Beads aren’t just for jewellery

Beads can be used for all sorts of things, not just jewellery. You can sew them onto clothes, make handbags, brooches, headbands and purses with them, you can use them for wine glass markers, pen covers, jar labels, ornaments, decorations, paintings and other 2-D artwork.

Wine glass markers are simple to make, they can just be a small loop of beaded wire, which clasps and unclasps around the neck of a wine glass.

Labels and covers for pens, pencil pots, jars and lamps are more difficult to make, as they require bead stitching. There are many different stitches around, including peyote stitch, brick stitch, herringbone stitch, loom stitch and square stitch. These are generally made with seed beads, as they are generally uniform in size and shape, but can be attempted with other bead types, such as pearl beads, wooden beads or bone beads.

Using beads in artwork is a great way to add texture. In primary schools, children will often make pictures out of objects stuck to paper. These are usually things like pasta shapes, ripped up paper, bottle tops, pipe cleaners and sweet wrappers. Beads can be used in the same way: they come in different shapes and sizes, and work well stick on in their own right, or being collected and painted over to produce a rough texture.

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