Just for Fun: 10 Other Uses for Beads

Beads show up in the oddest places.  I'm not talking about in my sofa cushions or in the kitchen rug (though I find plenty of beads there), I'm talking large beaded hood ornaments for your car!  If you've ever wondered what to do with some of your beads besides create jewelry, take a look at these oddly wonderful tidbits that I've found:

1.  Hood Ornament
Rozanne captured this great photo of a large beaded hood ornament.  (I personally thinks it looks like a bear, not a dog, . . . not that I run into many bears!)

2.  Beaded Cards
Tabotha in Cape Town creates these cute beaded cards.  This is a great way to use those small bead projects that you're not sure what to do with. (I like the duck card best!)

3.  Star Trek Figures
Artist Devorah Sperber created this piece titled "Transporter:  Kirk and Spock Beaming-In" with 100,000+ loose beads.  By hanging two figures in front of mirrored panels in a corner, she gives the illusion of 6 figures beaming in.  Details and larger image.

4.  Weight Management Tool
Several websites are touting the new "Bead Diet", a calorie counting diet/bracelet that helps you count how many calories you consume.  Each bead represents 100 calories and you slide the beads over as you eat that number of calories.  When all the beads are on one side, you stop eating for the day.  If only it were that simple . . . 

5.  Coasters
Have you seen these?  You can buy these plastic beads and melt them together to make coasters in different shapes.  They're not new–I know I had a set at least 10 years ago–but I was delighted to see that they're still around.  I liked this example of a character from Pac Man. 

6.  Beaded Guitar Straps
Awhile back there was some chatting about beaded gifts for men ("Beading for Boys"). When I saw these loomed beaded straps by Julia Bristow, I immediately thought they'd make a great gift for a musically-inclined male (or female).  The strap pictured is one of Julia's original designs.  Details and larger image.

7.  Game Pieces
Use (and maybe lose!) your beads in the Bead Trade game by beader and inventor Hannah Braun-Allen. Details.

8. Counting Lesson
Artist Jeanne Leffingwell worked with kids in Idaho and the Northwest to weave together a million beads to help teach kids the real meaning behind the large numbers we see everywhere.  Details.

9.  Ugly Necklaces
Okay, I suppose this is technically jewelry and shouldn't be on this list, but honestly, would you wear any of these?  I'm talking necklaces made of shower curtain rings, Barbie doll heads, and steel horse shoes! You've got to give props to a design contest with judging criteria like "overall hideousness."  View entries.

10.  Melted Bead Art
When all else fails . . . transform your beads into something else.  I love how this couple recycled Mardi Gras beads and created these cute night lights.  Larger image and details.

What other crafts do you do?  Take this reader poll.  Results will be shared in a future Beading Daily.

Last week to enter the Bead Spree Giveaway!  I'd love to make this an annual event–and you can help me do that by entering!  And having your friends enter!  (Otherwise, I have to explain to my boss that beaders aren't really interested in free beads–and we don't want me to do that, do we?)   Details.


 Michelle Mach shares beading news, contests, reader galleries, and other beady stuff every Monday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.

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Beading Daily Blog, Beading for Kids
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!

5 thoughts on “Just for Fun: 10 Other Uses for Beads

  1. Wow, I love Devorah Sperber’s work! Never thought of using spools of thread like beads…sure wish I had the time to make some large-scale projects like that. Ideas I have by the truckload, but minutes seem a bit harder to come by.
    I also have a whole bucket of those plastic melty beads waiting for just the right project. I wasn’t planning on melting them, though.

  2. Hi there! I read your posts frequently and wanted to stop by today to say, I LOVE THE BEAD DIET!

    I also wanted to say, good job on keeping this up day after day! I write a daily bead blog at http://www.abeadaday.blogspot.com for fun, but I have had a moment or two where I really had to think about what to post. Most of the time, the beads speak to me. You write so well and seem to have lots of positive inspiration around you! Keep up the good work! – Lisa C

  3. I have received some beaded greeting cards via post and they were all in poor condition, including the one that had been sent in a padded mailer. Maybe for hand delivery … maybe as pretty gift package tags.

  4. Wow, that Star Trek piece is incredible – must remember to show my son, he’s a big fan! We love those plastic melt-together beads too, they are very addictive and I’ve got lots of coasters, mobiles, etc. etc. all over the house (plus the inevitable loose beads down all the chairs and in the vacuum cleaner).
    Thanks for including the Ugly Necklace Contest, it never fails to make me smile and there is a truly hideous crop of entries this year. Not so much Bead Dreams, more like Bead Nightmares!
    (Oh, and the Bead Spree Giveaway – I will be entering next year if you make it international, as will many of my friends in the UK; you can tell your boss that we are all very interested in free beads over here and would enter like a shot if you would let us!)

  5. I have found another good use for beads. My kitten Willow quite fancies a large wooden bead to have a play with. He has also been known to steal some of my partner’s lampworks…But that hasn’t gone down to well with my partner!



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