3 Easy Ideas for Mixed Media and Bead Embroidery

If you're looking to branch out into mixed media jewelry in 2013, bead embroidery is one of the easiest ways to get there! Because bead embroidery is such a versatile and fluid beading technique, it's perfect for anyone who wants to experiment with some new mixed media jewelry-making techniques.

The best part of using mixed media jewelry-making supplies with your bead embroidery is that anything goes. Make a trip to your local art supply store, fabric store, or your favorite thrift shop and see what kinds of great craft supplies they have. (My favorite find from my local thrift shop was a big bag of unfinished wood spools for making beaded beads!)

Here are three easy ways to start mixing mixed media with bead embroidery:


Use some ribbon for the strap of a bead embroidered pendant. For me, designing the neck strap of a bead embroidered pendant can be the hardest part of the process. It might seem like an easy way out, but adding a beautiful hand-dyed silk or velvet ribbon to your bead embroidered pendant can turn your finished piece into a work of mixed media jewelry.

Finish the ends of the ribbon using metal ribbon crimps, cones and eye pins, or just tie the ribbon in a bow at the back of your neck.


Try a new fabric for your bead embroidery foundation. At last summer's Bead Fest Philadelphia, I bought two pieces of Tilapia leather for my bead embroidery. I used the first piece to create a cuff bracelet using a fabulous, crusty raku cabochon from MAKUstudio and accented it with some glass spike beads surrounded with peyote stitch.

If you decide to experiment with the funky look of fish leather, make sure to have some glover's needles on hand. The fish leather is just as tough as regular cowhide leather, and regular beading needles will break if they are forced through the leather. Glover's needles are shorter and thicker than regular beading needles, but will still pass through size 15o seed beads easily.


Paint your bead embroidery medium before you stitch. I think the last thing that I painted that was any good was a still-life of some roses and baby's breath in a glass vase back when I was in third grade, circa 1982. But when Nicole Campanella, the creator of Nicole's Beadbacking, told me that you can paint on her bead embroidery medium before stitching it, I was totally inspired in a brand-new way! I even got my five-year-old son into painting a few pieces of Nicole's Beadbacking with me for future bead embroidery projects!

You can lay down a coat of gesso before you start painting your Nicole's Beadbacking, but I just used a set of inexpensive acrylic paints and a soft paintbrush to mix some colors. We'll see how this piece shapes up in the next few weeks!

When it comes to mixing things up with mixed media jewelry-making, the sky is the limit. You're only limited by your imagination, so have fun!


If you're looking to add new mixed media jewelry-making skills to your repertoire, you won't want to miss Handcrafted Jewelry 2012. With dozens of ideas for using found objects, ribbon, and upcycled materials like t-shirts in your jewelry-making projects, you're sure to find something new to inspire you. Get your copy of Handcrafted Jewelry 2012 and find out how you can look at your craft supplies in a whole new way this year! (And even better – you can download your copy instantly and save $5 through January 6, 2013 at midnight CST!)

Have you ever thought of your bead embroidery projects as mixed media jewelry? Do you include found objects in your bead embroidery? What kind of new jewelry-making techniques do you want to learn in 2013? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and let's talk about what we want to accomplish in 2013!

Bead Happy,


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