Of all my beading mats and beading surfaces, my favorites have to be my Designer's Workpads and my Deluxe Bead Traveler from Designer's Findings and bead artist Diane Hyde. I was introduced to these wonderful work pads through a friend who used them for a beading class she taught, and once I started using these beading mats for my class beading project, I was hooked.
Each Designer's Workpad consists of a piece of sturdy wood that has been thickly padded and covered with a piece of utility fabric. Each pad is handmade, one at a time, and the quality is superior to any other stiff-backed beading mat that I've ever used. The padding gives you a place to stash your beading needles, and the utility fabric is easy to keep clean. The work pads come in three sizes: a Mini (5¾" x 7"), General Purpose (10" x 10" square) and Professional (11½" x 14"). Each size comes in a variety of fabric colors.
For traveling with my beads, whether it's around the house or around the country, I prefer to use my Deluxe Bead Traveler beading mat. It consists of a work pad set into a tray with a clear plastic lid. A space between the beading mat and the inside wall of the tray provides space for a few tubes of seed beads, a small pair of scissors, and a few needles. The raised edges of the tray means that your beads won't spill over the sides of your beading mat if you pick up or move your tray, and because it's a Designer's Findings work pad, it's easy to clean. The work pad fits into a standard jewelry display tray.
If you want to get your hands on your own Designer's Workpad, now is the time to buy them. Diane Hyde has announced that she is discontinuing her line of Designer's Workpads to pursue other avenues, and she has a very limited stock left. You can find all the details and how to order on Diane's website, Designer's Findings. And while you're there – check out her selection of bead kits, brass bead embroidery blanks, and Bead Punk components, too!