Whether you're a hobbyist, a profession, or just playing around, every beader needs some kind of design tool to plan out their creation. Bead graph paper is often used to plan Native American bead work designs, because the graphs can be adjusted for certain bead sizes and it more accurately displays the final dimensions of finished projects. For those who can't buy the bead graph paper or don't want to wait for delivery, they'll try to print out tiny sheets of this graph paper, or, for the more technologically savvy, use digital programs such as Virtual Bead Loom and Stitchboard. Virtual Bead Loom creates a grid on your computer screen with X and Y coordinates that remind you of middle school math class. You can choose the pattern, color, and placement of the bead or design, then click create, and it shows up on the grid. Once finished, you can print out your design and use that as your template. Stichboard allows you to upload images in .gif and .jpg (more formats can be uploaded with a membership) and it will then convert it to a beading, crochet, cross stitch, or knitting pattern.
But a more professional software than all of these is BeadCreator, created in 2000 when notable companies like BeadPlan and Beadscape stopped developing software. BeadCreator was designed when the developers looked at Beadscape and BeadPlan's programs and noted the several flaws within each of them. BeadCreator has been fine tuned and changed from user feedback for fifteen years, and it is now the easiest way to create original and pre-made patterns for beading. The user has complete control over bead color, size, number of beads used, and bead type.
The Bead Inventory System is one of the most valuable tools in this amazing software. It allows you to input all the beads you have in stock into the program, then you can choose to use only the beads in your inventory-- so you know if you have enough and you don't have to run out and buy more beads in the middle of a project! BeadCreator allows you to control the hue, saturation and lightness through their color editing tools. A separate book has been written about BeadCreator, with extensive detailing of every single tool and control in the program. BeadCreator can do brick, RAW, fringe, loom, peyote, sacred gourd, and herringbone. It even outputs to Word, Doc, Excel, and will do JPG, PNG, and BMP image formats. You don't have to install any extra software to make it a PDF file, because BeadCreator will output to PDF by default.
BeadCreator provides two levels of software: BeadCreator Professional and BeadCreator Professional Plus in their sixth edition. Over eighty percent of users that purchase the entry level edition will upgrade to Professional or Professional Plus within only ninety days. The Pro Edition has file protection, advanced color editing functions, the ability to delete certain beads by color, password file protection, online video tutorials and much more included with it. And believe it or not, you can purchase even more features to expand your beading to phenomenal levels. With Pro Plus you can access all of the features in the Pro version plus images of paintings from legendary classics like Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, and many more.
BeadCreator gives you access to thousands of features you would never get anywhere else, and it continues to be the most effective way of simple and intricate virtual bead design.