Making Fabric Beads

starting off with lots of inspirational materials and samples

Heart Space Studios is one year old this week, so we repeated our first ever class, Making Fabric Beads with Patricia Brownen, and the results are as desirable as always. This is one of our most popular classes and the original report also receives many hits on this blog, so I  thought I would show the successful process of designing and making the beads.

coloured ribbons and felts for fabric bead-making

Patricia always brings in lots of lovely fabrics and unusual materials, as well as her own jewellry, as inspiration.  She uses a simple device for designing and making a whole set of co-ordinating coloured beads  for a single necklace: –  picture postcards.

picture postcard for colour co-ordination

Students get to choose from whole range of different postcards, from impressionist paintings to modern textiles, anything where colour is paramount and abstract images are better than figurative, but you could make your own inspirational cards…..

materials chosen to tone with the piece of decorated paper that inspired the necklace

There are 2 types of bead made in the workshop, one involves rolling pipe cleaners with fabric and threads and then stitching through the roll to hold everything into position, the second type is rolled felt that can be needle felted and wrapped and secured with coloured threads.

a whole range of different materials for bead making on skewers.

These 2 simple systems used to make the beads means that choosing colours and experimenting with textures is a an exciting and immediate process.

rolling fleece and ribbons round a pipe cleaner start off the bead.

To ensure colour co-ordination several rolls of pipe cleaners can be made together before rolling onto a wooden skewer to form separate beads.

several wrapped pipe-cleaners ready to be wound round skewers to form beads

Making the beads is really easy – peasy and  playing with the different scraps of threads ribbons and tiny glass beads is a real textile maker’s pleasure,

several stages of making pipe cleaner beads.

Working to the postcard colours ensures a good range of co-ordinating beads, below are samples of both the wrapped felt ( white long bead)  and pipe-cleaners( 2 blue knobbly beads.)

a successful co-ordinated colour scheme in the making

The long felt beads can be made in very subtle shades when they are needle felted first with scraps of fleece.

softly coloured needle - felted rolled beads toning with water coloured card

At the end of the day’s session everyone displayed their beads with the inspirational card,the class discussed the next steps – making more at home, then stringing them together.

end of day discussion

Patricia showed the group a simple stringing system using a pretty toning ribbon.

toning ribbon for the string

I was so impressed by the results of the colours achieved by working with the postcards that I have made a small selection of the finished beads and their cards. They almost formed a rainbow – soft blues and turquoise…

greens, yellows and orange…

to fiery reds and blacks…

rich rosy pinks and purples…

lively browns and neutrals….

3 thoughts on “Making Fabric Beads

  1. Hallo Hazel,
    well thanks for this message, just what I wanted – new people to join us at Heart Space…so if you click on to the highlighted “popular classes” in the second line of the text you should get to the page on the website for the next workshop in March.
    I warn you though making these beads is addictive.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.