Sunday, March 11, 2012


These 20 beads are handmade ones I made for another of Lenna Andrews' Creative Swaps. Lenna comes up with some great ideas, good how-tos and instruction, plus resources to share on the chosen topic. And then the swap participants go to work, this time creating embellishment beads from paper and fabrics. I even used some of the fabric paper I made way back here. Clockwise above: the green beads are sheer nylon ribbon; the next ones are shaving-foam printed fabric and wrapped with red metallic thread; the pink/orange ones are fabric paper and wrapped with neon-color sewing thread; the grayish ones are another section of the shaving foam fabric and wrapped with gold metallic; and the last ones are black printed fabric rolled in gold glitter.

Of course there's no such thing as making just one kind of bead. These are the "also-rans". They didn't make the cut for swapping, but still, they're interesting. The canape skewer gives you a sense of the size of these beads, about 1/2" to 1". Skewers were useful to hold the beads until they were dry after forming them. I put some notes below on how I cut the pieces for my beads, just in case you were wondering. Also, Lenna asked us to share notes if we could, and we'd have a chance to win some of her own handmade beads.
The materials shown at the left are just two that I used in making beads. The pink is an ad for cereal cut from a magazine. The multi-color print is the shaving-foam printed fabric. It was given to me by a quilting friend who made it, but wasn't fond of it. The fabric been waiting for just the right project.

At right you can see three of the shaving-foam printed fabric pieces once they were cut into triangles for bead making. Next is a text-printed fabric, a colorful hand-dyed piece, and the magazine photo from which I made even more beads. Beads from each of these materials are in the 2nd photo above.

These are the fabric paper triangles ready to roll around a wide chop stick or skewer (about the diameter of an orange stick). Below are some of the how-tos, if you'd like to look them over. Hope you can follow... just ask if you have a question in case the instructions aren't clear. And this is just Part One of the swap... once we get our swapped beads, the next challenge will be to make something using them. So I'll be back with a "something"!

Cutting notes:

I used the marks on the cutting mat, an acrylic ruler, and a rotary cutter to make the long, skinny triangles of fabric which could then be rolled up around a chopstick to form each bead. Lay a rectangle of fabric on the mat so that adjacent edges are lined up vertically and horizontally with marked 1” lines on the mat. Place the ruler at the corner closest to you, align the ruler at a slight angle to intersect with the mid-point between two marked lines on the mat at the other end of the fabric rectangle. Cut along the edge of the ruler with the rotary cutter. Leaving the ruler in place to anchor the fabric, remove the trimmed bit and discard it. Pick up the ruler carefully to avoid moving the fabric and place it at the next marked line, extending the ruler at a slight angle to the same halfway point as before. Again, cut along the edge of the ruler. This creates the first triangle. Carefully remove the ruler, pick up and set aside the triangle of fabric. Without moving the fabric, cut the next triangle by working from the far end of the fabric. One side of the second triangle is already cut at the proper angle from cutting the first triangle. Simply position the ruler at a point halfway between the next two marked lines and extending to the point where you started the last cut. Cut along the ruler edge. This forms the next long, skinny triangle. Continue, alternating the ends of the fabric from which you cut to form as many triangles as you can from the fabric. Discard the last trimmed bit.


Robbie said...

What fun you are having participating in these 'swaps'!! I love the beads!! You'll end up using them in the most unusual places!!! I keep mine with my seed beads!!

Donna, Doni, Lady D said...

Really interesting beads, Nancy. I would not have thought of some of the very innovative ideas you came up with -- like the green ribbon (beautiful) and wrapping in the thread. Can't wait to see what you have in return. Looks like you had great fun. :o) Donna

Lenna Young Andrews said...

I love seeing all your beads again Nancy. You did a fantastic job and a great job explaining how-to!