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Fabric covered bead necklace – DIY tutorial

Fabric covered bead necklaces are trendy and I wanted to make my own. Here is the result. 

To make the necklace lightweight and comfortable to wear, I used spun cotton balls . They are almost as lightweight as polystyrene balls and don’t crumble into a mess.

The resulting necklace looks great and feels comfortable around the neck.

Notes:

  • If you like this tutorial, you may also enjoy my other necklace tutorial: Paper bead necklace DIY.
  • A sewing machine would have made this project a heck of a lot faster :) I didn’t have one :(

 

fabric covered bead necklace how to tutorial

fabric bead necklace

 

 

Materials

  • 14 spun cotton balls, 1.18″ diameter (30mm).
  • A 4.5″ x 90″ strip of silk fabric. At the store, the fabric I chose came on a 45″ wide bolt.  So I asked for a foot of it which gave me what I needed plus a little extra.
  • Needle and some extra strong thread. Or a sewing machine. (I wish I had one)
  • A long ruler, pencil, scissors, or craft knife, paper clip.

 

spun cotton balls for necklaces

Spun cotton balls come in many different sizes

 

Directions

 

Step 1: Cut a long and narrow strip of fabric (4.5 inches x  7.5 feet)

 

Fabric covered bead necklace tutorial step 1

 

 

At the fabric store, you probably will not find a piece of fabric that is 7.5 feet long. Fabric comes on bolts and bolts are typically 36″, 44″-45″, or 54″ wide. So you may have to sew two pieces of fabric together.

The fabric I bought came on a 45″ wide bolt. So I ended up having to sew two long and narrow strips of fabric together to achieve the required length.

To cut the fabric, I used a long ruler and a craft knife over a piece of plywood. I cut two strips, each measuring 4.5″x 45″. It’s ok to use a pair of scissors if you don’t want to mess with a sharp knife. The cut doesn’t have to be exactly straight.

Before sewing the 2 strips together, I overlapped them by about an inch.

 

Step 2: Fold the strip of fabric into a tube shape

 

Fabric covered bead necklace tutorial step 2

Fold the long piece of fabric in half lengthwise and sew the long edges together. Try to sew small stitches for a more secure seam. This is easy to accomplish but time consuming without a sewing machine.

VERY IMPORTANT: For now, the “good” side of the fabric goes inside the tube. We will turn the tube inside out once the sewing is done.

Once done with sewing, turn the tube inside out with a loop turner or a paper clip.

The paper clip method:  Start by solidly anchoring the paper clip to one end of the tube (it’s ok to poke a hole in the fabric with the paper clip). Then, just slide the clip through the tube from one end to the other. The tube will turn inside out very easily.

 

Step 3: Slide in the spun cotton balls and tie the knots

 

Fabric covered bead necklace tutorial step 3

Tie the first knot where you sewed the two strips of fabric together (to hide the stitches).

Slide a ball down one end of the tube until it reaches the middle of the necklace. Twist the fabric to push the ball as close to the middle as possible and tie a simple knot.

Slide a second ball down the other end of the tube, twist the fabric and tie a new knot.

Do the same with all the balls or until the desired necklace length has been reached.

 

Step 4: The finishing touches

 

Fabric covered bead necklace tutorial step 4

For the endings to look nice, fold the fabric to create a 45 degree angle. Sew along the edges.

Iron your fabric covered bead necklace on low heat to remove all the wrinkles. THIS IS IT!

 

A beautiful  fabric covered hand knotted bead necklace

Fabric covered bead necklace tutorial DIY

 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch. Happy crafting!

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6 Responses to Fabric covered bead necklace – DIY tutorial

  1. Karn B March 9, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    Thank you for the tutorial. The fabric you used allows each bead to have a different look but remain coordinated with the others.

  2. shawna June 17, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    Where did you find the cotton balls? Did you make them? What kind of cotton/. Thank you!!!

  3. Tasia Allen April 21, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    What length would be appropriate for a child? Do the balls come smaller?

    • Nicolas Cocquerelle May 5, 2016 at 1:21 am #

      Hello Tasia! The balls come in plenty of sizes. From tiny 6mm diameter (1/2 inch) to 40mm (a little bit over 1.5 inches). My finished necklace is about 60 inches in length (I started with a 90 inch long piece of fabric but the knots shortened it by quite a bit). The beaded section (14 30mm beads) is about 18 inches long. So maybe for a child’s necklace, I would go with 10 30mm beads and shorten the fabric by a couple feet? But in the end, there is no right or wrong answer, it’s all a matter of style :)

  4. Mandisa November 11, 2016 at 11:42 pm #

    HI You have made my day,I will try one thanks