Bead Soup: How to Make It, How to Use It

I've always joked with my friends that if this whole beading thing doesn't work out, I'm going to pursue my other passion and open a gourmet vegetarian restaurant. At home, if I'm not playing with my beads, I'm in the kitchen cooking up something yummy for my family. So naturally, the idea of bead soup is something that I've loved ever since I first heard about it! And if you are familiar with Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party, then you probably understand why I love the idea of bead soup.

Bead soup refers to a mixture of beads – any beads – that are just mixed together. Bead soup can be made from seed beads of all shapes and sizes including bugle beads, fringe beads, cube beads, and drop beads; pressed glass beads like Czech druks and fire polished beads; crystals; and even larger beads like pinch beads, pearls and gemstone beads. The easiest way to make your bead soup is to just take any beads leftover from a beading project and keep them in a small tin, plastic baggie, or glass jar. When the container is full, your bead soup is ready to use!

So what can you do with bead soup? Here are a few ideas to get you going!

Jeanette Shanigan's Bead Hoarder's Collage Bracelet is a fabulous way to use up whatever pressed glass beads or crystal bead you have in your bead soup. This is the perfect beading project for using up those little baggies of larger pressed glass beads.
If you like to mix bead stitching with stringing, you can try this free-form peyote stitch Stone Soup Necklace by Tina Koyama. You might not have a gemstone donut handy, but you can make this necklace with any other focal bead or your favorite lampwork glass bead that matches your bead soup.
When you think of free-form beadwork, you don't usually think of brick stitch. But Tina Koyama's gorgeous Hunter's Moon free-form necklace is done with brick stitch — and lots and lots of bead soup! This is a great beading project for using up bead soup in lots of different "flavors" or color palettes, and it's sure to help you dust off your brick stitch skills!
I just love beaded lace, and this Modern Lace Collar by Kim Otterbein combines bead soup with free-form netting stitch to produce a classic piece of beaded jewelry that looks like a piece of vintage jewelry! Bead soup made with lots of pearls or other organic beads would be a great "flavor" for this beading project.
Last but not least, why not create a unique Free-Form Peyote Watchband designed by Tina Koyama using your bead soup? If you're going to wear a watch, why not make it as unique as the rest of your beaded jewelry? These fun beaded watchbands make great gifts for the beader in your life, too!

Do you need some new beading projects so you can add more leftover beads to your bead soup? If you like to learn beading projects by video, then you definitely need to check out the 15th anniversary season of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels TV complete Series 1500 on DVD! Beaded jewelry designer and author Katie Hacker takes you through thirteen full episodes all about the beads. Whether you love crystals, natural beads like shells and pearls, metal beads, beaded beads, or vintage beads, you'll find projects and jewelry making techniques from some of today's top jewelry designers and artists. Get your copy of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels TV and start adding more leftover beads to your bead soup!

So, what's your favorite way to make and use your bead soup? Do you have different "flavors" in jars or bags as part of your bead stash? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and tell us all about your favorite recipes for bead soup!

Bead Happy,


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