Just for Fun: 10 Other Uses for Beads

Beads show up in the oddest places.  I'm not talking about in my sofa cushions or in the kitchen rug (though I find plenty of beads there), I'm talking large beaded hood ornaments for your car!  If you've ever wondered what to do with some of your beads besides create jewelry, take a look at these oddly wonderful tidbits that I've found:

1.  Hood Ornament
Rozanne captured this great photo of a large beaded hood ornament.  (I personally thinks it looks like a bear, not a dog, . . . not that I run into many bears!)

2.  Beaded Cards
Tabotha in Cape Town creates these cute beaded cards.  This is a great way to use those small bead projects that you're not sure what to do with. (I like the duck card best!)

3.  Star Trek Figures
Artist Devorah Sperber created this piece titled "Transporter:  Kirk and Spock Beaming-In" with 100,000+ loose beads.  By hanging two figures in front of mirrored panels in a corner, she gives the illusion of 6 figures beaming in.  Details and larger image.

4.  Weight Management Tool
Several websites are touting the new "Bead Diet", a calorie counting diet/bracelet that helps you count how many calories you consume.  Each bead represents 100 calories and you slide the beads over as you eat that number of calories.  When all the beads are on one side, you stop eating for the day.  If only it were that simple . . . 

5.  Coasters
Have you seen these?  You can buy these plastic beads and melt them together to make coasters in different shapes.  They're not new–I know I had a set at least 10 years ago–but I was delighted to see that they're still around.  I liked this example of a character from Pac Man. 

6.  Beaded Guitar Straps
Awhile back there was some chatting about beaded gifts for men ("Beading for Boys"). When I saw these loomed beaded straps by Julia Bristow, I immediately thought they'd make a great gift for a musically-inclined male (or female).  The strap pictured is one of Julia's original designs.  Details and larger image.

7.  Game Pieces
Use (and maybe lose!) your beads in the Bead Trade game by beader and inventor Hannah Braun-Allen. Details.

8. Counting Lesson
Artist Jeanne Leffingwell worked with kids in Idaho and the Northwest to weave together a million beads to help teach kids the real meaning behind the large numbers we see everywhere.  Details.

9.  Ugly Necklaces
Okay, I suppose this is technically jewelry and shouldn't be on this list, but honestly, would you wear any of these?  I'm talking necklaces made of shower curtain rings, Barbie doll heads, and steel horse shoes! You've got to give props to a design contest with judging criteria like "overall hideousness."  View entries.

10.  Melted Bead Art
When all else fails . . . transform your beads into something else.  I love how this couple recycled Mardi Gras beads and created these cute night lights.  Larger image and details.

What other crafts do you do?  Take this reader poll.  Results will be shared in a future Beading Daily.

Last week to enter the Bead Spree Giveaway!  I'd love to make this an annual event–and you can help me do that by entering!  And having your friends enter!  (Otherwise, I have to explain to my boss that beaders aren't really interested in free beads–and we don't want me to do that, do we?)   Details.


 Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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