There has been a lot of on-line discussion about the “Bead On It Board” and the newer “Bead Pad.” When I was at Bead and Button early in June 2015, I was able to see both and I have been using both this past month. This is not going to be an argument about copyright, patent, and trademark. This is my impressions about two different products.
This year, I bought three different BOIB from Betcey at Beyond Beadery and two from www.BeadPads.bigcartel.com. It was in the back of my head to write a blog post that would talk about the two products, MY opinion of the products.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my BOIB, all of them – to the point where I have eight different one in avariety of sizes from small to large. I realized it is obsessive behavior, but one was a gift and one was a trade (how’s that for justification?). In the beading industry, there is always competition (Swarovski and Preciosa, Miyuki and Toho, Nymo and One G (or KO, silamide, Fireline; etc).
The first and the original product is the “Bead on It!” beading board (BOIB). According to the label on the back of my board, it has a 2008 copyright, and a trademark patented of 2010. The “Bead Pad” (BP) just has a small label on the back.
Since I have used the BOIB for many years, I have been working with my new Bead Pad for the last several weeks. My thoughts are:
- The fabric is where you see the most difference. The BOIB is available is many, many colors and combinations of colors – mostly with velour fabrics, with some really exciting prints. The fabrics feel really nice on your wrist and hands as you bead. The BP I saw at B&B were of a different palette with earth tones in a rich upholstery fabric. I actually like the variety in both boards – perhaps, I could see the BP wearing a little better and not getting as dirty. But both are nice – this would completely be the personal preference of the consumer.
- Functionality: Both boards have a great base fabric. Both boards have a similar feel when working with them, the beads lay nicely for scooping with the needle or for the jab method of one bead at a time. The deck of the BOIB is a little “spongier”, but I didn’t see that as a positive or negative for either board.
- On both boards, seed beads get stuck in the groove between the bumper and the base fabric. It means flicking them out with your Scoopula, triangle tray or fingernail. A friend of mine attempted to fix this with some satin cording (rat tail) glued in the groove, which just now has the beads stuck in between the cording and the base fabric.
- The BP board is much heavier than the BOIB. It feels as if it’s made out of a dense plywood, versus the lighter plywood that they BOIB uses. That said, I take my BP to the patio to use because I know that it isn't going to move as much if the table is jolted. If you are not moving it between your studio area and classrooms, then this isn’t as much of a concern for you.
- Price: For an 11x17 board, the BOIB price is $120.00. The price for the BP for about the same size is $50. That’s a big different if you are a budget minded beader.
- Backing Material: The BOIB uses a felt fabric on the bottom side. On a non-fabric surface, the BOIB does slip, but not much. The BP uses a latex free shelf-liner material, which won’t slide on any surface. I do think the BOIB board is finished a little nicer, but not enough to make it a deal breaker. One of my BP had a broken staple that didn’t lay right and scratched me, but a quick whack with a hammer took care of that.
In summary, I do like both boards (and I will admit, I was going into this experiment hoping that I would like the BOIB better - and I might because it has been a staple on my desk for several years). I think that there is a different audience for both boards, just as there is an audience for Mercedes and Lexus, Swarovski and Preciosa crystals, Japanese and Czech seed beads. The winner will be all the beaders who are put off by the price of the BOIB who fall in love with the BP. And then they decide that they can't wait to put their own test together.