5 Bead Making Projects for Everyone – Even You!

With so many different kinds of beads out there, it comes as no surprise that beads can be made out of just about anything. Really! I've seen some beads made out of pretty strange stuff — think moose droppings, bullet casings, and chewed-on pencil nubs. But never fear, even if you're fresh out of moose droppings and bullet casings, chances are, you can do some pretty cool bead making projects of your own.

Paper Beads This kind of bead making is a favorite with my nieces, my son, and the middle school students I teach during my summer workshops. Paper beads give you a world of options: they can be used as-is, painted with bright acrylic paints, or decorated with powders and glitter! Use a paper bead roller (like the one pictured), or make your own using just a couple of toothpicks. Paper beads can be made from any kind of paper including junk mail, old magazines, or fancy scrap booking and origami papers. And anyone can do it — really! What a fun, eco-friendly way to add a touch of whimsy to your beading projects!

Peyote Stitch Beaded Beads Probably the easiest and most versatile beading trick in your book is the ability to make simple peyote stitch beaded beads. Like the paper beads, there are dozens of options for making and using these beaded beads. Use seed beads, cylinder beads, or a combination of sizes and shapes to get textured or layered looks. Use them plain, or wrap an extra strip of peyote stitch around the center. Hang chains off of them, use them for wire wrapping projects…you get the idea!

Bonus: you can use these fabulous beaded beads to learn all sorts of variations on peyote stitch, including two-drop and three-drop!

Right-angle Weave Beads When you've mastered the art of peyote stitch beaded beads and you want to explore some more dimensional bead-weaving techniques, learn how to use right-angle weave to make beaded beads. It's an easy way to get an idea of how to construct three-dimensional beadwork while creating some fun little beaded beads.

The added bonus to using right-angle weave to create Jean Power's Honeycombed Cube beaded beads is that you get to learn how easy it is to combine right-angle weave with other bead-weaving stitches, like peyote stitch!

Now, I'm definitely not a polymer clay expert, but my recent experiments with the medium have led me to some really fantastic discoveries. And because I don't have the time to sit at my lampwork torch, but do have time to spend making polymer clay beads with my four-year-old, I'm starting to explore new techniques for combining colors and making shapes. I'm starting to wonder if I had so many problems when I first started making polymer clay beads because I didn't have great tutorials like Poly-Metrics by Ilene Goldman.

Are you ready to move beyond the basic snakes-and-balls of polymer clay? Check out Poly-Metrics!

Wire Wrapped Beads For someone who never really enjoyed working with wire, it seems as though I'm making up for lost time! I love using metal beads in my beading projects, but the closest that I've ever gotten to actually learning how to make my own metal beads was the time I registered for a silver bead making class, but had to drop out at the last minute. No worries, though, when I can make these fun little wire wrapped beads out of whatever color craft wire I have handy! They're so easy and look so good with all kinds of glass and ceramic beads that I don't mind cranking out a jar full of them at a time!

Want to see just how many other materials you can use to make beads? Check out The Bead Directory by Elise Mann. While it doesn't give you instructions on how to make your own beads, this handy reference guide lists over six hundred different kinds of beads and tells you what they're made from and how to use them. Elise even gives you ideas for mixing and matching beads made out of different materials for the best results in your artistic beading projects!

Get your copy of The Bead Directory: The Complete Guide to Choosing and Using More than 600 Beautiful Beads and find just the right bead to match with those moose dropping nuggets you picked up on summer vacation!

Do you have a favorite bead made out of an unusual material? Leave a comment and share your favorite funny and unusual bead making ideas with us!

Bead Happy,


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