” image library, so for me, the upgrade wouldn’t be worth the extra cost.
BeadCreator is a comprehensive programme and it’s taken me a little while to get used to it (I’m still learning about many of its features!). With that said, I think it’s possible to create some fantastic patterns with this software, and if you have some time and are prepared to go through the training videos, you’ll find these to be a great help.
One thing I have noticed is that the customer support seems to be very good! I’ve had to email the team a few times and have always found their responses to be fast and helpful. I’m sure you’ll agree that customer service is an important point to consider if you’re going to be spending a decent chunk of cash on something.
Have you used BeadCreator already? What do you think about it?
*Disclosure: Thank you to BeadCreator for sending me this version of the software free of charge so that I could review it for this post! All opinions are my own.
**Image © Craftaholique – logo courtesy of BeadCreator.