Is There Life Beyond Jewelry?

Nov 30, 2009

CPS cover with snowmen bottles
There is life after jewelry: mixed-media art!

Please welcome today's special guest, the features editor from Cloth Paper Scissors, Cate Prato. She is bringing you a festive way to use beads and more in a seasonal project that will add sparkle and warmth to your winter days. It's a delightful way to use your stray treasures in every medium, and especially to find a home for those precious orphan beads. Enjoy! --L.R.


Cate PratoMixed-media artists love shiny beads, interesting metal, and funky found objects as much as you do–they just use them in different ways. A great example is the bejeweled snow people on the cover of Cloth Paper Scissors' November/December 2008 issue. Those frosty characters launched a flurry of creative activity.

No sooner had the magazine debuted than we began receiving e-mails and links to blog posts showing beaded and baubled mixed-media snow people that readers had created. Santa snowmen, Victorian snow ladies, Hanukkah snow people made with blue bottles–we even received a picture of a bridal snow couple!

One reason we think they are so popular is that they are easy and fun to make. Another reason is that they use up all sorts of sparkly odds and ends, such as pearly beads and garland, vintage jewelry pieces, wire, charms, and shiny found objects.

So, go wild and experience life beyond jewelry with Cloth Paper Scissors. Gather up your lonely charms, broken but beautiful findings, pearly and sparkly beads, bits of wire, tinsel, and found objects, and start making snow people. Experiment by adding fabric "scarves," paper cutouts, and spritzes of glitter. They make great centerpieces, mantel décor, and gifts. 

Snowmen Inspiration
By Sue Pelletier

Note: The materials listed here are for making the snow people that appeared in Cloth Paper Scissors. Adapt the decorations to use what you have on hand or to suit your own style. 


  • Vintage (or vintage-looking) clear glass bottles (Look for ones that capture your heart.)
  • Gel medium
  • Self-hardening white clay
  • Brads, nails, and copper foil
  • Inexpensive pearl garland
  • White beads
  • Vintage pastry bag tips
  • Vintage jewelry and other found objects to embellish hats and scarves
  • Stickers: letters and numbers
  • Glitter
  • Glitter spray
  • Gold and silver garland
  • Felt
  • Craft wire


1. Fill the bottle with inexpensive pearls and white glass beads to add an unexpected touch of whimsy as well as depth and weight to your piece. Set the filled bottle aside; this will be the body of the snowman.

2. Roll out a ball of white clay for the head. Try not to make it perfect; the imperfections will lend charm and character to the snowman. Create the face with the brads and nails, attaching the features by applying a little gel medium and then pushing the hardware into the clay. For the nose I used a small piece of copper foil. 

3. Add a hat. It was fun coming up with playful combinations for hats. For the jaunty hats I used metal pastry tips, perfect for a conical top hat. Charms, bells, metal jacks, and other vintage bits added pizzazz. I also made hats from costume jewelry pins that I stuck into the clay at an angle.

Tip: To add a little magic, brush the hat and the top of the head with a little glue and sprinkle with diamond dust glitter and chunkier glitter flakes. 

4. Embellish the body. Apply glittery letter stickers to the bottle to spell out holiday wishes. Add sparkle with jewels and rhinestones. On some snowmen I glued pieces of measuring tape and ribbons around the base of the bottle. 

5. Carefully attach the head piece to the bottle by gently pressing the 2 sections (clay and glass) together. A bit of glue and more glitter will complete this step.

6. Now create a scarf. Cut a length of garland and attach it to the "neck" of the bottle with gel medium. If you use felt, you can pin it together around the neck. Embellish the scarf with charms, keys, and beads hung from wire.

7. Spray the snowman with glitter for a final flourish.

Remember to let your beads and found objects speak to you, and your snowman will develop a personality all its own.

For more fabulous mixed-media ideas, subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors and discover a whole new way to use your creativity!


Are you a beader looking to mix up your stash with other media? Or, are you a mixed-media artist bringing beads into your work? Please share your journey with us here in our comment box!

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Lisa M@4 wrote
on Nov 30, 2009 3:21 AM
Victorian fashion is known for best fashions. The comeback of the popular magazine shows that the demand for Victorian decor is on the rise. achieving authentic Victorian decor is all about the accessories. There is a wide range of eras and influences from which Victorian decorating comes from, including classical, gothic, oriental and Italian styles, yet it has a character all its own. Maroon, plum, green, brass and gold were popular, and can be found in modern interpretations of Victorian accessories like wallpaper, furniture and more. Finer details include things like clever key holders, antique mail slots, and leafy rosettes. When standing at the entrance of a gilded Victorian home, you may be greeted by an exquisite door knocker, a hand-wrought device that makes the electric door bell seem tacky.
on Nov 30, 2009 3:24 PM
I am just starting to bead with seed beads something I never thought I would enjoy doing. There is one pattern I am hunting for in hopes of making something similar. I try to add my own to other designs so that it is not a true copy. The design is for a bracekletet in two colors and it looks like two SS's over and over. I f you know what I am talking about I would love to have it . I have gone through all ,y beading books and was posotive I had it. Thank You, Delores