How to do tambour beading

How to do tambour beading

This video demonstrates how to do tambour beading, a technique used in French haute couture embroidery in Paris.

This method looks easier as the beads are worked on the front of the fabric but the principal is the same.

 I think I am off to order a tambour hook, and what ever else I need to give this type of beading a try.  


  1. I have been trying to look for a tambour or kantan hook, but I cannot find any stores near me that sell them. I also need it pretty soon, so unfortunately buying it online will not work. Is there any way I could make a tambour hook myself? Like with a needle or wire or something? Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie I think you would need to buy a tambour hook- the technique requires developing the knack and I really think you would need the right equipment. I say this because many Indian textile workers use a tambour hooks and if they could use something else and something cheaper they would have. India has long rich textile traditions which involve tambour work and their people are wonderfully innovative. If they could have adapted something they would have!

  2. Did a a one day course with Prf Haven in the summer at RSN , Tip, to stop the chain from unraveling you need to make it secure with a translucent glue on the back of your bead work when you have finished your project and it is still on the frame such as wheat starch etc

  3. 2 things to remember – drum tight – this term came from tambour drum fabric holders – do make your fabric drum tight
    next – notice using a sheer or semi sheer fabric – you can do other but you will need lots of practice. Sheers don't take the pull of drum tight as well – you can tack (well) the sheer to muslin – pull them both then remove the muslin from the working area
    hope this helps
    – Robin/Sabrina

  4. One caution – while this method is quite quick to complete by comparison to other methods of applying beads, it's also more vulnerable than using individual stitches. One snag or thread break, and the whole chained row of beads or sequins pulls out like a row of crochet.

    If you do this, make sure you're using a particularly break-resistant thread, or go back later and add a couple of reinforcement points so that long runs are not easily lost – especially in high wear areas.

    – K. (who has seen fountains of sequins shed from a single thread snap)

  5. I have seen this tool in some of my mother's sewing items I now have, and didn't know what if was used for. I'll have to find it and give it a try. I enjoy adding to my knowledge of hand embroidery.


  6. It takes practise. I got my hooks from Country Bumpkin on-line store and had some lessons from some very kind ladies in France. I just wanted to learn the embroidery part, not the beading. It took a number of months to get the action right. You just have to keep at it.

  7. I have several books on tambour beading but have never seen it. Now I must try it. The first video shows a much smaller and finer made hook which seems to go smoothly through the fabric. The second video shows a large hook that seems to catch the fabric and make big holes. Very interesting. Thanks so much.


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