August 9, 2010

Poke, string, knot, glue = DIY Fabric Beads! PART 2

Last week I blogged about how I painted and made some of my very own fabric beads (and was thrilled with the response the post got, too!). But painting and glueing was only the half of it! Once I started making the beads, I was unstoppable and kept finding new and different ways to use fabric already on hand and unconventional items from the craft store!

After painting my own beads, I started looking through my fabric vault (aka big ole' tupperware storage bin) to see what else I could come up with. Though I had purchased some super rad polka-dot Amy Butler fabric back in LA in order to make a pillow, I figured I could sacrifice a little bit for the cause. After cutting the fabric down to 1x3" strips, I needed a new venue on which to plaster the fabric (in other words - a cheap form of a bead)! After searching up and down the aisles of Michael's, I think I found the perfect (and cheap!) solution: Styrofoam Balls!

So with my styfoam balls in hand and fabric Mod Podge ready to go, I just now needed a way to make the hole and hold the bead while putting on the fabric. Of course - chopsticks!

I first glued a strip around the bead long ways:

Then finished with two more strips that went diagonally along the holes on either side. And Voila! A bead!

After pairing them with some more fabric-wrapped ugly disco ball beads and some brown wooden beads, I topped the necklace off with some pink ribbon and had this:
Amy Butler Fabric and Wooden Beaded necklace with Pink Ribbon, $20 

But what's a necklace without a matching bracelet, no?
Amy Butler "Love" Polka Dot Fabric Bracelet, $10
I might just keep this one. 

And of course I didn't stop there (and in fact, I hope to make many more of these items... I love 'em)! I was also determined to make something with this random piece of scarf-like fabric I bought for $.50 in LA awhile back:

After cutting a piece of fabric that measured about 3"x1", I got my styrofoam balls back out and went at it: 

And knotted and wrapped the fabric around the balls:

And came up with this thing-a-ma-bobber:

I will admit, the turnout of this necklace is now exactly what I had hoped for. It's quite stiff and down's hang all that nicely at the bust. My fabric was too wide and not long enough - I would have liked to make more knots and added more beads but ran out of length, plus I don't like how much fabric hangs from the sides. It's for all these reasons why this item isn't on Etsy yet - I am not 100% behind it. I do, however, plan to show it as an example at my jewelry party in a few weeks and see what kind of feedback I get on it and go from there. Though I love Etsy, using the internet to sell certain kinds of jewelry takes away the touch and feel dimension that is often so crucial to a good purchase!

Then I figured - if I could use fabric, why not use ribbon, too? After looking through my ribbon stash, I found this rad yarn-like stuff and paired it with some wooden-disc beads that I salvaged from an Anthropologie necklace I bought on sale years ago:
(Needless to say, I totally ruined my manicure with all my glue-use!)

Which resulted in these (the one on the right is actually made of fabric I painted blue):

And then this:

Again, I didn't put this item on Etsy yet because I am not totally settled with it. Maybe I am waiting for a perfect component piece to come my way. Maybe I am waiting for a better idea for their final use. Maybe I am just too stubborn to list them yet! This will be another item that will debut at the jewelry party in hopes of some constructive criticism. Ah, and artist's work is never done. 

Next up - how I used random stuff found at Goodwill to create one-of-a-kind jewelry displays for the party! Keep posted :)


  1. These beads are really cool looking! I love your creativity in creating new beads.

    I've given your blog an award...

  2. Not sure if the comment feature is working - let me know if you are/are not having a hard time with it... :)

  3. Really I love your collection and your work is awesome.I am trying to learn, how to make these beautiful ornaments.

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  5. Super cute jewelry! I love the thing-a-ma-bobber necklace. I really think it's pretty! Thanks for sharing!
    Would love you to stop by if you get a chance: