How to Make Fabric Beads

By Sue McCarty ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Fabric scraps
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Ruler or quilter's square
  • Sharp scissors or rotary fabric cutter
  • Flat plastic or glass container
  • Small kitchen whisk or spoon
  • White craft or fabric glue
  • Water
  • Cotton swabs
  • Wooden dowel, plastic straw or knitting needle
  • Wax paper
  • Polyurethane varnish or spray fabric sealant
Fabric beads can be made from a variety of materials.

Handcrafted fabric beads can put a personal twist on designing bracelets, necklaces or earrings. Any fabric can be used -- from silk to wool -- and embellishments can include beads, yarns, sequins or rhinestones. Made from fabric scraps or materials purchased from fabric stores, the beads can be created in long strips which are then cut into small, straight beads or shaped into individual curved beads. Depending on fabric patterns, beads can be made for holiday, cultural or everyday wear.

Iron any wrinkled fabric scraps, then use a ruler or quilter's square to measure the fabric into about 6 by 2 inch strips. Cut the measured strips using sharp scissors or a rotary fabric cutter.

Mix white craft or fabric glue with an equal amount of water in a flat plastic or glass container. Use a small kitchen whisk or spoon to thoroughly mix the water and glue.

Lay a 2 foot length of wax paper on a flat working surface. Lay the fabric on the wax paper wrong side up and smooth it out flat.

Bring the fabric around the dowel or straw, adding a line of the glue mixture to the right side of the fabric edge using a cotton swab.

Continue to roll the fabric around the dowel or straw, adding lines of glue to the wrong side of the fabric about 1/4 inch apart. Apply a line of glue to the final edge of the fabric.

Remove the fabric tube from the dowel or straw and cut the tube into desired sizes of beads. The center holes can be reshaped with the dowel or straw.

Lay the cut beads on a fresh piece of wax paper to dry for 24 to 36 hours. Spray the dried beads with polyurethane varnish or spray fabric sealer.

Tip

Add decorative beads or yarns to the fabric beads with the glue mixture after sealing. Shape the beads into curves after gluing, if desired.

About the Author

Sue McCarty, a writer and copy editor since 1994, penned a newspaper humor column for several years. She assisted in her husband's motorcycle shop for 20 years and was also a professional gardener and caterer. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in communications, McCarty began her journalism career at a Pennsylvania daily newspaper.