3 Easy Mixed Media Jewelry Ideas

Junk or Buried Treasure? 

My 13-year-old announced at the dinner table the other night, “There’s too much junk in the basement. We need to give it away or throw it away.” Wow! I thought. This coming from a boy whose bedroom floor is a sea of candy wrappers and Gatorade bottles? Maybe change IS coming?

I, of course, pictured the broken lamp I’ve been holding onto in hopes of fixing it one day; the dozens of old athletic shoes I don’t want to just toss in the garbage because I know I can recycle them someplace; and the endless empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap that await contents and shipping. But when I asked him to show me what he was talking about he lead me into the storage room. “See these boxes? These should be tossed. Ever since we lived here I’ve never seen them opened, not even once.” So I opened one. It was filled with yarn. The next one? Fabric swatches. Another? Embroidery thread . . . Ribbons . . . Stamp pads . . . A kiln.

Meet My Extended Stash

The look on his face was priceless when I started laughing. He didn’t have a clue that all that “junk” is core to my being. My extended stash! The beads and their accompanying supplies? Well, they’re all in my studio, at the heart of the operation. But these periphery items? They’re like the spleen and gall bladder of the deal. Not called upon that often, but extremely necessary when digesting a unique idea.

I know you’re familiar with this situation. There are big data companies that track your purchasing and like me, most beaders stray into at least two other crafts. Just look at the mixed media books that are all 20% off right now on Beading Daily and try not to be tempted. Titles like Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery and 200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave have my extended stash banging on its cardboard confines, itching to see the light of day.

3 Easy Mixed Media Jewelry Ideas

Before you get too distracted by dreams of liberating your “other” stash, check out these 3 easy mixed-media ideas. Maybe they’ll spur you to do a little experimenting on your own:

1. Roll up a short piece of ribbon, sew the end to itself, and add beaded fringe and embroidery to make a great beaded bead like I did with the pendant pictured here.
2. Use Stazon stamping ink to stamp directly on metal findings, creating a totally new look.
3. Put some of that wool roving you’ll never spin into warm soapy water and rub it into a felted bead. Then stitch seed beads on it or wrap it with wire to create a funky focal piece.  (You can find instructions for felted beads in Felt Frenzy, one of the books on sale this week.)

What kind of mixed media projects are you doing these days? Share them on the website so the rest of us have an excuse to dig through our extended stashes, too.  

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website.  

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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at beadingdaily@interweave.com or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  www.michellemach.com.  You can also follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/beadsandbooks Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

7 thoughts on “3 Easy Mixed Media Jewelry Ideas

  1. I recently used a felt bead as a base to create a beaded pendant. The pendant was inspired by the thistle and my Scottish heritage. I used seed beads and Czech glass drops and dagger. Stitching them onto the felt bead was a wonderful way to go. I hung the pendant from vintage millinery ribbon that I’d made into a choker. I have pictures of it at my blog – gemmabeads.blogspot.com

  2. I have been sitting on an ostrich egg (although not literally – that would be so sad) for at least a couple of years. I have just sprayed it black so that I can paint a dragon onto it – then I will enclose it in a beaded wirework cage, when I’ve worked out quite how!

  3. i have been working with felt balls for a while – I embroider seed beads on them (multi-colour or monochrome, depending on the project). I string the balls on elastic cord or use a toggle on wire. I also use the felted balls to make necklaces strung on leather cord and use lucite beads in different shapes as spacer beads. I have also used leftover beaded felt balls to make tiny ornaments, using a headpin and leftover glass beads.

    Beading the balls can be a bit time-consuming, but the finished projects is fun and unique.

  4. Where did I buy that new bead that I want for this necklace and where did I put it? My problem is that I live over 3 hours from the nearest bead store and must make a large list for when I get to town. I realize there are a lot of wonderful mail order stores, but I like to see the items and feel them when I buy. I like to coordinate fabric, yarn and beads to creat something special for gifts and craft fairs.

  5. I had to laugh when I read this , as I am sitting in the midst of a grand reorganization of my workroom. When did I buy all of these “periphery items” ? At least now I have a name for that buried set of shelves in the closet.

  6. Only two “periphery” areas? Finally a name for what my family call my junk (and not in a friendly manner). I try to keep a three ring binder updated with what and where these things are – but moving from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom apartment was a real eye opener. I have a storage space with craft “stuff” crying out to be sorted. But it will be soooo very tidy when it is finally sorted (and the end of the world will be a sight to see also….) Sally in California