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Blooming Heart Project from Nunn Designs

Blooming Heart Project from Nunn Designs

When I started working in the bead business over a decade ago, we made jewelry with what bead stores sold. If I went shopping at a big box craft retailer, I only shopped in the bead section. If I was shopping online for beads, I only bought from bead retailers. Now, it seems the whole industry has changed. There is no such thing as a “one stop bead shop”; the craft stores certainly don’t have the best selection of beads and findings out there and bead retailers offer products that are primarily produced for the purpose of making jewelry. However, what seems to be happening more and more is that jewelry makers are turning towards other art forms and mediums to take their jewelry to a new and unusual level. When I go to big box stores now, I shop the fabric and apparel trim section as well as the wood section and then I peruse the scrapbooking section. I use all of these materials to make jewelry. And while I still love my beads, more often than not, I tend to rely heavily on my knowledge of other materials and crafts to make eclectic pieces.

If you have never tried mixing it up, join us for our new series on how to incorporate all kinds of materials into your jewelry designs. With each article, we will give you a list of materials about what to have handy as well as what to do (and what not to do in some cases) to recreate these looks.


One of the easiest projects to start with, in my opinion, is a bangle covered in fabric, ribbon, lace or trim. This is very inexpensive and easy and involves the following materials:

  • A plastic or metal bangle (I buy most of mine at thrift stores for around $1 to $2)
  • Fabric apparel trim or ribbon that is as wide as your bracelet
  • A strap of leather; I prefer the TierraCast leather because it is supple and easy to work with
  • A couple of buttons that are either flat or can be manipulated and cut down so they can be flat; I found mine in a big bag of beads I bought at a craft store years ago
  • A hot glue gun
  • Scissors


1. To start this project, you will simply wrap your fancy ribbon around the bangle bracelet. Give yourself about 1/2 inch of overlap and then cut. Use your hot glue gun to glue the fabric to the bracelet. (The ribbon I used was flat in the center and ruffled at the edges, so I only glued the flat center portion down, which was ideal because my bracelet was domed in the center, so it wouldn’t have worked with flat ribbon.) Patience is key when gluing your fabric down; do so in small segments to make sure you are keeping your ribbon straight and centered on the bracelet.

2. After the ribbon is wrapped, you can glue your leather strap to the center of the ribbon. You don’t want any overlap here, so cut the leather when the ends are flush. (Note: If you don’t like the look of the leather, use a smaller, flatter ribbon in a complementary or contrasting color. Not only does adding a strip on top of a strip hide any seams and/or glue dots, it also adds depth and visual interest.)

3. Glue a flat back button over the seam of the leather. Ideally, this button should be slightly larger than your leather strap. Then glue another, smaller button or decorative item on top of that button.

See how easy this is? I got quite addicted to it and have since made a dozen or so bracelets that are wrapped in ribbon or fabric and are embellished with buttons and chain and all kinds of fun stuff.

ribbon bangles

We hope you enjoyed the first article and project in our series. Please stay tuned for more super cool designs featuring unconventional jewelry making materials. And if you have a request to learn how to do something outside the box, please let us know!

The post Making Mixed Media Jewelry – Part 1: A Leather and Ribbon Bangle Bracelet appeared first on Auntie's Beads.

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