How To Make Fabric Beads

Jewelry accessories

Do you have many scraps of different fabrics that are too small to sew but you dare not throw away? You can actually have some creative use for them with some simple cutting and rolling and make beads out of these scraps of fabrics.

The steps to make fabric beads are simple. Here is how:

You will need:

  • Scraps of fabric, either cut into strips of 2 to 3 inches in length and ½ to 1 ½-inch wide, either rectangular or triangular, or an 8 inches by 2 to 3 inches rectangular pieces (straight or bias cut)
  • Knitting needles, long nails, wooden dowels, or straw
  • Heavy string
  • White glue thinned with water as fabric stiffener
  • Clear gloss polyurethane varnish for sealing and waterproofing
  • Glitters and seed beads (optional)

Uniform Rolled Beads

Using a larger piece of fabric will give you uniform tubes and you will get more beads from a long roll.

  1. Dip an 8-inch by 2 to 3-inch rectangular piece of fabric in the stiffener. Wet it thoroughly and squeeze out the excess.
  2. Lay the fabric flat on a table. Protect your table by covering it with wax paper or plastic. Roll the fabric over a knitting needle or long dowel with a long piece of heavy string. When you reach the other edge, add some white glue to secure the fabric tube.
  3. Roll the tube several times forward to smoothen and tighten the tube.
  4. Remove the needle or dowel, leaving the string behind. Use the string to hang the tube to dry.
  5. If you are using a bias cut of fabric, you can bend your tube while it is still wet to form different shapes.
  6. When dry, cut the tube into your desired lengths.
  7. Restring your beads on the heavy string. Dip them in varnish to make them waterproof. Hang the beads by the string, spreading them out so the beads will not stick together as they dry.

Rolling Single Beads

Use short, thin strips of rectangular or triangular cut fabric for rolling single beads. You can practice rolling paper strips first to gauge the size.

  1. Dip your strips in the stiffener and squeeze out the excess. Hold one end of the strip in one hand and run your thumb and forefinger down the length of the strip.
  2. Roll each strip on a long nail, a knitting needle or a wooden dowel or even lengths of straw (use the thicker ones). Roll each bead tightly and add white glue to secure the edge.
  3. To lessen the middle thickness of the bead when using a triangular strip, cut the pointed tip. To give additional texture, twist the pointed tip before you reach the end.
  4. String your beads in heavy string and hang to dry, spreading them apart. It will take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours for the beads to completely dry.
  5. Dip beads in varnish to seal and make them waterproof. Allow to completely dry.
  6. For added texture, add glitters, seed beads and other stuff on the beads after you have finished rolling them. Add more glue if the beads have dried up a bit to make the embellishments stick.

Now you are ready to use your fabric beads anyway you want. Make bracelets for family and friends or some unique dangling earrings. You can use some beautiful gossamer ribbons to string them together for a one-of-a-kind necklace. You can use them to make cell phone charms and toggles for frog-legs clasps. Let your imagination run wild and continue recycling.


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