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.
Metal Mandrel or Kabob Skewer
Thin Wire (I used 32 Gauge silver)
Various seed and bugle beads
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.
You can put several beads on one mandrel and they’re incredibly quick to make! Get creative with these. I’m already working on a set of these which I plan to assemble into a hanging mobile with other strips of fabric and seed beads.
Other materials that would work well for these beads: Lace Textural Yarns Scrap fabric Burlap Jute Embroidery Floss …the list goes on. The weirder, the better!
If you use this tutorial to create your own beads, share your success with me on Instagram by using the hashtag: #mixedmediafabricbeads
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have ideas for future projects, things you want to know, or any questions, hit me up on Instagram @averykasperart.