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:
…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.