Janet Haigh : Her Work

Textiles: ideas, drawing, design, stitching….

Making Fabric Beads


stitched beads on skewers

The first day of classes for Heart Space Studios –  making beads in the morning and jewellry from them in the afternoon. The first tutor  Patricia Brownen gave us all a demonstration using pipe cleaners, strips of fabrics, threads, wires and tiny beads. Above are several of the first beads we made, still on the skewers, waiting to be threaded.

one colour co-ordinated tray of materials to play with

We were given a wooden skewer to wrap the materials around (pencils can also be used) and Patricia demonstrated  how the beads were made using several fabrics, threads and wires and secured by stitching. Then she let us loose on a variety of sumptuous fabrics and threads she had brought along – the pipe cleaners determine the size of the bead

textile beads with pipe-cleaners


wrapped beads being securely stitched

To get us started she supplied some postcards with beautiful coloured images that she had collected, several people developed their colours using these. I thought it was useful if you then made a whole series of beads just using different variations of the chosen colours, then all the beads would co-ordinate for a necklace – once a designer……

colour matched beads and post card inspiration

daisy bead matched to postcard

Some of the students were as interesting to look at as the beads we were making and several people stood up to make, as I do when in my own studio.

Sophie had come in for an interview to work as voluntary studio manager, but she immediately got making and her earrings wowed us all.

printed waistcoat with patterned everything else


colourful textiles all round

















I had brought in my ravel of silk ends, which looks like a bower bird’s nest but is the leftovers of 30 years stitching in silk, people swooped on it for single threads of shining colour

my nest of leftover silk threads

By the end of the morning we had all made about 3 or 4 beads and here are a selection, some of the students stayed on to make jewellery from them at the afternoon class

the morning's work displayed


Even I managed to make 3 beads between serving teas, checking phone calls, ordering food for lunch and everything else that goes into an enjoyable day’s making for the students at Heart Space.

my own beads one being beaded

The afternoon’s jewellry making will be posted on my next blog…….


6 thoughts on “Making Fabric Beads

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and have gone on to make several more beads ,ready to use for a necklace.Thanks for the opportunity.

  2. Pingback: Fabric Flowers and Jewellry « Janet Haigh : Her Work

  3. These are interesting beads. I am thinking they would make wonderful focal beads.

  4. Didn’t understand what the pipe cleaners were used for?

  5. the pipe cleaners are the base for wrapping the threads around prior to being rolled around a knitting needle or other space making former threading – strangely though this post is years old it is the most visited post of all on this blog …..I must do some more making fabric beads, there are ribbon beads to make as well


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