Maker Mojo: Mixed Media Fabric Beads

I teach a jewelry class and we are always looking for innovative (and inexpensive!) ways to create showstopping beads, necklaces, earrings and other wearables. A favorite project of the students enrolled in the course is always making lampwork beads, so when I was brainstorming a way for them to create other beads, I knew I wanted a finished product that was as visually appealing as the lampwork bead with significantly less skill involved.

Enter: mixed media fabric beads. These beads are perfect for a necklace, to embellish a mixed media artwork, or create a hanging assemblage. The options are truly unlimited with these. I obviously chose some really eye-catching neon colors, but I also imagine these coming together and making some really stunning earth-toned wearable pieces.

Supplies:

  1. Metal Mandrel or Kabob Skewer

  2. Tulle

  3. Yarn

  4. Thin Wire (I used 32 Gauge silver)

  5. Various seed and bugle beads

  6. Scissors and pliers

Step 1 – Cut your supplies! Cut a length of tulle (fabric will work, too!) of about 1.5″x15″. Cut a piece of yarn and a piece of wire approximately 12″ in length. Step 2 – Wrap the fabric around the mandrel in a tight figure 8 pattern.

Step 3 – Tightly wrap the yarn around the tulle in a random, yet even fashion.

Step 4 – Stab the wire into the bead.

Step 5 – Tightly wrap the wire around the bead while simultaneously threading beads on the wire.

Step 6 – When you’ve exhausted your length of wire, twist it tightly around a bead so it’s secure.