What is BeadTool4?
Good question: what is BeadTool4? If you’re a designer, you may know. Even if you don’t design and sell tutorials, this could really help your beading. So, what’s it all about?
What is BeadTool4?
This is a beading design software program. You will use it to create flat beading charts. I can tell you it is very easy to use, and the software is supported by great video tutorials on their website. So, if there’s something you don’t understand, you can find the answers there.
This software is for both professional designers and for hobby beaders. It allows you to create a pattern chart in a range of different bead-weaving techniques. The software will then automatically convert that chart into a word chart. So, you have both picture and words to follow. That all happens at the click of a button.
When you are creating your pattern, you have a lot of options. You can colour individual beads. Or, you can draw lines, or shapes, or fill areas. So, it’s pretty easy to create any kind of pattern, large or small.
You also get some great options, like copy and paste. So, if you’ve created a motif, you can copy it and paste it in another area of your chart. You can even mirror or rotate these motifs, which is really handy.
Perhaps you have a small pattern or motif that you want to use over and over in different charts? Well, you can do that at the touch of a few buttons (this is called a ‘stamp’).
And for some, the best feature of all, is the ability to upload a real photo and, with a single click, turn it into a beading chart, using the stitch of your choice.
So, that’s all very powerful, and pretty awesome, right?
(That’s just one sample of my full pack of playing cards. Click here to get the pattern.)
How good is it?
This beading software has changed my life as a designer! I’m now able to create large-scale images, complex patterns, and automatically turn them into word charts that people will find easy to follow.
No wonder you’re seeing so many pattern charts hitting the market at the moment. With BeadTool4 it’s super-easy to create a pattern and turn it into a word chart.
The image you get looks totally realistic, so you don’t even need to bother beading a sample. Just bang out a few patterns in under an hour, stick them on Etsy and make a fortune!…
At least, that’s what a lot of people have been thinking and trying. And yes, this is all possible, but, if you take that route, you’re not going to make a fortune. Instead, you’re very much at risk of ending up with a reputation as a bad designer whose patterns should be avoided. Why?
Well, BeadTool4 is brilliant, but it’s not a replacement for the designer.
What can go wrong?
The software includes the full colour range for delica beads and many seed bead brands. So, you can pick colours from that. But, two issues:
- you still need to have the skill to be able to put together a good colour scheme (if you need help with that, click here)
- you’re quickly going to find that the bead colours on screen (great as they are), do not perfectly reflect the beads in reality. Of course they can’t, because there is no way that a flat image can render the full effect of the glass and colour finish of the beads.
So, if you think you can just upload an image, click the button to turn it into a chart, and then load that onto Etsy to sell as a pattern, think again. The colours that look fine together on the screen may simply not work in the actual beads.
So, if you’ve sold someone that pattern, they bead it according to your instructions, and the beadwork looks like a clashing mess, not like the original image, guess what? You’re going to have a very unhappy customer! I know this, because I’ve seen and heard it from real customers on social media. Is that the kind of reputation you want?
In fact, if you know your real beads, you will soon see that for some colours, the on-screen version looks totally different to the real bead. So, you cannot expect to get a working colour scheme without trying your chart in actual beads.
You will almost certainly need to make some substitutions.
Happily, if you do decide that a certain colour needs changing, it’s a matter of a couple of clicks to make the change on your chart. So, that is incredibly easy.
If used properly, then BeadTool4 is brilliant. It is pretty quick to create a pattern. You have all kinds of shortcuts that will automatically do things like change colours for you. So, if you start with one colour, then decide it doesn’t look right, it’s just a click of the mouse to change it.
It would take hours to write out a word chart from the pattern chart. (That’s why we never used to have word charts, back in the old days! In fact, learning to read a pattern chart is still a skill you should make sure to acquire. So, if you don’t have that skill yet, click here to learn).
Once you have BeadTool4, you will be able to create much larger and more complex designs with greater ease.
Just don’t get too carried away… With such a huge range of colours to play with, it’s very easy to create an amazing looking design. Then you find it uses 100+ different bead colours. Will anyone want to buy that pattern? How many people have all those colours in their stash? And, since some of those colours will require just a handful of beads, does the customer want to pay $5 for a tube of delicas, only to use 4 beads?
How do you get started with BeadTool4?
If you like the sound of all this, the software is very reasonably priced. But, if you’re still not sure, then they have a free trial version. That will allow you to try out all the different functions.
So, you can play around with converting an image. You can try switching in colours, copying and pasting designs, etc. But you will not be able to save any patterns you create. And you can’t test the word chart function (it does work – I’ve used it over and over and it never makes a mistake!). In order to do those things, you will need to upgrade to the paid version.
The free trial is great to just test whether you’re able to get on with the software and whether it will do the things you want from it. (To be honest, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t).
So, if this is sounding good, use this link to take you to the BeadTool website. There’s a lot more information there. You can find out what devices will run it, view some of the video tutorials, and download your free trial. Or, of course, just jump straight in and buy it!
I’ve been happily using mine for a few months, and the images you’ve been enjoying in this article are just some of the projects I’ve created with the aid of this brilliant software.
Click here to get the book, “Sweet Dreams” Beaded Chocolate Box
Well, hopefully that has answered anyone who was wondering what is BeadTool4! I have no hesitation in recommending it, and I’m very happy with my version.
If this has been helpful, then check out all my other beading articles on My World of Beads. I have helpful advice across all areas of beading, from finding patterns, to learning techniques. If you’re wanting to sell your work and need help, I’ve got you covered there too.
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