Wednesday, February 27, 2013

'WOYWW 2/27/2013 - Lucious Lovely Fabric Beads - Freebie Tutorial!'

by Mary Lou 'LuLu' Haynes

Howdy and welcome,

For WOYWW, wanted to share these wrapped fabric beads on my table that I just finished making!

Photo credit:
David Daruszka for Creative Media Wizards
I used red  fabrics from Maria's stash that I recently 'inherited'.

She had a box of handmade blue fabric beads in her stash - that were incredible. I had never seen fabric beads before...I had seen samples of wrapped paper beads in the past, but I always thought they were ugly. I examined Maria's fabric beads under my magnifying light to see how they were made. Then I made mine - but a bit differently. I made my beads over the course of one week...Here's a tutorial if you want to try your hand at this!



· Beads - assortment of small beads and seed beads
· Coffee stirrer straws – smallest diameter
. Containers - small divided containers -  I used containers from The Container Store
. Craft mat
· Fabric scraps – cotton (minimum of 2” x 6”) - I used about 6 different patterns. I tried different types of fabrics and blends - but only cotton worked for me
· Fibers - assorted thin scrapbooking fibers - I used eyelash novelty yarns and metallic
· Glue - for this project I experimented with several (White glue, Fabric glue, 3-in-1 (my fave for this project))
· Paint - gold acrylic paint - 2oz. bottle
. Paper towel
. Palette (optional)
· Quilting ruler (or metal edge ruler)
· Rotary cutter (any size)
· Round-nose plies
· Scissors - fabric
· Scissors - Tonic
· Stamps – rubber or acrylic - foreign sript and foreign text designs
Styrofoam scrap from old packaging - approx. 12" x 3" x 3"
· Toothpicks - equaling the number of beads you want to make
. Water spritzer
· Wire – assorted colors of thin gauge craft wire (I used black, red, gold) small enough to fit through your beads
. Wipes
· Wire cutters

  1. Stick a toothpick in styrofoam every inch - make 2 or 3 rows, staggering the placement of toothpicks between rows.
  2. Cut some coffee stirrers 2 inches long - then cut a few to 1 inch. Set aside in container.
  3. Cut short length of fibers approx. 1 3/4" long. Set aside in container.
  4. Cut wire approx. 3" long - one wire for each bead you are making.
  5. Using round-nose pliers, make a loop on one end of wire. Set aside in container.
  6. Cut cotton fabric into rectangular strips measuring 2" x 4" using rotary cutter or fabric scissors. I chose red fabrics with gold prints or bold prints.
  7. Cut cotton fabric strips into long triangles with a 2" base.
  1. Alternately stamp script or text on right side of fabric triangles using gold acrylic ink. Dry overnight.
  1. Lay stamped fabric triangle wrong side up/right side down on craft mat.
  2. Squeeze a thin line of glue onto triangle about 1" from base and 1/4" from each side of triangle.
  3. Place straw between base and glue.
  4. Wrap fabric tightly around straw pressing base of fabric triangle into glue.
  5. Hold straw and fabric with left hand.
  6. With right hand, squeeze a thin line of glue down center of triangle stopping 1/4" from tip.
  7. Continue rolling fabric tightly around straw, smearing glue into fabric to the tip. Drop bead onto a toothpick to dry overnight.
  8. Spritz paper towel with water to slightly dampen it.
  9. Wipe glue off craft mat with damp paper towel. Then dry craft mat with dry paper towel
  10. Clean glue off your hands with wipe - then dry your hands on dry paper towel.
  11. Repeat steps 1-10 until you have made all the beads you need for your project.


  1. With the Tonic scissors, lightly trim the two ends of each bead so that the straw is flush with the fabric. Also use the fabric scissors if the fabric starts to fray. Set aside in container.


  1. Lightly dip both bead ends into a puddle of gold acrylic paint - enough to cover the fabric edges and hide the straw. Use a palette - or I used the paint inside the bottle cap. Drop onta a toothpick to dry overnight.
  2. Repeat step 1 for all remaining beads.

After fabric has completely dried on the toothpicks, it's time to wrap bits of fiber around each bead.
  1. Squeeze a very small drop of glue onto center of bead.
  2. Choose one matching or contrasting fiber.
  3. Wrap fiber diagonally onto bead in a spiral going from top to bottom clockwise, while smearing glue in the center of fiber. Don't glue the fiber all the way down - leave each end unglued a little with the fiber sticking out.
  4. Drop bead onto a toothpick to dry overnight.
  5. Spritz paper towel with water to slightly dampen it. Wipe glue off craft mat with damp paper towel.
  6. Clean glue off your hands with a wipe - then dry your hands on clean paper towel.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 until you have wrapped all the beads with fiber you need for your project.

Goal is to string 10-20 beads per fabric bead.
  1. Hold fabric bead in left hand vertically.
  2. With your right hand, place wire loop on left side at top of fabric bead - and press loop down with your left thumb.
  3. Holding bead in left hand, hold wire in right hand, tightly wrap one wire diagonally in a spiral going from top to bottom clockwise, stringing 3-5 beads every 360 degree turn as you wrap the wire. Leave a 1" tail at end of wire.
  4. Make a loop at end of wire and press loop tighly to bottom tip of bead. If wire is too long, cut a bit off before making the final loop.
  5. Admire your handiwork!
NOTE:  These fabric beads are suitable for hanging on the wire binding of an altered book, art journal or scrapbook. They are NOT suitable to wear for necklaces, earrrings  or bracelets because of body oils and perspiration.

Let me know if you try this technique. Send me a link to a photo of your fabric beads on your blog or website.

Thanks for stopping by - and please leave a comment.

Here are more artist desks for WOYWW if you want to take a peek!



Lynn Holland said...

That was a great blog post thanks
Lynn 52

Helen said...

Fabulous tutorial, LuLu! Happy WOYWW Helen 8

okienurse said...

great looking beads LuLu! Thanks for the tutorial and I could see those beads used in home decor around a frame hanging from a lamp shade etc. Interesting. Maybe have to try this. Hope you have a great week and thanks for sharing with us! Vickie #41

Ria Gall said...

oh wow those beads are so different I have never seen anything like them before and thank you for sharing the how to
Happy WOYWW hope you have a great day
Ria #48

Lisa-Jane said...

They look gorgeous! Thanks for the info on how to make them. I wonder if there are videos about them as I would like to make some for my mini books. #63

SueH said...

Those beads are amazing LuLu.
It looks like a lot of work went into them but it was well worth the effort.
Happy Crafting!
Sue @ 81

Laura said...

Fab beads. Like you I've seen these done with paper before but never thought it would transfer to fabric.
Have a good week

Twiglet said...

Those beads look amazing - will save the page and have a go sometime soon. x Jo

susibee said...

Your beads look great and thanks for the tutorial.

Happy Wednesday! Susi #73

Julia Dunnit said...

WOW LuLu, what a great post, bless you for the sharing. the beads are amazing, so rich and treasure like.

April Story said...

Thank you for sharing the tutorial. I really love how yours turned out.
April #151

Anonymous said...

I REFUSE to be tempted by another wonderful crafty thing. NO. I WILL NOT do it... but I'll bookmark the tut just in case....



MA (4)

Scrapcat 1 said...

love the beads but I am not going to start another crafty project....maybe I could give it one go lol
Thanks for sharing Tracy#72

Nan G said...

Cool beads! Thanks for tut. Happy WOYWW! Nan #1

peggy apl said...

oh yes, these would look great on a journal! thanks for sharing, Lulu!

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