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When you think about seed beads, maybe you think about beautiful multi-stranded jewelry designs. Or perhaps you think of woven jewelry that has a tribal look. There’s off-loom work and there are large tapestries made on a loom. There is even software that allows you to upload an image or pattern of your choosing and create that image by weaving seed beads together; it will even tell you the exact colors to use. Does all of this sound complicated to you? Have you always been intrigued by these tiny beads, but not sure where to begin or how you would use them? Perhaps you are not into jewelry making, but enjoy other arts and craft applications. Then you are in luck because seed beads can be used in a million different applications. Well, maybe not a million, but we could think of 7 just for starters.


Decorating Items Around The House

beaded curtain

When you think of beaded home decor, do you immediately think of beaded curtains? While beaded curtains are pretty cool, there is so much more to be embellished! Do you have some home accents that are a bit boring or could use some updating? Try adding seed beads. For example, a placemat or tablecloth that has a simple floral motif could really pop if some of the flowers were outlined with seed beads stitched around them. Using silver-lined seed beads would even add some sparkly elegance to otherwise plain table linens. I have a table runner that is one of my all time favorites; it has seed bead fringe at each end so there are 6 inch long strands of seed beads hanging off my dining room table which is super festive! The same principles of embellishment and fringe can also be added to pillows and lamp shades and even bedding.

 Embellishing Clothing

beaded clothingHave you ever bought iron-on patches to decorate your favorite denim jacket? Have you ever painted a simple canvas bag? Craft stores are full of fun ways to embellish simple cotton clothing and accessories. If you want to take it a step further, try incorporating seed beads into your clothing alterations. You can do something as simple as draw or stencil an image on fabric and then sew seed beads on the design. Better yet: if you are handy with a sewing machine, create your own canvas bag and add a layer of seed bead fringe. Want even more or a challenge? Buy a purse frame and create your own beaded handbag. Additionally, if you have clothing or accessories that are already embroidered, you can always add beads to the design of the embellishment as well to make it really pop. Don’t have anything embroidered? You can buy stitch books that teach you different embroidery and embellishment stitches and how to incorporate beads into your work!




beaded scarf

I can do a lot of things and consider myself a pretty crafty gal, but knitting is beyond me.  Watching me try to use knitting needles or crochet hooks or anything else of the sort is pretty comical.  Being in the line of work I have been in for many years, I have had the opportunity to meet many talented people who know a lot more than I do about creating knitted works of art.  We once had a customer who was knitting a cape with seed beads.  I can’t even imagine!  I have also seen seed beads incorporated into knitted mittens and gloves.  Scarves lend themselves perfectly to knitting with seed beads – or even to just having seed bead fringe at the ends.  A knitted hat with a floral pattern made of seed beads is just to die for.  Makes me think I should try this knitting thing again…




Scrapbooking and Other Paper Projects

beaded cardScrapbooking papers can be functional in all kinds of craft projects. I have quite the collection of pretty papers that I have used in everything from card making to jewelry design. Because I have also amassed quite the selection of seed beads, the two just seem a natural fit. A fun way to make unique cards is to find a piece of scrapbook paper that has a nice pattern in one area that you really want to highlight. Apply some adhesive to the pattern and then use tweezers to apply your seed beads to the adhesive. If you are scrapbooking and want to embellish scrapbook paper with beads, the same principle will work; outline a pattern on the paper (or draw or stencil your own pattern on plain paper) with glue and then adhere your seed beads to the glue. This is a fun and simple way to make paper more exciting and to really customize your project.



Structural Art Pieces

beaded flowerMany years ago, we had an intern in our design department who was one of the most talented jewelry artists I have ever seen. Younghee had gotten her degree in jewelry design, but she had also taken several art classes along the way so her designs were often not only very creative, extremely beautiful, but also very structured. One of the coolest things I ever saw her make, though, was a tree made of seed beads and craft wire that also doubled as a stand for her jewelry. If you do a google search for “seed bead tree” and look at the images, you will be stunned and amazed at the sculptures made using wire and seed beads. Younghee’s tree was the first seed bead sculpture I had ever seen; since then, I have seen animals made out seed beads as well as large beaded vases and all kinds of other art that leaves me absolutely breathless and in awe.


Non-Structural Art/Design

beaded paintingHave you ever seen those people who create those huge wall tapestries out of seed beads? I have always thought that must take the patience of a saint and have it on my bucket list for when I have nothing but time (and beads) on my hands. There are other simple ways you can use seed beads to create artwork to adorn your walls. Canvas is a great medium because it is typically made of cotton and has a weave similar to many fabrics. I met a woman at a craft show in the Atlanta area who painted simple landscape paintings and then embellished the paintings with seed beads, similar to the way one would embellish clothing; she simply stitched the seed beads onto the canvas. The result was striking and the paintings appeared multi-dimensional. Want an even easier way to create seed bead art for your wall? Take some small canvases and create an image and then glue seed beads over that image. If you like hearts, for example, you can draw a large heart on canvas, outline and fill in the image with glue and then sprinkle your seed beads all over the place. You can also use this same technique with an existing image or photo printed from your computer. You can be as precise with the placement of your beads as you would like or a bit more random.


Holiday Ornaments/Accessories/Gifts

beaded ornamentsNetting with seed beads is a fun and useful skill to have for the very crafty – especially around the holidays and birthdays. You can net seed beads around a wine bottle to give as a hostess gift. You can create netted ornaments to decorate your Christmas tree or to give as gifts. Seed bead netting also looks fantastic on vases as well as on glass hurricane candle holders. Another technique that comes in handy for creating is knowing how to create peyote tubes. With any cylindrical object – a votive or pillar holder, the stem of a wine glass, a pen, a tube of lipstick – you can create a tube made of seed beads to decorate a common, inexpensive object and make it very personal and unique. The good news is that while netting and peyote stitch are most commonly techniques used in jewelry making, they don’t require a whole lot of jewelry making supplies to get started; just a needle and thread and seed beads will help you create a memorable gift. If that still sounds daunting, you can buy pre-made snowflake wire forms and use size 6/0 seed beads to create snowflake ornaments and/or toppers for all of your holiday presents.

Have you ever created anything using seed beads in a very unconventional way?  Have you incorporated these marvelous little beads into your home decor, fashion or art projects? If so, we would love to hear from you!

The post Thinking “Outside the Bead”: Using Seed Beads for Something Other Than Jewelry Design appeared first on Auntie's Beads.

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