My first thought when deciding on projects for fabric month here on Babble Dabble Do was learning how to make fabric beads. Years ago I saw this amazing necklace from Shagpile Designs and whenever I think of cool fabric projects I return to this image. I wanted to create something in this vein that was also a perfect bead craft for kids and this is what I came up with: Fabric Bead Necklaces. This tutorial includes both how to make fabric beads and the necklace!
Most fabric bead tutorials use a method similar to the one used to make paper beads, and each bead is individually hand rolled. The result is stunning but with 3 kids in my life it’s completely impractical! So I came up with this easy method for how to make fabric beads. You still have to roll them up but you will get many, many beads made in the span of minutes (excluding drying time) Adults and older children can make the beads themselves, younger kids can tackle the necklace making part of the project. And since the holes in the fabric beads are so large this is a great fine motor skills activity for children!
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Design for Kids: How to Make Fabric Beads (and Necklaces!)
- Fabric Scraps Tiny or large prints work best. Felt is a great textural addition!
- ALEENES All Purpose Glue or Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Glue At the rate I go through glue I decide to buy big!
- Masking Tape
- Cosmetic wedge or wide paintbrush
- Cord I used these awesome new stretchable cords I found called Silkies
Make the Beads
- Step One Cut your fabric to size: approximately 6” x 3 ½”. Cut about 10 pieces to this size.
- Step Two Cut a piece of tape the length of your fabric strip and tape it to the front side of the fabric along the edge. Leave about half of the tape exposed.
- Step Three Turn the strip over and dab glue along the taped edge. Apply glue about halfway down the fabric strip.
- Step Four Take your pencil and align it with the unglued edge. Roll the fabric around the pencil until you reach the glued edge.
- Step Five Seal the exposed tape edge along the fabric wrapped around the pencil. Remove the pencil.
- Step Six Let dry. This should take 2-3 hours.
- Step Seven When the glue is dry remove the masking tape.
- Step Eight Cut the fabric roll into smaller section to create your beads.
Make the Necklace
- Step One Thread one bead onto the cord and tie a loose knot around it.
- Step Two Thread more beads onto the necklace. When you are close to the end, remove the knot from the starting end and tie a knot to connect the loose ends. This is where the Silkies rock, you literally insert the one end into the slot on the other side. Easy peasy!
I really liked this project because it’s a collaboration of parent and child. My 4 year old was too young to make the beads but she enjoyed making necklaces for her friends. And since the beads have wide holes they are great for young children to work with since they are so easy to thread!
Maharam. Okay Maharam would probably argue this point since I didn’t use their fabric for this project, BUT any fabric project that relies on lovely print and color reminds me of Maharam. Maharam is a textile manufacturer that primarily caters to the interior design field so most of their products are intended for use in upholstery. When I did a lot of product specification for architectural projects they were a company I often worked with. They promote green initiatives, have product lines based on artists, and regularly employ some of the most interesting designers to work on unique textile designs. Someday I will have a chair upholstered in this funky Alexander Girard print! Ha!
I’m going to dub this project a parent-child collaborative project! It was a great way to work with my daughter. She adores jewelry projects and despite her skepticism when I invited her to the crafting table (she really wanted to play with her new beloved Frozen dolls) she ended up making three necklaces for her friends in the span of a few minutes. And she’s been spotted wearing the one I made for her around the house for the past couple of days. My husband said they look like hippie necklaces which I took as a major compliment as I love all things 60’s.
- If you love jewelry projects for kids do not miss two of my favorites here on Babble Dabble Do: Glitter Tube Bracelets and Seed Bead Necklaces.
- Think fabric and jewelry should meet more often? I looked up Shagpile Designs who initially inspired this post and they have an amazing line of fabric jewelry. Visit them here.
- And here is another gorgeous and EASY kid made fabric necklace by Willowday.
- Lastly if you LOVE fabric check out this book from one of my favorite bloggers Dana Willard: Fabrics A-to-Z: The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Fabric for Sewing It’s on my reading list!
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